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Pacific Moisture Favors Snow in the Northwest, Rockies and Upper Midwest

23 Nov 2020, 10:00 am

A strong trough will bring Pacific moisture into the Northwest, Plains and Great Lakes to start this week. A round of snow already moved through the Pacific Northwest with more expected Tuesday and Wednesday. A low pressure center will bring heavy snow to the Rockies Tuesday. As that storm moves into the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes, several inches of snow will accumulate. Here’s a breakdown:


Strong upper-level energy will be accompanied by a cold front as it first moves into the Northwest early Tuesday. Light to moderate rain and snow is expected to spread inland Tuesday into Wednesday.

A couple inches of rain are likely along the coast. Heavy snow will accumulate in the higher elevations where more than a foot is possible. The busier mountain passes could see up to 3 to 6 inches.


Impacts will likely be greater with a developing surface low in the Rockies and Plains.  Winter weather alerts have already been issued in Colorado and New Mexico. One to two feet of snow is possible in the high elevations.

This afternoon (Monday), the surface low moves off of the mountains and begins to shift to the north-northeast. It will be producing scattered showers and a few patchy snow showers across the Central Plains and Midwest. The cold front will likely bring another round of snow to Colorado and Southern Wyoming, with snow possibly falling across Colorado’s Eastern into Tuesday afternoon. This could mean travel impacts along the I-25 corridor on Tuesday between Cheyenne and Santa Fe.

The surface low strengthens quickly into early Tuesday, tapping into moisture drawn quickly to the north from the Gulf of Mexico. This points to significant wrap-around snow in the higher elevations. The system will quickly move out of the region, bringing an end to the snow by Tuesday night.

Upper Midwest and Great Lakes

Snowfall will push into the Upper Midwest late Monday night and expand into the western Great Lakes Tuesday morning. The initial snow will be ahead of the low with a surge of upper level energy.

For Tuesday afternoon, the low will push out into the Plains and snowfall will move across the western Great Lakes states. The atmosphere will begin to warm on late Tuesday night and Wednesday with most of the precipitation falling as rain.

Snow totals across the Upper Midwest could top 6 inches across a large area, primarily in Wisconsin and Northern Michigan.

This article will be updated as new data and information become available. Weather related warnings are always scrolling across the bottom of our broadcasts and live stream.

About the author

Rob grew up in South Florida, where daily afternoon storms and hurricanes piqued his interest in meteorology early on. That interest was fostered by his teachers and his father, who one time brought him onto the roof of their home to watch a funnel cloud move through the Everglades several miles away. ... Load MoreYears of filmmaking and tv production in high school gradually pushed him toward broadcast meteorology at Florida State University, where he joined and eventually led the student run daily weather show. After graduating with a Bachelors of Science in Meteorology, he began his career at KESQ in Palm Springs, California before heading to KFSN in Fresno and WLOS in Asheville, North Carolina. He has covered a diverse array of extreme weather events, including haboobs and flash flooding in the desert, extreme snow in the Sierra, hurricanes, and Appalachian ice storms. He also enjoys telling stories and reporting about weather issues.

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