A blizzard will slam parts of the Midwest over the next couple of days, challenging truckers making deliveries or trying to get home for the weekend.
A strong low-pressure system and associated cold front will move into the Plains and Upper Midwest, ushering in cold air, wicked winds, heavy snowfall and spots of freezing rain. The impacts will be most noticeable in eastern portions of the Dakotas, as well as Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa. Based on the latest forecast models, snow and wind could also spread into eastern Kansas, northern Missouri and Illinois.
The slow-moving storm will continue Thursday, gradually ending west to east Friday afternoon and evening. Snow totals could be highest along and north of Interstate 90, including Minneapolis-St. Paul, where 8 to 12 inches could pile up. Across northern Iowa and Wisconsin, totals will generally be in the range of 4 to 10 inches.
Across the eastern Dakotas, northeast Kansas, northern Missouri and into Illinois, totals will be on the lighter side, generally 1 to 4 inches. However, the winds will be very strong, with gusts possibly exceeding 50 mph. This would create periods of whiteout conditions. Due to the track of the low-pressure system, winds east of the Dakotas will be much lighter, but could still produce spots of drifting snow.
Other major cities under the gun include Omaha, Nebraska, and Kansas City, Missouri. Major interstates include I-35, I-29, I-80, I-90 and I-94. Drivers should expect road closures.
A broad region west and south of the blizzard will continue to get pounded by dangerous wind gusts of 50 to 80 mph Thursday and Friday. Drivers will run into an elevated risk of rollovers across eastern parts of Wyoming and Colorado, central and western sections of the Dakotas, in addition to eastern Montana, most of Nebraska and most of Kansas. Winds of 90-plus mph hit some of these areas Wednesday, with 70-plus winds already recorded Thursday morning.
Friday night and Saturday, the storm will head to the Northeast. By then, winds should weaken dramatically. Coastal areas will be wet, with snow confined mostly to interior areas.