Major Winter Storm Aims for the Northern Plains; South Catches a Break

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The southern U.S. finally has had a break this week from the winter storms which have tracked across the area the past few weeks dumping heavy amounts of snow and causing major travel disruptions both in the air and on the ground. It’s been a relatively quiet week across the Lower 48, but that looks to change across the northern half beginning this weekend. A strong low pressure system is expected to move from Nebraska into southern New England Sunday into Monday bringing a good chance of heavy snow and freezing rain across the Great Lakes and Northeast. Snow is forecast to increase in coverage and intensity early Sunday morning from southern North Dakota to northern Nebraska and eastward to southern Minnesota and northern Iowa, spreading quickly east across Wisconsin, Michigan and northern Ohio during the late morning and afternoon. Locally heavy snow will then spread eastward across northern Pennsylvania, New York state and most of New England Sunday evening into Monday morning.

Snow amounts across most of this region are forecast to average in the 4 to 8 inch range with isolated higher amounts. Image: ImpactWeather StormWatch

The heaviest snow will be across central and eastern South Dakota, southern Minnesota, central Wisconsin and central Lower Michigan where 8-12 inches are expected to fall with isolated higher amounts up to 18 to 20 inches. Image: ImpactWeather StormWatch

Over the major metropolitan areas of the Northeast from New York City to Boston, 2-4 inches of snow is forecast to fall with isolated higher amounts, especially over southern New England. Image: ImpactWeather StormWatch

In addition to the snow, strong north winds of 20 to 30 mph will create widespread areas of blowing and drifting snow making any type of travel very difficult from the Dakotas and Nebraska to Michigan. Also, a narrow band of mixed freezing rain is likely to fall south of the area that sees snow from central Nebraska eastward across central Iowa, northern Illinois, northern Indiana, northern Ohio, central and southern Pennsylvania, northern Maryland, and central New Jersey. Ice accumulations up to 1/8th to 1/4 of an inch will be possible with isolated higher amounts, especially from central Iowa to western Pennsylvania. Hazardous driving conditions will likely occur over this region of the country this Sunday and Monday. Check out a few safety tips for driving in winter weather, but as always the best advice would be to stay off the roads.

The snow and mixed freezing rain will come to an end from west to east across the Northern Plains, Upper Mississippi Valley and Great Lakes late Sunday evening into early Monday morning and across the remainder of the Northeast Monday afternoon. Improving conditions are expected thereafter. As I mentioned in Wednesday’s post, temperatures look to remain below average across the northern half of the country through the rest of February and March with above normal precipitation expected across the Pacific Northwest and the eastern Great Lakes. We still have a ways to go this winter and I’m betting we’ll see a couple more storms roll through (especially across the northern U.S.) before winter is all said and done.

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