Say it ain't snow: Winter storm to pound 4 million people across 1,200 miles of Midwest this weekend

Doyle Rice

A potent late-April snowstorm is forecast to dump up to 9 inches of snow across a 1,200-mile stripe of the Midwest and Great Lakes states over the weekend.

"A stripe of heavy snow is forecast this weekend from eastern South Dakota across a portion of the Upper Midwest into southern lower Michigan," the National Weather Service said. 

Winter storm watches have been posted by the National Weather Service for parts of Montana as well as southeastern Minnesota, northern Iowa and southern Wisconsin, the Weather Channel reported. More than 4 million people live where winter storm watches have been posted. 

The weather service office in La Crosse, Wisconsin, said that hourly snow rates could be in the 1 to 2 inch per hour range at times. If this occurs, a slushy snow accumulation would make travel difficult."

The biggest cities to see significant snow are in Wisconsin, including Madison (4-8 inches) and Milwaukee (2-6 inches.) 

Gusty winds and wet snow greeted visitors to Milwaukee's lakefront as they walked past the steel sculpture “The Calling” by Mark di Suvero located in O’Donnell Park on April 14, 2019.

"A few inches of accumulating snow are in store over the northern suburbs around Chicago," AccuWeather meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said. Snow is rare but not unheard of in Chicago this time of year: at least an inch of snow has been recorded there during the first few days of May in both 1907 and 1940.

In Michigan, Grand Rapids should see about 4 inches while Detroit picks up about 2 inches. Grand Rapids could see its biggest snowfall so late in the season since 1963.

Further east, "there is the possibility of wet snow or at least wet snow mixing in with the rain during Saturday night in northwestern Pennsylvania and western New York state," said AccuWeather meteorologist Brian Wimer.

Is this winter's last hurrah in the Midwest? Probably, but the meteorologists at the weather service in Chicago are wary as always: "Winter looks to make a (possibly) final appearance" this weekend.  

But in the western mountains, winter will persist: The northern Rockies could see more significant accumulations, with snow possibly persisting there through at least the middle of next week from another round of snow late Monday into Wednesday, according to the Weather Channel

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Say it ain't snow: Winter storm to pound 4 million people across 1,200 miles of Midwest this weekend