Powerful Post-Christmas Winter Storm May Bring Blizzard Conditions, Ice to Plains, Upper Midwest

The Weather Channel

A powerful winter storm will bring heavy snow, some ice and potentially blizzard conditions to parts of the Plains this weekend, potentially snarling post-Christmas holiday travel.

This significant system has been named Winter Storm Gage by The Weather Channel.

Once the system pivots out of the Southwest, low pressure is expected to intensify in the Plains this weekend.

The air mass ahead of the storm will remain very warm for late December, so some areas that are used to seeing snow this time of year may end up seeing predominantly rain.

However, some cold air will be pulled in behind the intensifying storm, so wind-driven snow and some freezing rain is expected in other areas from the Northern Plains to northern New England.

So, this storm may resemble one you might expect in November or March, rather than late December.

A strong plunge of the jet stream will produce a strong low-pressure system in the Plains states this weekend. With cold air wrapping around it, snow, ice and wind is expected.

Happening Now

This storm system is currently bringing rain and mountain snow to parts of the southern Rockies. Rain, snow and ice are spreading into parts of the western and northern Plains.

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Current Radar

A number of winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories have been issued by the National Weather Service from eastern Arizona into the Upper Midwest.

In general, the worst conditions are expected where winter storm warnings are in effect. Strong wind gusts, blowing and drifting snow and icy conditions may make travel impossible, especially in the northern Plains.

Mixed precipitation could make roads slick from southeastern Colorado to southeastern Minnesota, including the Twin Cities, where winter weather advisories are in effect.

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Current Winter Weather Alerts

(Winter storm watches/warnings are issued by the National Weather Service when significant snow and ice is in the forecast. Winter weather advisories are issued when lighter snow or ice accumulations are expected to produce minor, but still potentially hazardous impacts. )

Daily Forecast

Timing

Saturday: Low pressure will cross through the Central Plains while intensifying. Heavy snow will pound areas from the central High Plains into the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest. Some freezing rain is possible in parts of northern Michigan, Minnesota, northern Wisconsin and northern Iowa, though that may change to rain from south to north.

Increasing wind may lead to blizzard conditions from the eastern Dakotas into western Minnesota.

Strong thunderstorms are expected to develop from the Southern Plains into the lower Mississippi Valley late Saturday afternoon into Saturday night, with isolated severe thunderstorms possible. The primary risks include damaging winds and a couple of tornadoes.

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Saturday’s Forecast

Sunday into Monday: Snow will linger while winds may actually increase in the Northern Plains, with precipitation eventually changing to snow across much of the upper Mississippi Valley. Areas of lingering light snow and gusty winds may last in parts of the Great Lakes Monday and Tuesday.

(MAPS: Daily U.S. Rain, Snow, Ice Forecast)

A few severe thunderstorms could develop Sunday afternoon and evening in parts of Mississippi, Alabama, southern Tennessee and the Florida Panhandle. Strong wind gusts and an isolated tornado are the primary threats.

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Sunday’s Forecast

Rain, Snow Forecast

Parts of the Northern Plains from the eastern Dakotas to western and northern Minnesota have the best chance of seeing heavy snow, with at least 8 inches of snow likely. Over a foot of snow is possible in this general area.

Strong winds could lead to blizzard conditions this weekend, perhaps lasting into at least early Monday in the Plains. You need to make alternate plans if you have travel plans this weekend in this area. Road closures, including stretches of interstate highways, are probable in this zone of heaviest snow.

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Rain and Snow Outlook

(While it is too far out in time to specify exact forecast snowfall totals, areas in the purple and pink contours have the highest chance at heavy snowfall. Areas in the darker green contours have the best chance of higher rainfall totals. )

Some ice accumulation is possible from central Nebraska into northern Wisconsin that may lead to hazardous roads, particularly overpasses, and may trigger some power outages. However, this forecast is particularly tricky in that precipitation in at least portions of this area may change to rain, then back to snow.

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Probability of Ice Accumulation

(Ice accumulations of 0.10 inches or less can cause travel to be extremely dangerous but usually are not damaging to trees and power lines.)

Northeast Forecast

Timing

By Sunday, precipitation should spread into the East. Warmer air on southerly winds should keep precipitation mainly in the form of rain for most in the Northeast Sunday and Sunday night, with the exception of northern New York and northern New England, where stubborn cold air may allow areas of freezing rain, sleet and snow to persist.

Monday, colder air and the potential of an area of low pressure forming off the New England seaboard should allow precipitation to change to snow in parts of upstate New York into central and northern New England.

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Monday’s Forecast

Some snow may linger in the interior Northeast into New Year’s Eve (Tuesday), with rain showers in southern New England.

Rain, Snow Forecast

The majority of computer forecast models suggest the Interstate 95 Boston-to-Washington, D.C., corridor should see predominantly rain, rather than ice or snow.

Parts of northern and central New England and northern New York may pick up moderate to locally heavy snow accumulations. Some ice accumulation in northern New England may lead to slippery roads and potentially some power outages, in spots.

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Rain and Snow Outlook

(While it is too far out in time to specify exact forecast snowfall totals, areas in the purple and pink contours have the highest chance at heavy snowfall. Areas in the darker green contours have the best chance of higher rainfall totals. )

Check back with us at weather.com for updates to this forecast.

Storm Recap

Winter Storm Gage began as a low pressure system that swept southward along the West Coast, becoming problematic on Boxing Day in southern California.

Portions of interstates 5, 8 and 15 in southern California were closed due to heavy snow, standing vehicles for hours in the higher elevations of those interstates.

https://twitter.com/MelissaNBC7/status/1210229395861852160

Strong winds downed trees in Lynwood, California, in the Los Angeles metro area, early Thursday morning.

More than a foot of snow has fallen in Flagstaff, Arizona, as of Thursday.

Here are some of the top snowfall totals by state as of midday Friday.

Arizona: 14.1 inches at Flagstaff

California: 36 inches (estimated) at Mountain High Resort

Colorado: 6 inches near Lake City

New Mexico: 4.9 inches near Black Lake

Utah: 4 inches near Monticello

https://weather.com/forecast/national/news/2019-12-26-post-christmas-winter-storm-plains

6 thoughts on “Powerful Post-Christmas Winter Storm May Bring Blizzard Conditions, Ice to Plains, Upper Midwest

  1. When moisture comes up from the Gulf it tends to be heavy snow. This time it depends on upper temp. We may get a lot of ice.

    We’re good.

    1. if you’re bored come on up and help me shovel LOL calling for up to 18 inches heavy snow and possibly ice for a few counties…of course mine 🙁 tonight comes the big winds…hate that!

      snow just started a bit ago
      going to bring the mr heater inside with a 20 pounder just in case we lose power…that will warm the kitchen
      the best thing I ever bought when I moved up here was a ventless propane ‘fireplace’ ….no electric start don’t even need a battery for the starter…just a good ol’ match…..love watching the flames flicker
      I’ll run up and get some fuel for the generator this morning

      If need be I can go out to the shop and fire up the wood stove

      several people here have switched over to all electric in their homes…..and these are life long north dakotans ……what’s up with that?

      preparation is the key to success 🙂

      1. Hey Mary, I got a Mr. Heater in Oct. 30,000 – 60,000 nice works great heats up workshop in about 10 minutes, but guess what “NO WINTER” here in florida lows of 67 and highs of 80, so it will sit until needed when the SHTF, someday!!! Good luck and keep warm.

      2. “if you’re bored come on up and help me shovel”……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..(crickets)

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