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Midwest snowstorm to strike at cusp of new year

Freight flow disruptions likely due to high winds, reduced visibility

(Photo: Illinois DOT)

A snowstorm will slam parts of the MIdwest just as 2021 ends and 2022 begins.

Related: Chaining up: 4 pro tips for truckers

A strong cold front will produce moderate to heavy snow and gusty winds from Nebraska and Kansas to Michigan and Ontario, Canada, from late Friday, New Year’s Eve, through Saturday, New Year’s Day. This winter storm will likely cause disruptions to transportation, as well as local business operations and supply chain networks.

Major cities within the potential impact zone include Omaha, Nebraska; Des Moines, Iowa; Chicago; Milwaukee; as well as Grand Rapids and Flint, Michigan. Kansas City, Missouri, Detroit and Toronto were on the fringes of the zone as of Wednesday morning.

The storm’s forecast path runs through a critical road and rail transportation corridor including sections of Interstates 35, 55, 75, 80, 90 and 94.

Snow totals could range from 4 to 8 inches, with some isolated higher amounts, and wind gusts exceeding 40 mph in some areas. The combination of snow and gusty winds will lead to blowing and drifting snow with periods of whiteout conditions. Drivers should be prepared for possible road and business closures.

Major lanes of concern

• Interstate 29 from Kansas City to Omaha.
• Interstate 35 from Kansas City to Des Moines.
• Interstate 55 in Illinois from Pontiac to Chicago.
• Interstate 75 from Gaylord, Michigan, to Detroit.
• Interstate 80 from Elkhart, Indiana, to Omaha.
• Interstate 90 from Elkhart to Madison, Wisconsin.
• Interstate 94 from Ann Arbor, Michigan, to Milwaukee.

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.