United States

Major Winter Storm Brings Blizzard Conditions, Expected To Cause Travel Delays Across US Plains And Upper Midwest During Busy Holidays

Severe winter storm blankets the Plains and Midwest with heavy snow, freezing rain, and blizzard conditions, causing travel chaos during the holiday week. Residents urged to exercise caution and prepare for hazardous conditions.

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A significant winter storm, which is intensifying and causing heavy snowfall, freezing rain, and strong winds, is moving through the Plains and upper Midwest. This is resulting in hazardous travel conditions, particularly during the busy holiday week.

According to the National Weather Service, blizzards featuring wind gusts of up to 75 mph on Tuesday have the potential to knock down trees and power lines, creating whiteout conditions that can render travel extremely challenging, if not nearly impossible.

“Widespread travel disruptions are likely across the region,” the weather service warned, emphasizing that the storm will persist and affect a broad area of the north-central United States until Tuesday.

Blizzard Conditions Expected To Cause Travel Delays Across US Plains And Upper Midwest Courtesy: NOAA

On Tuesday, blizzard warnings are in effect for portions of Nebraska, South Dakota, Kansas, Colorado, and Wyoming.

Residents were advised to refrain from traveling, but if it's absolutely necessary, they should have survival kits with them and be prepared to remain in their vehicles in case they become stranded.

The storm began affecting various areas of the region on Monday, leading to a significant deterioration in driving conditions throughout the state, as reported by the Nebraska State Department of Transportation on that day.

The Nebraska State Patrol reported on Monday that cars were colliding and sliding off roads in the state. Additionally, tractor-trailers jackknifed and became stuck on the eastbound lanes of Interstate 80 near York during the morning and early afternoon.

The heaviest snowfall occurred on Monday along the border of the Dakotas, extending northward across sections of I-94. Although the snowfall was starting to diminish along I-90 on Monday afternoon, visibility was decreasing due to blowing snow continuing to drift over the roadway.

In Watertown, South Dakota, the South Dakota Highway Patrol attended to numerous accidents as roadways became covered with ice and snow.

“Please slow down, don’t use your cruise control, and always wear your seatbelt. Snow plows are out, please give them room to work,” the South Dakota Highway Patrol urged residents.

The weather service indicated on Monday afternoon that certain areas could experience snowfall at a rate of 1-2 inches per hour. By the conclusion of the storm, it is anticipated that more than 12 inches of snow will have accumulated from south-central South Dakota into northern Nebraska, as reported by the weather service.

Forecasters have warned that in certain areas of the northern Plains, a combination of sleet and freezing rain has the potential to cause isolated power outages and create extremely hazardous conditions on roads and sidewalks due to ice accumulation.

The storm is expected to gradually lose intensity by Tuesday night. However, the weather service has stated that a “wintry mix is likely to persist into Wednesday” across sections of the northern Plains and upper Midwest.

Blizzard Meaning

Blizzards occur when blowing snow and sustained strong winds converge for a minimum of three hours, reducing visibility to a quarter-mile or less.