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Plains Blizzard, Severe Storms to Close Out the Week

A storm system set to emerge from the Rockies on Thursday will wreak havoc across the central part of the nation through the end of the week.

While the storm will affect a vast area from Texas to the Dakotas, the worst of the weather will be focused in three areas.

The first trouble spot will be across the northern Plains from northeast Colorado into northern Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Iowa.

Howling winds and driving snow will bring blizzard conditions to places from Goodland, Kan. to Grand Island, Neb.; Omaha, Neb.; Sioux Falls, S.D. and Des Moines, Iowa.

Roadways and airports across the region will likely need to be shut as white-out conditions take visibility down to near zero. In some spots, it might not be possible to see across the street, let alone the vehicle in front of you.

Further to the east, areas such as Kansas City, Mo.; Saint Louis, Mo. and even Chicago, Ill. will see an icy mix of freezing rain, sleet and snow.

Significant icing could potentially take down tree limbs and lead to scattered power outages across this area, along with plenty of long delays on the roads or flying in or out of O'Hare.

The third area of concern from this storm will be found across the South from eastern Texas into Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi.

Strong, unseasonably warm and moist southerly winds screaming north from the Gulf of Mexico will be met by much colder and drier air blasting in from the west. The result will be a twisting motion in the lower part of the atmosphere.

Any thunderstorms that can tap into this low-level swirling will likely spawn tornados, some of which could be long-lived and strong.

The cities with the greatest potential for severe weather include Tyler, Texas; Shreveport, La.; Little Rock, Ark. and New Orleans, La.

Be sure to stay with AccuWeather.com as our meteorologists continue to unravel all the details.