Blizzard and Winter Storm Warnings Issued, Northern Tier Socked with Snow, Cold and Wind
A potent clipper system is starting to push though the northern tier for the country and it’s bringing some nasty weather along for the ride. Blizzard warnings, winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories stretch from central Montana to northwestern Ohio.
At present, there are active blizzard warnings in four states; including western Montana, northeastern North Dakota, northeastern South Dakota and northwestern and southern sections of Minnesota and northern Iowa. The snow potential doesn’t look all that high, but whipping winds — up to 55-mph — could cause drifting and near-whiteout conditions using the snow that’s already on the ground.
Warnings and advisories will start to fall off from west to east as the late evening hours roll around on Thursday.
Some additional light to moderate snow could add to the visibility issues and could as a couple of more inches of snow to the existing snowpack.
Bitterly cold temperatures will also add another layer of misery to the region as well. Ambient air temperatures, though the overnight hours, will dip into the negative double digits for many places across the norther tier. Parts or northern Montana could dip close to -20 degrees. And when the wind is factored in, it could feel like it’s between -40 and -30. Skin exposed to this kind of extreme weather could be frostbitten in as little as 15 to 30 minutes. If you have to be outside during this time, use extreme caution and cover up as much skin as possible.
As the system moves east, will bring the cold, snow and wind into the Great Lakes region.
Winter weather advisories and winter storm warnings are in effect for much of Wisconsin and Michigan. The effect on Wisconsin will be relatively marginal, with only two to four inches generally falling across the state. But travel in some parts of the state could still be impacted a visibility is reduced and wind chill reach back into the -35 to -25 range.
Michigan, on the other hand, is a slightly different story. The effect of lake-effect snow will be felt on Michigan’s western shores. Winter storm warnings are in effect from Benton Harbor to Gaylord, Mich. and sizable amounts of snow are expected to fall. For the northern half of the Lake Michigan shoreline, and points inland, six to ten inches of snow could fall. Some locally heavier amounts of 12 inches are also possible under some of the more intense snow bands. Some of those heavier bands could have snowfall rates of one to two inches per hour.
A bit further south snow amounts will be a bit lighter, but could still exceed nine inches in some parts of the southwest Michigan.
Chicago is also being affected and a winter weather advisory remains in place though the early morning hours of Friday. The city could see a couple of inches of accumulation, but limited visibility in the region could have an impact on travel in the region. As of Thursday afternoon, significant delays and cancellations were being reported at Chicago’s two main airports.
This is a developing weather situation. WeatherNation meteorologists will bring you the latest information on air and online.
Meteorologist Alan Raymond