December 27, 2018
Snow and strong, cold winds will continue to create blizzard conditions over parts of the central and northern Plains to a sliver of the Upper Midwest into Friday.
Road closures are likely, and some of the regional airports may be forced to shut down for a time.
The combination of increasing wind and the dry, powdery nature of the snow create blizzard conditions at times from western Kansas to central Nebraska during Thursday. Gusts near 60 mph have occurred in western Kansas and central Nebraska during Thursday morning.
One fatality was reported by emergency managers near Grinnell, Kansas, after multiple accidents on Interstate 70. Blizzard conditions and icy roads were present at the time of the fatal accident.
These conditions are forecast to spread northeastward Thursday night to much of South Dakota, southeastern South Dakota and parts of northern and central Minnesota as temperatures plummet.
Areas from northeastern South Dakota to southeastern North Dakota and west-central Minnesota are expected to receive a storm total of 12-18 inches of snow.
Even as the snow tapers off from southwest to northeast, the strong winds and cold air will cause snow on the ground to continue to blow and drift.
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Sustained winds of 15-30 mph with gusts ranging between 40 and 60 mph are anticipated in part of the ongoing and recent snowfall area.
Crosswinds to 60 mph can tip over trucks and campers.
Due to the whiteouts, motorists may have difficulty ascertaining what is the road surface versus non-paved areas along portions of interstates 25, 29, 70, 80, 90 and 94, as well as U.S. Routes 10, 14, 20, 71, 81 and 83. Expect extensive blowing and drifting of snow. Drifts may reach 6 feet deep or more in open areas.
Download the free AccuWeather app to see what conditions are in store for your area.
Anyone who absolutely must travel through these areas during the storm should make sure their vehicle is equipped for an emergency that includes blankets, flashlights, food, water and medicine. There is an elevated risk of becoming stranded for an extended period in this storm.
However, staying off the roads during the storm is not only the safest option but will also allow snow removal crews to work as efficiently as possible.
Temperatures are forecast to plunge as the storm progresses in the heavy snow area on north and west. Actual temperatures will fall into the 20s, teens and single digits in some areas. However, AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures will plunge to life-threatening levels (below zero) in many cases.
While precipitation will fall as rain in Minneapolis during the height of the storm on Thursday and Thursday evening, wintry travel with snow is forecast to return at the end of the storm. An additional 1 to 3 inches of snow may fall from Thursday night to Friday, which is enough to make roads slippery again.
“Plunging temperatures on the back side of the storm can also cause wet or slushy areas to freeze and further make conditions slippery and treacherous for motorists and those traveling by foot,” according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski.
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