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Central US snowstorm to precede invasion of arctic air early next week

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A major snowstorm may develop over the central United States along the leading edge of a new blast of arctic air early next week.

After pummeling the West Coast with flooding rain and heavy snow this weekend, a storm will gather strength over the Central states.

The stage will be set for a potential winter storm from the Rockies to the Great Lakes from Monday to Wednesday, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Max Vido.

Depending on the exact track of the storm, a swath of accumulating snow could overspread part of the Midwest early in the new week.

Snow potential central US


A northern storm track would sweep the heaviest snow from Wyoming through South Dakota and into Minnesota and northern Wisconsin. In this scenario, Minneapolis would be included in the swath of accumulating snow.

In another scenario, the storm would track farther to the south, dumping the heaviest snow across Nebraska and Iowa before shooting northeastward across the Upper Great Lakes.

This storm will bring mainly rain to the cities of Chicago and Detroit, although a few snowflakes can mix in toward the end of the event.

Those with travel plans along interstates 29, 35, 80 and 90 should prepare for potential weather-related travel delays early next week.

Localized blizzard conditions are possible should the storm strengthen to its full potential.

Shovels and snowplows will be needed and travel disruptions are likely where the swath of snow sets up.

“Although amounts are not set in stone this far out, widespread snow accumulation will disrupt travel from Monday night into Tuesday night,” Vido said.

Compared to the devastating ice storm last weekend, the threat for ice will be minimal with next week’s storm.

Residents and travelers from Denver to Rapid City, South Dakota; Omaha, Nebraska; Des Moines, Iowa; and Minneapolis will need to keep a watchful eye on the storm’s path over the next few days.

Snowstorm to make way for return of arctic air

Much colder air will sweep southward in the wake of the storm during the second half of the week.

“After the unusual warmth people in the Central and Eastern states have been experiencing, the upcoming weather will be quite a shock,” according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Evan Duffey.

"Waves of arctic air will follow up during the first part of February," Duffey said.

Across the North Central states, highs in the 30s, 40s and 50s F will be replaced by highs in the teens, 20s and 30s. Episodes of brisk winds and other conditions, including snow at times, will yield AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures from 10 to 30 degrees lower.

The flow of cold air across the Great Lakes will lead to renewed lake-effect snow. There is also the potential for more general snow events as storms, known as Alberta clippers, sweep southeastward from western Canada.