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Fox News Weather Center

Disruptive snowstorm to kick off March in midwestern US

March is set to start with a snowstorm disrupting travel and daily routines across a portion of the midwestern United States.

A storm dropping down from the northern Rockies will strengthen as it turns and then treks across the Midwest on the first day of March.

While any snow accumulations will be minor in the northern Rockies and northern High Plains on Monday, more disruptive snow will target the Midwest as the storm strengthens.

Strong spring storm looms

The exact track of the storm will determine the dividing line between rain and snow and where the heaviest snow zone will set up. South of the snow, severe thunderstorms will threaten the south-central U.S.

Latest indications point toward the corridor of disruptive snow or rain changing to snow unfolding from Iowa to Lower Michigan and southern Ontario on Monday night into Tuesday night. There can even be a period of ice during the transition to all snow.

Cities at risk for enough snow to cause slick roads and disruptions to travel and daily routines include Des Moines and Davenport, Iowa; Madison and Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Chicago; Grand Rapids and Detroit, Michigan; Toledo and Cleveland, Ohio; and London, Ontario.

Travel can be impacted on stretches of interstates 69, 75, 80, 90 and 94. Airline passengers should prepare for possible cancellations and delays.

There will be a narrow swath of snow topping 6 inches in the Midwest, further clogging roads and creating treacherous travel.

Gusty winds will increase as the storm strengthens and blows the snow around, but it appears that the storm will fall short of evolving into a blizzard.

A tight gradient between little and significant accumulations on roads is possible with this storm due to the warmth preceding the snow and the stronger early March sun.

An example of this was recently observed around Chicago, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

"During the snowstorm on Wednesday around Chicago, a distance of less than 35 miles resulted in the difference between wet roads and non-accumulating snow to more than a foot of accumulation and snow-covered roads."

The snow can have trouble sticking to roads in some communities initially due to the warmth preceding the storm and when it is falling lightly during the day.

However, motorists should not let their guards down. Moderate-to-heavy snow can overcome the stronger March sun and turn roads slick, while falling temperatures will cause any wet or slushy areas on untreated surfaces to turn icy. Bridges and overpasses will become slippery before main roads.

The danger of a freeze-up, especially on bridges and overpasses, will expand south of the snow zone to the Ohio Valley on Tuesday night as colder air plunges in.

The arrival of the colder air will not only have the region shivering at midweek but could set the stage for more snow to target the lower Midwest states later in the week.