After back-to-back weekends of major winter storms, the Midwest and Northeast need a break from travel headaches, power outages, and delays in supply chains. Unfortunately, they won’t get it anytime soon. Problems could get worse as more snow is forecast to return by mid-week, followed by another shot of extremely cold air thanks to the polar vortex.
The storm will first dump heaps of snow tonight (Monday) through Tuesday morning across the Rockies of the Mountain Prairie region, accompanied by powerful winds. The worst driving conditions will likely occur in northeastern Colorado, between Denver and Colorado Springs, where Blizzard Warnings have been issued by the National Weather Service (NWS) for areas along the I-25, I-70, I-76, and US-24 corridors.
Besides the slick roads, watch out for reduced visibility because of blowing snow and white-out conditions. The most challenging spots will be Akron, Byers, Castle Rock, Fort Morgan, and Limon (up to 10 inches of snow, 50 mph winds), as well as Monument Hill (up to three inches of snow, 60 mph winds). Heavy snow and strong winds will also give truckers trouble on the I-25, I-80, and I-90 corridors in eastern Wyoming, western Nebraska, and western South Dakota.
The storm out west will begin to move eastward on Tuesday afternoon and Tuesday night, dumping several more inches of snow across portions of Nebraska, Iowa (including Des Moines), Wisconsin, and Michigan (mostly the Upper Peninsula). Pockets of sleet and freezing could lead to icy area on I-35 and I-80, especially on bridges and overpasses. The NWS will likely add more winter weather alerts, so keep checking this interactive map for updates.
The threat for icy and snowy weather shifts on Wednesday and Thursday to the interior Northeast, as well as the Ohio River Valley, including Cincinnati and Louisville. People in some of the same areas hit hard by the last two storms – places like Buffalo, Erie, and Cleveland, as well as from upstate New York to northern Maine – will likely be out shoveling snow again by the end of the work week. Winds could be strong enough to knock down trees and power lines in some neighborhoods, too, and there’s a potential for road closures. Some snow may even develop as far south as Little Rock, Arkansas! Coastal cities from Washington, D.C. to Boston will probably be spared from wintry precipitation, but they could see heavy rain and localized flooding.
After the Storm
This storm should fade Thursday night, but it could leave behind strong winds and dangerously cold wind chills in the Northeast through the day Friday. The bitterly cold temperatures may last through next weekend, with little chance to thaw out. Temperatures well below normal for late January could send almost all states east of the Rockies into deep freezes. The only areas that might escape the severe cold are Texas and southern Florida. Look for weather updates throughout the week on the FreightWaves website. Despite disruptions in the supply chain over the weekend, some carriers may be able to make up for lost time through Tuesday or Wednesday, only to fall behind again at week’s end.