A severe storm system is turning Black Friday into a wintry white weekend with blizzards and snow expected along much of a 2,000-mile stretch from Nevada to the Upper Midwest and into New England next week.
Farther south, severe thunderstorms are possible from the southern Plains to Lower Mississippi River Valley through Saturday.
The National Weather Service forecast a large swath of snow totals topping 8 inches for the Northern Rockies eastward into the Northern Plains and for Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, according to the National Weather Service. It said localized snow totals above 18 inches can be expected.
Minneapolis, which was hit by almost 10 inches of snow just before Thanksgiving, was bracing for another onslaught Friday, with 4 to 9 inches expected through Sunday.
“Our break from winter weather will be brief with another large storm system impacting the region Friday through the weekend,” says the Twin Cities National Weather Service.
Harsh travel conditions are in store for long stretches of Interstates 90 and 94, with the Dakotas, eastern Wyoming and eastern Montana facing especially bleak conditions.
“Blizzard conditions can occur in part of this swath. The visibility could be so low at times it may be difficult to determine where the road surface actually is,” says AccuWeather, which forecasts 36 inches of snow for the Black Hills of South Dakota.
AccuWeather said travel should be avoided in these areas until the storm leaves and crews have had a chance to clear roads of deep snow by Sunday or Monday.
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As the storm moves east, it is likely to produce snow, sleet, and freezing rain by Saturday night in portions of the Northeast, including northern Virginia and Pennsylvania.
To the South, the same low-pressure system triggering harsh conditions along the northern tier is likely to produce several inches of snow in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Flagstaff, Arizona, was hit by heavy snow early Friday, with the local NWS office reporting almost 4 inches falling for one hour as the storm moved in.
Thunderstorms ahead of the cold front are expected along a southern path from Arizona to East Texas and into Tennessee.
The Intermountain West — which stretches from Nevada to western New Mexico — is expected to dry out by Saturday, but another low-pressure system approaching from the Pacific will spread more snow and rain over the West Coast late Saturday into Sunday.