Winter storm warnings issued across northern Plains, Upper Midwest

AccuWeather meteorologists are tracking a potent storm that is poised to unleash severe weather across the South with snow and ice farther north and west over areas that have already received a surplus of wintry precipitation so far this season.

Winter storm warnings remain in effect from Colorado to Wisconsin to cover for the heavy snow and ice expected with this storm.

A storm that crashed onshore in California with flooding rain and mountain snow at the beginning of the weekend tracked over the Four Corners region on Sunday before beginning a northeastward track across the nation's midsection on Monday.

"As mild, moist air is catapulted into the Southern and Central states early in the week and results in soaking rain and severe weather, the back side of the storm will have cold and snowy conditions filtering into the northern Plains and east of the Rockies," AccuWeather Meteorologist Nicole LoBiondo said ahead of the storm.

Unlike the massive storm that swept across the country in the days leading up to Christmas and unleashed days of heavy snow with blizzard conditions across the North Central states, AccuWeather meteorologists say the worst conditions with more than 6 inches of snow possible will target a rather narrow corridor of the northern Plains and Upper Midwest.

Despite the worst conditions expected to only encompass a rather compact zone, AccuWeather experts say that travel both on the road and in the air will once again be significantly impacted by this system from Monday to Tuesday.

Within the corridor of heaviest snow, a swath of 6-12 inches is likely from portions of South Dakota and Nebraska to Minnesota and Wisconsin. A smaller area, extending from northwest Nebraska to southwest Minnesota, is more likely to see over a foot of snow.

Between Sunday and Monday afternoons, a total of 10 inches of snow fell in Sherman, South Dakota, while 8 inches fell in Salem, South Dakota. Humboldt, South Dakota picked up 7.5 inches, and 7 inches of snow was reported in both Cody, Nebraska and Winner, South Dakota.

Valentine, Nebraska had the highest reported total, with 11 inches within that timeframe as heavy snow continued to fall.

With a sharp gradient on the northern edge of the storm, amounts were variably lower in places such as Rapid City and Pierre, South Dakota. Around 3 inches of snow were likely to fall from this storm in both of these locations, with locally higher amounts possible. Farther north, locations such as Fargo, North Dakota are likely to miss the accumulating snow entirely.

In Minneapolis, confidence has increased that heavy snow, in excess of 6 inches, will fall for most of the metro area. Half a foot of snow or more is likely even though some sleet and freezing rain may mix in for a time. The icy mix is most likely south and east of the city, but since snow is likely to continue into Wednesday over a portion of the Upper Midwest, heavy snowfall can still be achieved.

Confidence is high on where the heaviest snow will fall for the entire event, with the Colorado Rockies as well as the Wasatch range in Utah most likely to come close to the AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 48 inches.


AccuWeather's expert team urges people who may be traveling in these areas during the first days of the new year to stay up-to-date on the forecast along their route.

"People with plans to travel along interstates 29, 35, 80, 90 and 94 on Monday and Tuesday should anticipate delays, reduced visibility from blowing snow and slick and snow-covered roads," LoBiondo said.

Wind is not expected to be as widespread of an issue compared to the pre-Christmas storm, but blustery conditions can lead to localized whiteouts at times.

In some areas, rain or an icy mix is preceding the snow.

"A period of sleet and freezing rain is likely across the Midwest," LoBiondo said, adding that the most likely zone for a period of ice on Tuesday is from northeastern Nebraska to southern Minnesota and western and portions of Wisconsin.

The ice is not expected to be long-lasting enough to raise concerns of widespread power outages, but enough of a glaze of ice can occur throughout this corridor to make it dangerous for motorists and pedestrians to venture onto untreated surfaces.

By the middle of the week, a few flurries may be all that's left of the storm over the North Central states, with a quieter stretch of weather expected for the remainder of the week.

The upcoming round of winter precipitation is just the latest in what has been a rather stormy start to the winter season across the northern Plains and Upper Midwest, with many cities running significantly above average in terms of snowfall.

For example, Minneapolis has received 32.6 inches of snow since Nov. 1, 2022, compared to the average during the time frame of nearly 18 inches. Rapid City and Sioux Falls, South Dakota, as well as Fargo, have also tallied snow amounts of 150-160% of normal since Nov. 1.

Although Bismarck, North Dakota, may miss most, if not all of the snow with the early week storm, they are another city that has racked up impressive snowfall totals so far this season, receiving 51. 3 inches or 288% of normal since Nov. 1.

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