Early-week snow, blizzard conditions to create difficult travel across north-central US
The first week of March will roar in with travel-disrupting snow, strong winds and blizzard conditions across the north-central United States.
After spreading accumulating snow over the northern and central Rockies this weekend, snow and wind will ramp up across the northern Plains Sunday night into Monday.
The winds combining with the snow will lead to local whiteout and blizzard conditions, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rathbun.
The worst of the blizzard is expected across the Dakotas, from Minot and Bismarck, North Dakota, to Pierre, South Dakota.
Snow will blow and drift across roadways and the open landscape, making driving difficult, if not impossible, along stretches of interstates 90 and 94.
Anyone who must travel is encouraged to pack a winter survival kit in the event you become stranded. Officials may be forced to close some roads.
While the worst conditions rage to the west, windswept snow can still reduce visibility and create treacherous travel in Fargo, North Dakota; Minneapolis and Duluth, Minnesota; and Green Bay, Wisconsin.
There is the potential for many communities to pick up 6 inches or more of snow with this storm across the north-central U.S.
“Bismarck has only received around 18 inches of snow so far this season and could receive around a foot or more from this event alone,” Rathbun said.
Precipitation will start with rain and/or a bit of ice across the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin prior to colder air wrapping into the storm.
Snow may struggle to stick to roads and sidewalks initially in these areas. However, as the temperature plummets and the ground cools, motorists and pedestrians will need to be wary of slick travel.
"Commuters in Minneapolis will face worsening conditions through Monday as the snow continues to pile up with the heaviest snowfall expected for the afternoon," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski said.
The heavy burst of snow may cause roads to quickly become covered and treacherous for motorists.
"Flight delays and cancellations can quickly mount around Minneapolis on Monday afternoon," Pydynowski said. "Anyone with plans later Monday should prepare for postponements."
The band of snow will continue to sweep eastward and create slippery travel for a time over Michigan and surrounding areas on Monday night and Tuesday. This snow will graze Chicago and Detroit.
The worst of the snowstorm will be over by Tuesday. However, there can still be pocket of heavier snow that may lead to minor travel disruptions across the north-central U.S.
"While the snow will gradually wind down on Tuesday, disruptions to travel and daily routines may persist longer in Minneapolis; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and Bismarck as crews work to clear roads," Pydynowski said.
The southern portion of the nation's midsection will avoid snowy conditions but may face other hazards from the storm.
"While the snow falls to the north, winds strong enough to cause power outages and overturn high-profile vehicles along I-80 and I-70 will gradually sweep southward across the central Plains Monday into Tuesday," Pydynowski said.
If any wildfires ignite to end the weekend, the winds would create issues for firefighting efforts.
Calmer conditions are expected to return at midweek as the storm restrengthens along the Northeast coast, causing residents to face more power outages and travel disruptions.