Heavy snow, wind and severe weather may unfold late this week as a strong storm system sweeps across the central U.S. and into the Midwest.
The storm system will ride along a battle zone of cold Canadian air and very warm and moist Gulf air Thursday and Friday.
The exact track and strength of the storm system is still out for debate but it is becoming increasingly likely that heavy snow and strong winds will pummel a few states across the Plains and Midwest.
Energy from an early week storm across California will swing across the Rockies and into the Plains Thursday.
"As the storm emerges into the Plains, it will pull copious amounts of Gulf Moisture northward that will clash with a Canadian airmass being pulled from the north," AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rossio said.
The storm is expected to track from the central Plains to the western Great Lakes afterwards through Friday and may strengthen during this time. This would likely lead to a swath of heavy snow and strong winds on the backside of the storm system.
As of right now, some major cities at risk for heavy snow include Cheyenne, Wyoming; Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska; Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Minneapolis, Minnesota. However, a small tweak to the storm track could shift the heaviest snow area away from these cities and into other areas.
Regardless of the track, the area of windswept snow will threaten travel.
"There could be an area that experiences blizzard conditions," Rossio warned.
Low visibility and snow-clogged roads could slow travel or even bring it to a standstill as transportation departs struggle with the heavy snowfall.
A swath of 6 to 12 inches will be possible. If the storm strengthens as it heads across the Upper Midwest Friday there could be higher amounts in some spots.
"Wind and heavy snow will lead to large snow drifts and blinding white-out conditions can be anticipated along parts of the I-90 corridor through southern Minnesota," Rossio said.
Those who may be looking to schedule plans for the end of the week will want to keep a close eye on the forecast over the next few days. Poor weather conditions may lead to postponements and cancellations.
The storm system will bring a taste of winter back to the region following a very mild stretch of days.
Daily high temperatures have been ranging between 20 F and 30 F above normal across the central and midwestern U.S. In some places, high temperature records have been shattered.
While the warm ground may initially melt any snow that does fall, snowfall rates should become large enough to overcome that rather quickly.
Warm and moist air will continue to surge in ahead of the storm system across the Mississippi and Ohio Valleys Thursday and Friday continuing the springlike theme. However, these conditions could help fuel severe thunderstorms on both days.
The warmth will likely be erased over the weekend in the wake of the storm across the Great Lakes and into the Northeast, as cold northwesterly winds help bring temperatures closer to normal.