Snow and ice for many parts of US this weekend
Over 20 million Americans are under some kind of winter weather warning, watch or advisory this weekend — thanks in part to a swath of cold air pushing into much of the country.
Snowy weather already has caused major damage in the Midwest. In Fowlerville, Michigan, a 40-car pileup on Interstate 96 killed at least three people.
In Ohio’s Lake County, snowy conditions led to a pileup of more than 50 vehicles on Thursday, officials there said.
Road conditions there aren’t likely to get much better in the coming days.
At some point over the next few days, 80% of the country will see temperatures below freezing.
Stretching from parts of Montana to southern Texas and from Maine to northern Florida, the high temperatures across much of the US will range from 10 to 20 degrees below normal.
Snow and ice will blanket a good portion of the intermountain west. Much of North Dakota is under wind chill advisories, where it could feel as cold as 25 to 35 degrees below zero. Under these conditions, frostbite can form on exposed skin within 30 minutes.
Other parts of the country are expected to see plenty of snow.
“The potential for a foot of snow exists for Chicago and other parts of the Midwest this weekend as a complex storm system moves across the region from Saturday evening through the Monday morning rush hour,” CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam said. “The snow will be dry and powdery, and some blowing and drifting is likely.”
This could mean delays for people on the road or in transit.
“A significant Arctic blast of air will re-establish the cold air across the northern and central US,” Van Dam said.
What next week may look like
Another, even colder air mass is forecast to enter the Midwest and Northeast late next week.
According to meteorologist Ryan Maue, the upper-level atmosphere configuration looks very similar in scale and magnitude to the January 2014 “polar vortex” that left the country in below-average temperatures for days. Luckily, next week’s cold spell will last only a few days.
Lake-effect snow started along the southern and eastern shores of the Great Lakes on Thursday and is expected to last until early Saturday.
The heaviest snow bands could bring over a foot of accumulation in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and nearing 2 feet in parts of upstate New York.