High winds, rain, thunderstorms and heavy snow affecting Midwest travel overnight, Wednesday morning

High winds, rain, thunderstorms and heavy snow affecting Midwest travel overnight, Wednesday morning
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A winter storm system will affect the Midwest through Wednesday, just before the Thanksgiving holiday.

Occasional rain and a few thunderstorms are expected tonight, and the rain will mix with snow north of Wisconsin Dells after midnight and change to snow closer to La Crosse and Tomah.

As the strong storm system moves almost directly over southern Wisconsin, southeasterly winds will switch to the west and northwest overnight and increase in speed, drawing colder air across the state. Rain will mix with and change to snow northwest of Wisconsin Dells before ending on Wednesday morning. Right now, most of the accumulating snow should stay west and north of Viroqua to Wisconsin Dells to the Berlin line; accumulations should be in the range of 1 to 3 inches from late Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.

The rest of southern Wisconsin, including Madison and Janesville, will see rain possibly briefly mixing with snow before ending during the day on Wednesday. No accumulation is expected south of Wisconsin Dells at this time.

High winds, rain, thunderstorms and heavy snow affecting Midwest travel overnight, Wednesday morning

If you are planning travel to the north and west on Tuesday and Wednesday, a band of heavier snow, 3 to 6 inches or more, is expected from the northwestern third of Iowa to southern and eastern Minnesota, including the Twin Cities metropolitan area, and the northwestern third of Wisconsin, including Eau Claire, Wausau and Rhinelander. Parts of north-central Wisconsin and the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan may see snow totals approaching 1 foot by Wednesday afternoon because of lake-effect snow from Lake Superior. A winter storm warning is in effect for this area for snow and strong winds that will develop on Wednesday morning.

Travel may also be affected by high winds on Wednesday. Sustained winds of 20 mph to 35 mph are expected over southern Wisconsin, with some wind gusts to 40 mph or higher, but over the flat land of eastern Iowa and northern Illinois, sustained winds of 25 mph to 40 mph are expected, with some wind gusts of 50 mph or more possible. In addition to causing some damage to trees, loose objects such as garbage cans and holiday decorations could be blown about by the high winds. Large vehicles and towed trailers will be very difficult to manage on open roads.

Air travel may also be affected by snow and high winds. Heavy snow and high winds are expected for the Twin Cities through much of the day on Wednesday. High winds may affect operations at O’Hare and Midway airports in Chicago and possibly at airports in Detroit, as well.

High winds, rain, thunderstorms and heavy snow affecting Midwest travel overnight, Wednesday morning

The Thanksgiving holiday should be mostly cloudy and cold with high temperatures in the mid-30s. A few flurries are possible in the afternoon. The flurries may mix with freezing drizzle Thursday night into early Friday morning, if temperatures are cold enough and there is enough moisture to generate precipitation.

Another storm system will affect much of the Midwest from Friday through the rest of the holiday weekend. Rain will develop by Friday afternoon and continue into Saturday morning. Temperatures should be warm enough for most of this precipitation to be mainly in the form of rain, but a mix of rain and snow can’t be ruled out Friday night as temperatures will be close to freezing for a few hours before climbing through the 30s overnight.

As another strong storm system moves over Wisconsin on Saturday, strong southeasterly winds ahead of the storm will switch to the west behind a cold front, causing temperatures to fall Saturday afternoon. Depending on how fast the temperatures fall, some untreated roads could become icy for a time. The precipitation will become spotty on Saturday afternoon and night as it changes to snow, but occasional light snow and strong winds are expected on Sunday as colder air tightens its grip on the Midwest. While not expected to be heavy, a persistent light snow could lead to 1 or 2 inches of accumulation during the day Sunday, blown around by strong winds. This could lead to travel issues at a time when many people will be on the roads heading home after the holiday weekend.

It you are planning travel overnight through Wednesday and again on Sunday, please pay special attention to the latest forecasts and be prepared to adjust your plans accordingly.

High winds, rain, thunderstorms and heavy snow affecting Midwest travel overnight, Wednesday morning

Stay tuned to News 3 Now newscasts, Channel3000.com on the internet and the Channel 3000 First Alert Weather and Traffic App for further weather updates.

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