As we delve deeper into December, late fall weather continues to dump snow on regions from the Pacific Northwest, across the Plains, and up the Eastern Seaboard. However, this weekend, forecasters are predicting that a major winter storm spanning approximately 1,200 miles will dump inches of snow on states from Michigan and Nebraska eastward to Ohio and Pennsylvania.
AccuWeather reports that the same winter storm that delayed travel out West earlier this week, and could potentially bring flooding to both the Mississippi and Tennessee Valleys, will drop several inches of snow across this 1,200-mile region. The storm is expected to “graze” cities like Chicago and Detroit and will stop short of blanketing New York City.
Per the news outlet, forecasters aren’t expecting anything like we saw in Buffalo, New York last month. Instead, just a few inches should accumulate in the aforementioned regions, though they encourage commuters to remain cautious while traveling on more heavily-populated interstates. More than likely, road conditions will become slick.
Still, while the winter storm is more than likely to impact multiple states, experts cannot predict where the bulk of accumulation will settle. That all depends on the storm’s track, in addition to how much cold air blows in from Canada and whether or not the Gulf of Mexico produces an area of high pressure to combat winter weather conditions.
Meteorologists Prepare Americans for Slick Road Conditions Throughout Winter Storm
While we likely won’t see more than a few inches of snow accumulation in most impacted areas across the U.S., meteorologists’ primary concern is road conditions.
AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Adam Douty said, “Although temperatures may be close to or a little above freezing during the storm, it can snow hard enough for several hours and allow an accumulation on some roads.”
Experts believe the winter storm could impact interstates including 29, 35, 39, 80, 90, and 94, most prominently after dusk and before dawn during the heaviest precipitation. Where Central states are impacted, “the best chance for several inches of snow and the worst travel conditions appears to be during Thursday night and early Friday from eastern Nebraska and southeastern South Dakota to northern Iowa and southern Minnesota.”
As the winter weather moves eastward, it’s possible competing systems could impact the path of the approaching storm. Douty said, “A wedge of dry air may cut the storm’s moisture supply and a competing storm off the Atlantic coast may zap some strength from Friday night to Saturday.”
The meteorologist is likely referring to the subtropical winter storm, dubbed Owen, which is likely to hit land and wreak havoc along the Atlantic coast later in the week. As such, it’s possible the snowfall could stop short of Pennsylvania, instead bringing a wintry mix of weather to the north and central regions of the Keystone State. As such, experts are expecting more hazardous travel conditions. Affected interstates to the east include 76, 79, 80, 81, 86, 88, and 90.
Meanwhile, forecasters are predicting a series of large storms in the weeks leading up to Christmas.