Major Snowstorm to Affect Much of U.S.

Click for larger image.

Well, that is rather colorful!  A cornucopia of watches and warnings litter the U.S from California to the upper peninsula of Michigan.  All of these are in advance of a potent storm that will bring heavy snow to parts of the West, Central Plains, and northern Great Lakes regions.  Many places will see their first major snowfall of the Winter.

Since there is such a large area that will be affected over a three day period, I think it would be easier to look at the HPC winter weather prediction maps to understand snowfall totals.

Click for larger image.

Click for larger image.

Click for larger image.

When looking at the above maps, note the predictions are for snowfall below 7500 ft.  Where elevations exceed such limits, we can probably expect more snowfall.  In fact, many of the winter storm warnings out West mention snow totals in feet for the highest elevations – usually above 7000 ft.

For the period beginning tonight and ending tomorrow night, much of the snow is expected to be confined to the more elevated locations in the West.  The next two 24-hr periods (tomorrow night through Tuesday night and Tuesday night through Wednesday night) will produce more widespread snowfall in the eastern Rockies, Central Plains and northern Great Lakes.  Those in the path of the favorable snow areas can expect at least 6 inches with a foot of snow not out of the question.

Blizzard Conditions

If you look closely at the Watch/Warning map at the top of the page, you’ll notice some bright colors embedded within the more familiar winter watches and warnings.  These are blizzard watches and warnings.  Such places as Telluride, CO and Flagstaff, AZ have blizzard warnings in place while blizzard watches are in effect for southeastern Minnesota, northeastern Iowa, and western Wisconsin.  The combination of strong winds and blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility for an extended period of time in these areas.

Severe Weather

As with many strong winter storms, the warm sector can expect some severe weather.  Right now, the SPC has issued a slight risk for severe weather along the Gulf Coast from extreme eastern Texas to the Florida panhandle during the day on Tuesday.  Given how strong the storm is forecast to be, it would not be surprising at all to see some severe weather ahead of the cold front.

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