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Fox News Weather Center

Groundhog Day blizzard to whip Colorado to Iowa, Wisconsin

Snow and slippery travel over the central United States will evolve into dangerous blizzard conditions spanning the first part of the coming week, including Groundhog Day.

A storm will strengthen and gather snow and wind as it tracks from the Southwest states during Sunday night and Monday to the central Plains and Upper Midwest during Monday night into Tuesday night.

The storm will put down snow along a 1,600-mile swath in the U.S. from Flagstaff, Arizona, to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.

According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rathbun, "A swath of 6- to 12-inch snowfall with localized areas of 12-18 inches are likely from parts of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado to portions of Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, northwestern Missouri, northern Michigan and southern Minnesota."

According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Becky Elliot, "There is the potential for blizzard conditions to develop as the storm strengthens, so residents should keep that in mind as they make preparations over the weekend."

At the height of the storm, winds can gust to 50 mph with the potential for power outages.

This is the type of storm that has the potential to shut down major highways. Snow of varying intensity and blowing and drifting snow with poor visibility will impact portions of interstates 25, 29, 35, 40, 70, 80, 90 and 94.

Even where sleet and rain mix in with the snow, travel can be difficult and very slippery.

There is also the potential for a number of airline delays and flight cancellations from Denver to Kansas City, Missouri, Omaha, Nebraska, and Madison, Wisconsin.

The winter storm will arrive in parts of Iowa during Monday night, where the Caucuses for the 2016 Presidential Election will take place.

Even though most of the snow is likely to stay north and west of Chicago, enough wind, rain and wintry mix can occur and cause some airline disruptions at O'Hare International Airport, as well as General Mitchell Airport in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The northwestern edge of the snowstorm is likely to graze Minneapolis.

Wind and rain could cause delays around Detroit.

"The threat for snow will begin along portions of the Front Range from New Mexico to Colorado and Wyoming as early as Sunday," Elliot said.

The storm could last 36 hours or more along portions of the Front Range.

Denver could receive its biggest snowfall of the season so far from the long-duration storm early next week. The biggest single-storm snowfall this season was 7.7 inches on Dec. 15. So far during January, only 3.6 inches of snow has fallen.

A combination of surging warmth to the south and east, a charge of cold air to the north and west and strong winds aloft will help to energize the storm.

Temperatures over the middle Mississippi Valley will surge into the 60s F to perhaps near 70, while temperatures plunge into the teens and 20s over parts of the central and northern Plains early next week.

The storm will bring a wide range of weather, including the risk of violent thunderstorms in the storm's warm sector, over the southern Plains and part of the Mississippi Valley early next week.