Forecasters are monitoring what they think will be the next multi-faceted storm that will hit the central United States at the end of the week. The storm is expected to pose a number of dangers to travelers as rainfall in the center of the country will vary from rain to ice to snow.
Before late week, drivers have to beware of several fast snow events in the Midwest.
The late week storm will first bring snowfall to places like Seattle and Portland, Oregon, as well as some rain and snow to California from Wednesday through Thursday before reaching central states on Friday.
Slippery travel conditions threaten the northern plains of the Great Lakes, Ohio Valley
A fresh wave of bitterly cold air will arrive in the north-central states on Thursday before the storm. This will create the basis for a large corridor that can withstand the winter conditions in rainy weather and slippery tours.
“At this point, we expect many of the major cities in the Midwest to experience disorderly commuting on Friday mornings and evenings,” said AccuWeather meteorologist Mary Gilbert.
Large stretches of highways 29, 35, 80, 90 and 94 are expected to lie in a wide area of snow and ice, resulting in difficult travel conditions.
In some parts of the Central Plains, the Ohio Valley, and the Great Lakes, there may be snow at the start of the storm before switching to ice. Where the rainfall is only snow, the amounts can easily exceed half a foot.
In Fargo, North Dakota, there is enough snow to shovel, plow and disrupt the daily routine. Minneapolis and Duluth, Minnesota; Green Bay, Wisconsin; and Marquette and Traverse City, Michigan.
Increasing wind with the snow, according to Matt Rinde, AccuWeather senior meteorologist, could result in poor visibility and localized snowstorm conditions as the storm gets stronger.
A little further south – where a layer of warmer air flows a few thousand feet above the ground – there can be icy rainfall with sleet and freezing rain.
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“Icing will be a major problem with this storm, and untreated surfaces will become tricky,” said Bark.
At that time, a corridor from eastern Nebraska through parts of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and southern Michigan could see iced conditions. How quickly cold air escapes from Kansas City and St. Louis, Missouri depends on whether icy conditions develop in these metropolitan areas or precipitation occurs in the form of simple rain.
Commuting on Friday night in Chicago could be a winter mess with a chance of snow and ice, depending on the exact lane and speed of the storm.
“Bitter cold to follow the storm will cause snow and slush to freeze,” said Bark.
If the exact course of the storm becomes clearer in the coming days, the corridor with the heaviest snow and ice may shift north and west or south and east. AccuWeather will continue to provide this information as it unfolds.
Rain and thunderstorms can further increase flood worries in the southern plains
The late week storm will be rainy in cities like Dallas, Oklahoma City and Little Rock, Arkansas, which were hit by fatal storms last week.
AccuWeather meteorologists can’t rule out violent thunderstorms in this corridor from Friday to Friday evening, but a repeat of the last week’s eruption is not expected.
The biggest worry can come in the form of downpours that can obscure drivers’ visibility and trigger flash floods.
Forecasters will be watching the storm closely until the weekend as it moves to the northeast. Snow, ice, rain and gusty winds offer all possibilities.
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