Forecasters keeping a close eye on brewing post-Christmas snowstorm

Courtney Spamer

The tranquil weather on Christmas Day is not going to last long as a developing storm system will unleash the first significant snowfall of the new winter season for areas from the southern Rockies to the central United States.

The same storm bringing rain and mountain snow to Southern California and the Southwest through Friday will move into the center of the country by the weekend.

Snow will spread from Arizona late Thursday night to western Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado by early this weekend.

"The heaviest snow is anticipated across southern Colorado and northeastern New Mexico, where over half a foot of new snow is possible," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Anderson.

In these areas, several inches of snow could pile up on the roadways and produce slippery and difficult travel conditions.

The swath of accumulating snow is likely to extend northeastward into part of the central and northern Plains as the weekend goes on.

Motorists on portions of interstates 25, 40, 70 and 80 should expect at least a 12-hour period of slower travel.

The exact track and speed of the storm will determine the timing of the heaviest precipitation Friday and Saturday.

Should the storm slow, snow accumulations could be even higher across the southern Rockies and High Plains.

After emerging from the Rockies, the storm is likely to bring periods of rain to the Northeast from Sunday into Monday.

Those in the eastern half of the country should track this storm carefully if they have travel plans for the weekend or the final days of the year.

Download the free AccuWeather app to check the forecast in your area. Keep checking back on and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.