Motorists along the Interstate 64 and 70 corridors of the Plains and Midwest can expect a slow and dangerous journey as a snowstorm unfolds through Saturday.
For many areas, this will be a long-duration winter storm event that lasts more than 12 hours and perhaps as long as 48 hours in some cases. Over the central states alone, snow will fall on more than a 1,000-mile-long west-to-east swath.
Airline passengers in the central U.S. hubs from Denver to St. Louis, Cincinnati and Chicago can expect direct impacts due to snow with flight delays, changes and cancellations. Indirect impacts on flights can occur in Detroit, Minneapolis and Dallas and other smaller regional airports as crews and aircraft are displaced.
Heavy snow arrived in St. Louis early Friday afternoon, causing significant travel disruptions for the Friday evening commute. Some motorists were stuck on I-44 for hours due to widespread accidents and snow-covered highways.
In many areas from Missouri to southern Ohio, northern Kentucky and western West Virginia, this will be the biggest snowfall in what has been a lean cold weather season so far for some locations.
Snow and a wintry mix are forecast to spread through the Ohio Valley during the first part of the weekend.
The snow will continue through much of the day Saturday over the central Plains and may continue into Saturday night over a portion of the middle Mississippi Valley and into Sunday over part of the Ohio Valley.
Enough snow to shovel and plow is forecast from central Kansas to much of Missouri, northern Arkansas, central and southern Illinois, much of Indiana, central and northern Kentucky, central and southern Ohio and much of West Virginia.
A general 3-6 inches of snow is likely in this swath. However, a patch of heavier snow is in store from central Missouri to south-central Illinois, where 6-12 inches are forecast. Within this heaviest snow area, an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 16 inches is projected.
Download the free AccuWeather app to see the start and end time of the storm as well as how much snow is predicted for your area.
“In much of swath from Missouri to southern Ohio, this snow will be heavy and wet and a strain to shovel,” according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Bill Deger.
“Weak tree limbs may give way under the weight of the snow and lead to sporadic power outages,” Deger added.
“For cities such as Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Louisville, Kentucky and others, this will be the first significant snowstorm of the cold weather season,” according to AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams.
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“Extra caution is advised when traveling as some motorists may be rusty with their winter driving skills,” Abrams said.
In St. Louis, this will be the biggest snowstorm since Jan. 5, 2014, when 10.8 inches of snow fell.
There is a chance this storm enters the list of top five snowstorms on record for the Gateway to the West.
Shoveling and plowing operations are likely to be needed in preparation for the NFL playoff game in Kansas City on Saturday afternoon. Snow may continue to fall during part of the game.
Areas as far north as Omaha, Nebraska, and Des Moines, Iowa, will receive accumulating snow from the storm.
While metro Detroit is likely to be north of the snow area, Chicago and Cleveland will be on the northern edge of the storm. Moisture from Lake Michigan may produce a little boost in the snow around Chicago.
During Saturday night, the steadiest snow will retreat eastward to the Ohio Valley.
However, some snow may linger into Sunday over eastern portions of the Ohio Valley as the bulk of the storm affects parts of the southern Appalachians and the mid-Atlantic coast.
Along the southern edge of the snow, ice or a wintry mix is in store from parts of southern Kansas to northern Arkansas, southern Kentucky and northern Tennessee. In a few pockets within this icy zone, there may be enough to weigh down trees and power lines, but the main concern will be for slippery roads and sidewalks.
Farther south along the I-20 and I-10 corridors, a period of rain with perhaps a locally heavy thunderstorm is in store as the storm progresses eastward this weekend.
https://player.megaphone.fm/ACC1706012425?How can you stay healthy this winter season? Tune in to find out! Join host Regina Miller and her guest Dr. Anthony Ng, senior physician executive at Northern Light Acadia Hospital and Chief of Psychiatry at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center, as they discuss Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) as a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons. Also, Staff Education Coordinator for Centre LifeLink EMS Frank Cianfrani discusses cardiac and respiratory care as it relates to winter activities and provides suggestions on how to stay safe this winter.