Winds are expected to wind up to 65 and 75 km / h across the plains and combine with snow to create snowstorms for nearly 2 million people in the Upper Midwest.
“The strong winds are initiating more seasonal conditions with temperatures generally in the 30s to low 40s on Thursday,” CNN meteorologist Taylor Ward said.
When the storm hits the Midwest, cold air behind the system will be met by enough moisture to release sustained snowfall, gusts and periods of snowstorm-like conditions in parts of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and the eastern Dakotas.
“Travel may become impossible due to wind and zero visibility with the blizzard,”
The system is not in a hurry to move through the region as the effects could linger well into Friday for millions across the Great Lakes.
Prolonged snowfall, accompanied by periods of heavy lake-impact snow on the south shore of Lake Superior, will lead to widespread coverage of 3 to 6 inches of snow in the Upper Midwest, with the highest amounts likely between 6 and 10 inches above Minnesota and the northern Wisconsin.
As the system moves east Thursday night through Friday, periods of snow, rain and a wintry mix will affect parts of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.
Rain and snow reach the northeast Friday night
A secondary low pressure system is formed along the cold front when the system reaches the east coast Friday evening to Saturday morning.
While it promises to bring a soft start to the weekend for the Northeast, most of the area will see rain, not snow thanks to relatively mild temperatures in January.
Places like New York City and Boston will be in the middle of the upper 40s Saturday with half an inch to an inch of rain, as opposed to the many inches of snow they would see if the temperature was colder.
Snowfall Friday night and Saturday will be limited to Upstate New York and northern New England. For the most part, even these locations are only expected to see approx. 2 to 5 inches, although a few of the preferred spots of higher height could see over half a foot of snow.
Generation of the storm’s strong winds has been the difference in air pressure between a strong high pressure zone in the southwest and the incoming low from the northwest.