Blizzard, Big Snow Under Way Kansas to NebraskaThe wintry side of the storm will affect areas from the Rockies to the Upper Midwest
A storm system set to emerge from the Rockies later in the week will bring blizzard conditions, as well as needed moisture, to portions of the central Plains.
There is the potential for flight and ground travel disruptions from Denver to Chicago. There is also the potential for significant moisture in the drought-stricken region.
While the storm will affect a vast area from Texas to the Dakotas, the wintry side of the storm will affect areas from the Rockies to the Upper Midwest during the second half of this week while hitting areas from California to Utah, Arizona and New Mexico with snow, wind and cold.
Locally blinding, heavy snow will fall over the passes of the Rockies. Snow broke out over portions of Kansas and as far south as central Oklahoma Wednesday morning. Winds were increasing over western and central Kansas with the snow.
The area of snow will expand reaching from Denver, Colo. to Grand Island, Neb. and Kansas City, Mo. by Wednesday night.
Snow will continue to expand to the north and east during Thursday reaching Iowa, a large part of South Dakota, part of North Dakota, southern Minnesota, northern Illinois and central and southern Wisconsin.
The strongest winds will be on the front side of the storm and its snow, creating low visibility and extensive drifting. Several hours of blizzard conditions are possible as far north as Omaha.
Since the storm will mature and diminish quickly, severe blowing and drifting snow in the wake of the storm are not likely.
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Wichita, Kan. and Kansas City, Mo. will be on the edge of very heavy snow to the northwest and lesser snow to the southeast. A dry sweep of air will limit snowfall relatively speaking in this swath. A foot or more of snow is possible north and west of these cities, where more snow rotates in during the second part of the storm.
Omaha, Neb. and Des Moines, Iowa are forecast to be on the receiving end up upwards of half a foot of snow.
Mostly snow is forecast to fall around Chicago later Thursday and Thursday night with the storm likely to be not only the biggest storm of the winter so far, but also a very disruptive one at that.
Accumulating snow can reach as far north as Minneapolis with significant snow likely over southern Wisconsin.
Farther southeast a mixture of rain, ice and snow is forecast Thursday from Arkansas through southeastern Missouri to southern Illinois. Significant icing could potentially take down tree limbs and lead to scattered power outages.
Expect travel problems due to snow and/or ice along I-29, I-35, I-40, I-70, I-80 and I-90.
The winter storm will be set up by a fresh push of arctic air Tuesday. The charge of cold air is being preceded by windswept snow to start this week in part of the northern Plains and the Upper Midwest.
According to Agriculture Weather Expert Dale Mohler, "In addition to the likelihood of travel disruptions, a general half a foot to a foot of snow can deliver the equivalent to one-quarter to three-quarters of an inch of rain on average over the central Plains."
Some areas in the storm will pick up even more snow and more soil moisture from this storm.
Farther south, the storm is likely to bring a significant severe weather outbreak from Texas to Mississippi spanning Wednesday night to Thursday night.
Another storm with snow, moisture and severe weather may follow early next week over part of the same areas being impacted Wednesday into Thursday. More information will be available in the coming days on AccuWeather.com.
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