Forget spring: Blizzard forecast for north-central U.S. by Doyle Rice, USA TODAY•Pink blossom petals that emerged during the early spring are now covered in snow to remind us that we are still in winter Monday morning, March 16, 2020, in Nevada City, California.
The calendar may say spring is almost here, but winter isn’t quite done yet.
A blizzard is forecast for portions of the north-central U.S. this week, which will make travel „difficult if not impossible” in some areas.
Weather conditions on the last day of winter „will seem more like the middle of January for an approximate 1,200-mile-long swath of the central United States on Thursday,” AccuWeather said.
Blizzard conditions will spread across portions of Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska and South Dakota, due to strong winds and a heavy rate of snow.
„A general 3-6 inches of snow is forecast to fall over parts of the central Rockies, central and northern Plains and the upper Great Lakes region,” AccuWeather meteorologist Brandon Buckingham said. „From 6-12 inches of snow is forecast in parts of Colorado, Wyoming and western Nebraska, as well as a portion of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.”
Up to two feet of snow is possible in mountainous areas of Wyoming and Colorado, the National Weather Service predicted.
Major metro areas in the path of the snowstorm include Denver and Minneapolis. Moderate accumulations are expected in the Denver metro area, with higher amounts, as usual, in the western and southern foothills, the Weather Channel said.
Minneapolis could see a „plowable snowfall,” the weather service said.
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The National Weather Service in Cheyenne, Wyoming, also warned that „snowdrift will be a hazard as well – looking at this as an issue for local farmers and ranchers as this is a potential hazard for livestock and newborn calves.”
The snow will last into Thursday night in parts of the upper Midwest before ending Friday, according to the Weather Channel, which has named the storm Winter Storm Pearl.
While the north-central U.S. deals with the snow, severe weather – including the chance for tornadoes – will be the main weather story across the southern Plains Wednesday and the mid-South and Midwest on Thursday.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Blizzard forecast for north-central U.S.
Snow plow drivers are working overtime to clear roads in the Sierra Nevada. This is day four of a major storm that has dumped more than four feet of snow in some spots. Look for one more day of heavy snowfall and gusty winds in the Sierra Nevada, as well as the Cascades of northern California and southern Oregon, before the storm heads to the Rockies tonight.
I-80 remains closed of Donner Summit. This big rig lost its chains and is stalled out just before the top, according to the CHP. I am in Colfax and will post just as soon as @CaltransDist3 crews reopen the road. pic.twitter.com/B7Y3VchNLc
— Brian Hickey (@kcraBrianHickey) March 17, 2020
As of this morning, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) had again closed portions of I-80 between Colfax and the Nevada border – a stretch of about 75 miles that includes Truckee and Donner Pass. With an additional 6 to 12 inches of snowfall possible in these areas today, chain controls are up. More road closures are possible on I-80, as well as US-50 in the Lake Tahoe area.
The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued winter storm warnings for northern California. Heavy snowfall totaling 5 to 10 inches could impact truckers on part of I-5 from Mt. Shasta City to Dunsmiur, a distance of nearly 60 miles.
The storm will exit the Sierra Nevada tonight as it heads toward the Rockies. Scattered snow showers will develop across the Rockies on Wednesday. Then the storm picks up steam, dumping heavy snowfall and creating blizzard conditions Wednesday night and Thursday.
Some of the heaviest snowfall will hit the high elevations of western Colorado, along parts of the I-70 corridor between Denver and eastern Utah. Blizzard conditions could crank up in Colorado north of Denver and the I-70 corridor, especially into southeastern Wyoming, which is part of the Denver freight market. The storm should fade across the Rockies Thursday night, but it may spread freezing rain, sleet and heavy snowfall across the upper Midwest Thursday and Friday.
Impact on freight
Typically, carriers will reject fewer loads in the few days leading up to a major snowstorm, attempting to grab as much freight as possible before roads become potentially impassable. However, this isn’t the case with the Denver market. Outbound tender rejections (OTVI.DEN) – the percentage of outbound loads offered by shippers that carriers are turning down – have increased dramatically over the past week. This is shown by the green line in the FreightWaves SONAR chart below (right-hand side).