Snowfall Expected to Move East from the Rocky Mountains into the Plains and Midwest Throughout the Weekend

Posted: December 11, 2020 7:24 pm

A far-reaching winter storm is going to move across a stretch of a few thousand miles, bringing snow, rain, and ice. Here is what to expect this week as the storm progresses from the Rocky Mountains and into parts of the Plains, the Midwest, and up through eastern Canada.

Storm Originates in the Rocky Mountains Before Moving East: The drought-stricken Southwest and the Rocky Mountains saw some much-needed rain and snow at the higher elevations as the storm fired up across the Rocky Mountains and the San Juan Mountains on Thursday night. Current forecasts predict that these mountain ranges will see snowfall of up to 14 inches in some parts before the snow has moved through.

While this storm is not expected to shut down travel or cause major delays, there is no doubt that it will inconvenience those in its path on Friday and Saturday. If you are out doing your holiday shopping this weekend, you need to be aware that roads may be slippery in a great number of cities, including Topeka, Kansas, Kansas City, Des Moines, Omaha, Chicago, and Milwaukee.

Heaviest Snow Expected in Eastern Canada: The heaviest of the snow is expected to affect parts of Ontario and Quebec beginning on Saturday and continuing through the rest of the weekend. These areas should be ready for up to 18 inches of snow by the time the storm wraps up. Other cities that are likely to see at least a few inches of snow include Denver, Omaha, and Madison, Wisconsin.

The storm will most likely bring rain initially to the central Plains and the Great Lakes on Friday. However, this rain will transition to snow Friday night into Saturday as it meets the colder temperatures coming down from Canada.

What Should Chicago Expect: While the southern parts of Chicago are not expected to see much snow, the northwestern suburbs could see significant accumulation by the time the system moves through the metropolitan area. However, it is important to note that a slight deviation from the predicted path could shift the snow to the south, bringing measurable snowfall to the middle of the city. Residents should keep an eye on the progression of this storm throughout the weekend, particularly if they need to be out on the roads. The roads will start to deteriorate in the Chicago area by Saturday afternoon.

Farther to the East and South: The southern and eastern sides of the system will likely just see rain and fog over the weekend. Patchy fog is expected to develop as the warm air moves over the cold ground in cities such as New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Charlotte, and Detroit. This fog may disrupt air travel through the first half of the weekend.

Looking Ahead: Forecasters are already warning those in the Northeast to be on the lookout for a major snowstorm toward the end of next week. While it is impossible to predict the track or severity of the storm at this early juncture, meteorologists are seeing signs that indicate that the Northeast could be in for a whopper. If the storm lives up to its potential, those along parts of the I-95 corridor could see up to a foot of snow. Will it be a white Christmas? Only time will tell.

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