Snowstorm with whiteouts may shut down travel from Colorado to Minnesota, Michigan – AccuWeather.com - http://travelporn.info | luxury travel sitesDecember 26, 2018 5:57 pm Categorised in: Travel News
The same storm that brought snow to Southern California on Christmas Day will deliver wind-swept heavy snow and whiteouts from parts of Colorado to much of Minnesota and northern Michigan prior to the end of this week.
While the storm is forecast to bring drenching rain and localized flooding in the swath from Kansas, City, Missouri, to Omaha, Nebraska; Des Moines, Iowa; St. Louis; Chicago; Milwaukee and Detroit, the storm’s cold side farther to the northwest has the potential to bring over a foot of snow in a large swath.
Rain and snow already began to break out across the central and southern Plains on Wednesday and will ramp up Wednesday night and continue in some areas into Friday.
Road closures are likely and some of the regional airports may be forced to shut down for a time.
The combination of increasing wind and the dry, powdery nature of the snow can create blizzard conditions at times over portions of the central High Plains to much of the northern Plains and areas surrounding Lake Superior.
Areas from west-central Nebraska to south-central and northeastern South Dakota, southeastern North Dakota and central Minnesota are expected to receive a general 12-18 inches of snow with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 24 inches.
Sustained winds of 15-30 mph with gusts ranging between 35 and 50 mph are anticipated in part of the snowfall area.
Due to the whiteouts, motorists may have difficulty ascertaining what is the road surface versus non-paved areas along portions of interstates 25, 29, 70, 80, 90 and 94, as well as U.S. Routes 10, 14, 20, 71, 81 and 83. Expect extensive blowing and drifting of snow. Drifts may reach 6 feet deep or more in open areas.
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Anyone who absolutely must travel through these areas during the storm should make sure their vehicle is equipped for an emergency that includes blankets, flashlights, food, water and medicine. There is an elevated risk of becoming stranded for an extended period in this storm.
However, by staying off the roads during the storm is not only the safest option, but will also allow snow removal crews to work as efficiently as possible.
Temperatures are forecast to plunge as the storm progresses in the heavy snow area on north and west. Actual temperatures will fall into the 20s, teens and single digits in some areas. However, AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures will plunge to life-threatening levels (below zero) in in many cases.
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Much of the snow is forecast to loop around and avoid the Denver and Cheyenne, Wyoming areas into Thursday.
However, moderate snow will fall on the Colorado Rockies into Wednesday night. Heavier snow is forecast to fall over southern and eastern Colorado from Wednesday night to Thursday.
While Minneapolis is expected to change over to rain or a wintry mix at the height of the storm during Thursday and Thursday evening, wintry travel with snow is forecast on the front and end of the storm. From 1 to 3 inches of snow may fall during Wednesday night and from Thursday night to Friday, which is enough to make roads slippery.
“Plunging temperatures on the back side of the storm can also cause wet or slushy areas to freeze and further make conditions slippery and treacherous for motorists and those traveling by foot,” according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski.
A narrow swath of wintry mix that includes sleet and freezing rain is forecast from part of the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles to southeastern Minnesota, northern Wisconsin and northern Michigan.
Several communities in this zone may be hit with enough freezing rain to cause tree limbs to collapse and lead to regional power outages.
In part of the Deep South, severe thunderstorms are in store. The severe weather threat includes the potential for a few nocturnal tornadoes.