A major winter storm moving across the country’s northern tier Saturday night is expected to bring heavy snow and strong winds from the Rockies to the Central Plains and into the Great Lakes, creating headaches on major highways and at key airports for holiday travelers heading home.
The National Weather Service says the storm could produce blizzard conditions, especially in the hardest-hit areas.
“Dangerous travel conditions caused by heavy snow and reduced visibility are expected to end the holiday weekend,” according to the NWS.
Strong winds and heavy snow are likely in Chicago Sunday afternoon, raising prospects of flight delays and cancellations at O’Hare International Airport, a major hub. Airlines delays in or out of Chicago would, in turn, also have a ripple affect throughout the nationwide system.
“The combination of extra moisture from Lake Michigan, colder air and strong winds may lead to whiteout conditions and a rapid accumulation of snow in Chicago during the second half of the storm,” according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Steve Travis.
Heavy snow could also create delays for travelers into and out of airports in Detroit, Cleveland and Pittsburgh.
Forecasters are warning of likely near-blizzard conditions on Sunday from Topeka, Kansas, and Omaha, Nebraska, to Des Moines, Iowa, and Madison, Wisconsin. From 3 to 6 inches of snow is likely from northern Kansas to Michigan.
The fast-moving storm is also expected to drop snow on parts of upstate New York and Northern New England into Monday.
As the storm works its way across the northern states, it is expected to dip down into the Mid-Atlantic Saturday, raising the chance of light freezing rain over the central Appalachians.
The National Weather Center expects a surface low in the Carolinas to trek northward across the Mid-Atlantic Saturday evening, hugging the New England coast on Sunday morning and bringing heavy rainfall.
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