Snow, ice to unleash treacherous travel over north-central US through Thursday

  • Meteorologist

    Snow, ice and gusty winds will create areas of treacherous travel across the north-central United States into late week.

    The winter weather will move through in two waves, with the first set to create slippery travel along Interstate 80 between the I-35 and I-75 corridor.

    Travel along a swath from Wichita, Kansas; to Kansas City, Missouri; Omaha, Nebraska; Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Chicago; Madison and Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Detroit can be dicey into Tuesday night, with untreated roads likely to be slippery.

    There is the potential for enough ice to accumulate, including around Chicago, for tree damage and power outages to occur.

    “The Wednesday morning commute [in Chicago] is likely to be icy, even as the precipitation moves quickly away,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Dombek.

    Commuters around the Detroit metro area can also be faced with icy conditions on Wednesday morning.

    Snow will fall along the northern periphery of the ice, with a few inches expected around Minneapolis into Tuesday night.

    Ice will spread into part of the Northeast at midweek as the next wave of wintry conditions takes shape over the central U.S.

    A more expansive swath of snow will accompany this next round from Wednesday through Thursday.

    “Where the heaviest snow falls across the northern Plains and Upper Midwest, several inches to a foot of snow are forecast,” said AccuWeather Meteorologist Faith Eherts.

    There can be an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 16 inches.

    The steadiest snow can set up from parts of Nebraska and the eastern Dakotas through Minnesota and into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. This corridor includes stretches of interstates 29, 35, 80, 90 and 94.

    “Along with increasingly heavy snowfall, winds will contribute to deteriorating travel conditions as blowing and drifting snow obscures roadways and limits visibility,” Eherts said.

    Even in the absence of snow, gusty winds across the nation’s midsection can lead to travel difficulties on the roadways, especially for high-profile vehicles.

    Freezing rain and sleet will occur on the southern edge of the snow, making travel particularly hazardous, according to Eherts.

    The zone of icy mix will set up slightly farther north when compared to Tuesday and Tuesday night.

    The worst of the ice and slick travel is expected to set up to the north of Chicago and Detroit, but once again target Kansas City, Omaha and Des Moines.

    Residents in Green Bay, Wisconsin; and Traverse City, Michigan; can wake up to a slippery coating of ice on Thursday morning.

    Download the free AccuWeather app to see exactly when snow and/or ice will arrive in your area.

    Travel should be avoided during the worst of the icy conditions, Eherts warned.

    “If you must head out, extra time should be allowed in case of hazardous road conditions,” she added.

    Flooding rainfall and locally strong thunderstorms will threaten areas to the south of the snow and ice during Wednesday and Thursday.

    A frigid and blustery end to the week is in store across the North Central states as the storm departs.

    While temperatures will not dip quite as low as they did during the polar invasion last week, precautions will once again need to be taken by anyone venturing outdoors to lessen the risk of frostbite or hypothermia.

    Highs will be held below zero degrees Fahrenheit in the northern Plains and in the single digits and teens across the upper Mississippi Valley, with even lower AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures.

                           By Renee Duff, AccuWeather meteorologist

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