Major winter storm to impact travel across the Midwest

Major winter storm to impact travel across the Midwest

A storm system will affect the Midwest from later today through Wednesday with wind, rain and accumulating snow for areas northwest of Wisconsin Dells. Another storm over the weekend could bring additional rain from later Friday into Saturday, changing to a windy accumulating snow on Sunday.

Major winter storm to impact travel across the Midwest

The first system will affect the Midwest from late today through Wednesday, just before the Thanksgiving holiday. Rain will develop around mid-afternoon today as high temperatures still reach the middle 40s. As the strong storm system moves almost directly over southern Wisconsin, easterly winds will switch to the west and northwest later tonight and increase in speed, drawing colder air across the state. Rain will mix with and change to snow northwest of Wisconsin Dells overnight before ending on Wednesday morning. Right now, most of the accumulating snow should stay west and north of Viroqua to Wisconsin Dells to Berlin line; accumulations should be in the 1-3″ range from late tonight into Wednesday morning. The rest of southern Wisconsin, including Madison and Janesville, will see mainly rain and even perhaps a few thunderstorms tonight. The rain may briefly mix with snow before ending, mainly north of Madison on Wednesday morning. No accumulation is expected south of Wisconsin Dells at this time.

Major winter storm to impact travel across the Midwest

If you are planning travel to the north and west today or Wednesday, a band of heavier snow of 6-12″ 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.

Major winter storm to impact travel across the Midwest

Travel may also be affected by high winds on Wednesday. Sustained winds of 15 to 30 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 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 like 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 in Denver through much of the day today, moving into the Twin Cities for tonight and Wednesday. High winds may affect operations at O’Hare and Midway airports in Chicago and possibly Detroit, as well.

The Thanksgiving holiday should be mostly cloudy and cold with high temperatures in the middle 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 afternoon 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 a couple of inches of accumulation during the day Sunday, blown around by strong winds. This could lead to travel issues at a time many people will be on the roads.

It you are planning travel tonight/Wednesday morning and/or Saturday night/Sunday time frames, please pay special attention to the latest forecasts and be prepared to adjust your plans accordingly.

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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