We continue to track what could be the strongest winter storm of the season, which will track across the Plains Thursday into Friday. Last night, the models showed a northward trend in the storm system, and today they continue to keep this trend. While there is still time for this to change, and plenty of model discrepancies, it is something to at least note.
As outlined in the Weather Prediction Centers (WPC) snowfall outlook pictured below, the greatest probability of 4 or more inches would exist across northwest Iowa, northeast into the Twin Cities. Due to the warm temperatures expected across central and southeast Iowa, snowfall accumulations will greatly taper off. This is just one of the many forecast challenges with this storm. Depending on how long it takes the rain to transition over to snow Thursday night into Friday, will have a big impact on snowfall accumulations.
As for now, rain will transition to snow Friday morning, with strong winds arriving shortly after that transition. Though intensity will be diminished by then, light blowing snow will continue into Friday evening.
The greatest travel impacts will begin as early as Friday morning and will continue through the evening commute Friday across northwest Iowa into southern Minnesota. Winds will be sustained at 20 to 30-mph with gusts as high as 40-mph. Heavy snow and blowing snow will greatly reduce visibilities and make travel extremely hazardous. If these winds materialize, blizzard conditions should be expected in open areas.
Winter storm watches are already being issued for the areas that will have the greatest potential to see 6 to 12 inches of snow, with some amounts over a foot possible.
We are still over 48 hours away, so continue to check back for the latest forecast updates.