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Fox News Weather Center

Snowstorm, freeze-up to get icy grip on St. Louis, Chicago and Milwaukee this weekend

A storm will unload snow in the swath from Missouri to Michigan and Wisconsin, just ahead of a rapidly moving blast of arctic air this weekend.

An area of difficult and dangerous travel will develop and expand over the central United States spanning Saturday into Sunday.

According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Bernie Rayno, "A storm that played havoc on California this week will bring nasty weather to the Midwest this weekend."

Snow, wind and rapid freeze to cause major delays in Midwest

Roads in some areas will turn from wet to slushy, icy and snow-covered as temperatures plummet by 15 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

There is the likelihood of significant impact at the major airport hubs in the Midwest. Airline delays will mount in the region and could cause ripple-effect delays in other parts of the nation.

The colder storm will follow a system bringing rain to much of the same swath and snow from Denver to Minneapolis to end the week.

The first snowflakes from the storm east of the Rockies are likely to fall on parts of northern Texas and Oklahoma during Saturday morning.

As the day progresses on Saturday, steady snow will develop and expand across portions of eastern Oklahoma, southeastern Kansas, northwestern Arkansas and southwestern Missouri. Initially, the snow will melt as it falls in this area. However, as colder air begins to invade, the snow may begin to accumulate and wet areas can become slippery in the Interstate 44 and I-49 corridors.

By Saturday evening, snow is likely to be falling on the St. Louis area and other places in Missouri and southern Illinois that were recently hit hard by flooding.

During Saturday night, the rate of snow is likely to increase around St. Louis and take aim on areas farther to the northeast.

According to AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams, "Snowfall in the swath from St. Louis to Springfield, Illinois; South Bend, Indiana; Chicago; and Milwaukee and Grand Rapids, Michigan; will range from 1 to 6 inches."

"Regardless of the amount of snow, the sequence of rain to slush to snow almost always causes slippery travel," Abrams said.

The strengthening storm will cause winds and the flow of cold air to increase over much of the same swath.

"Wet areas will freeze as temperatures fall rapidly," Abrams said. "Snow will fall on top of the ice and create a challenging situation for motorists and pedestrians."

As the snow dries out and becomes powdery, blowing and drifting snow can result in poor visibility.

Motorists heading west or north along interstates 57, 65, 70, 80/90 and 94 in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio should be prepared for wintry weather conditions during late Saturday and Saturday night.

By Sunday morning, temperatures will be in the teens and 20s over much of the area. AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures will plunge to the single digits and below zero.

Farther east, little to no snow is likely in the swath from Indianapolis and Louisville, Kentucky, to Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Pittsburgh and Buffalo, New York, during late Saturday night into Sunday. However, plummeting temperatures in this area can also cause some untreated wet and/or slushy areas to freeze.

As the storm lifts northward into Canada later this weekend, the gates of the arctic will be wide open.

"Some areas missed by significant snow during the Saturday to early Sunday storm will be hit by rounds of flurries and heavy snow squalls next week," Abrams said.

The coldest air of the winter so far will pour across the Plains and Midwest as a piece of the polar vortex sets up near Hudson Bay next week.