The West Coast continues to endure a deluge during the early part of this week, with the potential to cause further flooding, mudslides and possibly life-threatening conditions. Heavy rainfall, mountain snow and blowing snow are causing hazardous travel conditions from California all the way to parts of Colorado.
But, according to AccuWeather forecasters, it’s not going to stop there. After ejecting out of the Rockies on Tuesday night, the storm is set to further strengthen as it passes over the central Plains on Wednesday.
Meteorologists are saying this same storm system will evolve into something “quite potent” as it moves eastward out of the Rockies and onto the Plains, delivering heavy rains, snowfall and severe weather conditions to a 1,700-mile-long swath of the Central U.S. in the middle of this week.
The nation’s midsection is expected to be impacted by the coldest side of the “robust” storm between Tuesday night to Thursday night, with major metros like Denver and Chicago accumulating quite a bit of snow. “At least a couple of inches of snow” are anticipated to fall over an area stretching all the way from the Rockies and the central Plains to the Great Lakes.
In areas of the Plains and Midwest that get the heaviest snowfall, the storm is predicted to dump over six inches of snow, ranging from eastern Colorado to central Michigan. A few localized spots could receive more than a foot. Forecasters currently believe that the region most likely to see the greatest amounts stretches from the Denver area eastward across northern Kansas and southern Nebraska, and into portions of southern Wisconsin, and even western Michigan.
“Snow will begin across the Denver area Tuesday night and continue through the day on Wednesday,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Rob Richards said. “This is looking like a plowable snowfall for Denver and accumulations of up to half a foot could occur.” He added, “The snow will then streak out into Kansas, Nebraska and into the Great Lakes by later Wednesday into Thursday.”
The weather forecasting service warned, “Anyone planning to travel when snow is in the forecast will want to have an emergency kit handy that includes essentials like snacks, water and blankets.” While it isn’t unusual for the Central U.S. to receive winter snows, several inches of the stuff falling so rapidly, “will likely still be enough to cause tricky travel,” AccuWeather said.
The outlet advised that anyone who has plans to travel along portions of interstates 29, 35, 39 70, 80 and 88 keep a close eye on weather forecasts this week. With the ultimate track of the system still several days away, forecasters advise residents to prepare for travel disruptions and other impacts, as slight variations in its course can significantly alter impacts for cities like Chicago.
“While the track of this storm is not set in stone, our current thinking is that where there is steady snow that falls, which could be very near or over Chicago, it may be heavy and quite impactful,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Matt Benz cautioned.
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