Watch Now


Midwest snowstorm to impact drivers heading into 2021 (with forecast video)

Worst weather from Central Plains to Great Lakes

(Photo: Wisconsin DOT)

A strong winter storm will likely slow down supply chains, freight movement and business operations this week across several Midwest states.

The combination of snow, ice and gusty winds will cause mostly minor to moderate disruptions to surface and air transportation from the Central Plains to portions of the Great Lakes. Major cities within the potential impact zone include Kansas City, Missouri; Omaha, Nebraska; Des Moines, Iowa; and Milwaukee and Green Bay, Wisconsin. Major interstates within this zone include I-80, I-90, I-35, I-39 and I-43.

A complex storm system in the western U.S. will slowly move across the central U.S. Tuesday through early Thursday (New Year’s Eve), producing moderate snowfall and gusty winds, as well as some sleet and ice.

Ice buildup of a tenth to two-tenths of an inch is possible, especially in the southern half of the potential impact zone within Nebraska, Kansas, northern Missouri and northwestern Illinois. Snow accumulations will reach 5 to 10 inches in many areas within the zone, with the highest totals likely in Iowa and southern Wisconsin. Stronger winds — gusts ranging from 30 to 40 mph — will cause significant blowing snow and occasional whiteout conditions.

The storm should fade New Year’s Eve and Day as it moves toward the eastern Great Lakes and interior Northeast. Most of the precipitation will change to rainfall during this time.

Other areas of snowfall


Look for areas of moderate to heavy snowfall Monday and Tuesday across the Sierra Nevada in eastern California, high elevations in Nevada, the Wasatch Range in Utah and the Rockies of Colorado and northern New Mexico. Periods of snowfall will hit the Cascades and northern Rockies from Wednesday into next weekend.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin

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.