Published February 25, 2013
The storm spreading blizzard conditions from northwestern Texas to northern Missouri and southern Iowa to start the week will target a swath of the Midwest Tuesday with disruptive heavy snow or a wintry mix.
The storm hitting the Midwest during the middle of the week will bring disruptions to travel, school and work-related activities.
In a number of areas, the storm will start with rain or a wintry mix Tuesday, but a transition to snow is forecast by AccuWeather.com meteorologists.
From a Midwest standpoint, the worst of the storm will be in part of the I-70 and I-80 swaths spanning northwestern Missouri to southern Iowa with windswept heavy snow and blowing and drifting snow much of the time Monday night into Wednesday.
Nasty travel is in store along much of the I-90 and I-94 corridors from northern Illinois to Michigan later Tuesday into Wednesday. Most of the storm will be snow in this swath. The storm will pack a several-hour period with windswept heavy snow and low visibility in this area. Road conditions most of the time will be snow covered to slushy with icy spots. Blowing and drifting snow will also be a problem in this area.
In the I-90/I-80 corridor from Toledo to eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania, a wintry mix of rain, ice and snow is in store with extended travel time and road conditions ranging from west to slushy and snow covered at times Tuesday into Wednesday.
In the I-70 and I-64 corridors farther south, a major snowfall is not expected. However, a change from rain or a wintry mix to snow will occur later in the storm. The change will take place from west to east later Tuesday into Tuesday night and can be just enough to make for a commuting nightmare. The danger here is a quick coating of snow can make for rapidly changing road surface conditions from wet to snow covered and icy.
In the I-40 corridor, problems caused by the storm will be related to drenching rain and thunderstorms Tuesday. Expect poor visibility and and extended travel time. Enough rain can fall on the western slopes of the Appalachians to cause flash, urban and poor drainage area flooding. Most of this area will simply dry out as colder air arrives. However, there can be locally heavy, disruptive snow showers in the Appalachians Wednesday.
The storm will add preparation time for departing flights due to deicing. In addition, some aircraft and crews will not be where they are supposed to be at the scheduled time, because of the storm. These problems cannot only occur in areas directly impacted by the storm but also at other airports scattered about the nation.
Significant flight delays (and cancellations) are likely at the major airports in the region from Chicago and Milwaukee to Detroit and Buffalo, as well as farther west over the central Plains including Kansas City. Delays are possible at other hubs from St. Louis to Pittsburgh.
Impacts Elsewhere and Beyond Tuesday
Farther northwest, little or no snow will fall from Omaha, Neb., to Minneapolis, Minn. However, over part of the upper Great Lakes from northeastern Wisconsin to northern Michigan, moisture from the large water bodies will enhance the snow at the local level.
During Wednesday, the storm will continue to pull cold air in over the Midwest. Wraparound moisture from the storm will cause bands of moderate snow and flurries.
In the Northeast, this will be a windswept rain event from Washington, D.C., to New York City and Boston spanning later Tuesday into Wednesday. However, heavy rain, urban flooding, wind and low visibility can also bring its share of delays. A wintry mix or snow will fall heavily for a time from part of the central Appalachians to the eastern Great Lakes and northern interior New England.
The storm will impact the South as well with heavy rain and gusty thunderstorms, prior to the arrival of a much colder weather pattern for the region.
On a positive note, moisture from the storm spanning the southern High Plains to part of the Midwest will give agricultural interests a boost moving forward into the spring.