A disruptive wintry system will develop over the north-central U.S. this weekend, bringing heavy snow to parts of the northern Plains and Midwest through Sunday.
After calm but frigid conditions closed out the work week, a blustery weekend snow event is in store from the Dakotas to the Great Lakes.
A storm moving eastward out of the Rockies will intensify as it reaches into the Plains on Saturday, resulting in increasing winds throughout the center of the country.
The system’s first flakes began over the western Dakotas Saturday morning.
By Saturday afternoon, Des Moines, Iowa and Minneapolis will also begin to accumulate snow.
“Snow will overspread the cities of Chicago and Detroit late Saturday and Saturday night,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike LeSeney said.
“Road conditions will rapidly deteriorate overnight Saturday night as roads become slick with snow and slush,” LeSeney said.
Drivers should be well aware of their surroundings and the local weather. Road conditions can deteriorate quickly due to low tire traction and drastically decreased visibility.
“Blowing snow will reduce visibility to near zero at times and drifting snow will hinder all efforts to keep city roads clear of snow,” LeSeney said.
As demonstrated in areas that received heavy snow over the past few days, highway pile-ups become more likely in wintry weather. Those traveling at highway speeds should therefore be particularly weather-weary this weekend.
Anyone planning air travel through airport hubs in this region should plan for flight delays and even cancellations as snowfall intensifies into Saturday night and through Sunday.
As this system pushes eastward overnight on Saturday, snow will reach Detroit and Pittsburgh before sunrise on Sunday.
While Sunday afternoon will mark the end of the snowfall event along the western edge of the storm, central Pennsylvania and western New York will receive their first flakes.
The area of highest snow accumulation in the Midwest is expected to avoid major population centers, though they will not be spared from major travel disruptions.
Minneapolis; Madison, Wisconsin; Chicago and Detroit can all expect to see around half a foot of snow by Sunday night.
“Roads will remain snow covered and slushy through the day on Sunday with a storm total snowfall of 4-8 inches possible,” LeSeney said.
Flights throughout the country this weekend can be impacted by disruptive weather in these major cities.
Areas from Bismarck, North Dakota to Des Moines, Iowa can anticipate receiving enough snow to shovel.
While Indianapolis will be impacted by this storm, temperatures will not fall below freezing long enough to be conducive for accumulating snowfall.
Much of Michigan, including Detroit, will still be in the area of heaviest snowfall through Monday. Residents of southwestern Michigan can anticipate over 6 inches of new snowfall by Monday as the warmer waters of Lake Michigan enhance local snowfall intensity.