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Blizzard conditions this week from Mountain West to Midwest

Truckers will hit occasional whiteouts, potential road closures

(Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

After a weekend storm dumped a quick 5 to 10 inches of snow in parts of the Northeast, it’s the West’s and Midwest’s turn this week.

A pair of low-pressure systems will generate plenty of moisture and energy to make the weather messy for truckers across a broad part of the country, especially Monday and Tuesday.

Periods of heavy snow and high winds will likely cause intermittent delays from the Cascades, Rockies and Sierra Nevada to the northern Plains and Great Lakes.

Some high elevations in the West could see up to 24 inches of snow, based on some computer forecast models updated early Monday. Portions of the Great Lakes could receive about 12 inches of snow.

The latest outlook shows rain in most major freight hubs and metropolitan areas in the Great Lakes region, such as Chicago and Detroit, while Milwaukee and Minneapolis would see mostly snow with a period of freezing rain possible. However, just a slight shift of the storm track would bring more snow or freezing rain to Chicago and Detroit. Look for forecast updates on the FreightWaves website and social media accounts.

Wind gusts will hit 40 mph or higher at times, so blowing snow and reduced visibility will be issues for drivers. Whiteout conditions and road closures are possible.

Major lanes of concern

• Interstate 70 from Denver to the Interstate 15 junction in Utah.
• Interstate 90 from Seattle to Chicago.
• Interstate 90 from Reno, Nevada, to Chicago.
• Interstate 94 from Billings, Montana, to Minneapolis.

Other notable weather this week

On the much warmer and unstable side of the winter storm, look for periods of heavy rain and flash flooding from the Ohio Valley southward to the lower Mississippi Valley. Occasional tornadoes and severe thunderstorm winds could also develop in places like Dallas; Oklahoma and Tulsa, Oklahoma; Springfield, Missouri; northern Arkansas; Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee; Evansville, Indiana; Jackson, Mississippi; as well as Huntsville and Birmingham, Alabama.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

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Nick Austin

Nick is a meteorologist with 20 years of forecasting and broadcasting experience. He was nominated for a Midsouth Emmy for his coverage during a 2008 western Tennessee tornado outbreak. He received his Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Florida State University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Management from the Georgia Tech. Nick is a member of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association. As a member of the weather team at WBBJ-TV in Jackson, Tennessee, Nick was nominated for a Mid-South Emmy for live coverage of a major tornado outbreak in February 2008. As part of the weather team at WRCB-TV in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Nick shared the Chattanooga Times-Free Press Best of the Best award for “Best Weather Team” eight consecutive years.