Less than 48 hours after record-challenging warmth, a storm will threaten part of the north-central United States with blizzard conditions prior to the end of the week.
In some areas, temperatures will plunge 40 degrees Fahrenheit after peaking in the 60s and 70s at midweek. Temperatures will reach only the 20s and 30s during the storm on Thursday and Friday.
The storm is likely to cause major travel disruptions along the Interstate 25, 35, 80, 90 and 94 corridors. Snow will clog roads from northern Colorado, Wyoming and southern Montana to northern Wisconsin, a large part of Minnesota and northern Michigan.
"From portions of northern Iowa to the shores of Lake Superior, the combination of heavy snow and increasing wind and decreasing visibility may create blizzard conditions for a time," according to AccuWeather Storm Warning Meteorologist Alex Avalos.
Initially the snow will be wet, slushy and clinging in nature. However, as roads and other surfaces cool and winds increase, the snow will become more powdery and subject to extensive blowing and drifting. Wind can gust to 45 mph in some locations.
Cities most at risk for a foot or more of snow and blizzard conditions include Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Sioux City, Iowa; Eau Claire and Wausau, Wisconsin; Minneapolis and Rochester, Minnesota; and Marquette, Michigan.
Denver will be on the southwestern fringe of the storm. However, a couple of inches of snow with a freeze-up can be enough to create icy roads and airline delays Thursday night into Friday morning.
By late Friday night, it may turn cold enough at the tail end of the storm for a bit of snow to fall on Chicago and Milwaukee, following rain as the primary form of precipitation during Thursday and Friday. The combination of rain and a low cloud ceiling could be enough to cause minor travel delays.
The storm will not bring any snow to Indianapolis, Detroit and Kansas City, Missouri. However, temperatures will be slashed by 20 to 30 degrees from Thursday to Saturday.
This is the same storm system that slammed Northern California with brought up to 6 inches of rain, flooding and mudslides, as well as a few feet of snow and gusts to near 200 mph to the high Sierra Nevada from late Sunday to early Tuesday.
Conditions from the storm will be much less intense over the Central states. However, the storm will remain potent enough to cause significant travel problems from snow, heavy rain and locally severe thunderstorms.