A strengthening storm system moving into the Upper Midwest is expected to bring a swath of heavy, wet snow across the region, setting the stage for widespread travel problems on Tuesday in places such as Chicago.
The National Weather Service's Weather Prediction Center said that one storm system moving across the Northwest will merge with another system over the Central Plains, combining into a winter storm over the Ohio Valley by Monday night.
"That's where we have a big old winter storm that's going to bring the potential for several inches of snow across the Great Lakes and the Midwest," Fox News Senior Meteorologist Janice Dean said on "Fox & Friends."
The NWS said that a mix of rain and snow in the area will gradually transition to all snow by Tuesday, with heavy snowfall rates likely exceeding 1 inch per hour in portions of the area.
"These heavy snow rates, combined with gusty winds, could create dangerous travel due to deteriorating road conditions and severely reduced visibility," the WPC said. "Air travel will likely become difficult to impossible."
Snowfall accumulations may range between 6 and 12 inches, with some locally higher totals present. Winter storm watches have been issued stretching from eastern Iowa in northern Illinois and southeast Wisconsin ahead of the storm.
The NWS office in Chicago said the heaviest snow is forecast to fall in the Chicago area between 12 p.m. on Tuesday and 6 a.m. on Wednesday.
Major airport hubs like Chicago's O'Hare and Midway Airports may see impacts due to the storm.
The upcoming snow could help the Chicago area make up for a snowfall deficit this winter.
Since the start of meteorological winter on Dec. 1, 2019, the Chicago area has received 16.9 inches of snow, which is 9.5 inches below normal, according to FOX32.
In addition to the expected heavy snowfall, winds will also pick up on the northern and western flanks of the storm late Tuesday and into Wednesday morning.
"This would lead to blustery conditions with reduced visibilities in these areas due to the combination of snow and gusty winds," according to forecasters. "Colder and drier air conditions will filter down the backside of the storm down through much of the Great Plains by Wednesday morning."