A major storm will impact much of the Western U.S. through Christmas Day with heavy rainfall, mountain snow, and strong winds. This system will advance into the Plains by Wednesday, December 26 where winter storm watches are in effect. Travel will likely become hazardous late Wednesday into Friday, December 29 across portions of the Plains and Midwest. Farther south, heavy rainfall and severe thunderstorms are possible.
A developing upper-level low over California will move eastward to the Southern Rockies/Southern High Plains by Wednesday evening, NWS forecaster Ziegenfelder noted.
The storm will produce rain and higher elevation snow over Northern/Central California and snow over parts of the Great Basin/Northern Intermountain Region. The rain will end over Northern/Central California by afternoon on Christmas.
Rain will also move into Southern California by Christmas afternoon, too. Overnight Christmas, snow will expand into parts of the Northern/Central Rockies, while rain and higher elevation snow develops over parts of the Southwest.
Post-Christmas winter storm to bring heavy snow from the Central Plains through the Great Lakes
As the storm moves eastward, moisture from the Western Gulf of Mexico will flow northward over the Southern Plains into the Central Plains and the Middle/Lower Mississippi Valley.
The moisture will aid in producing showers and thunderstorms over parts of the Southern Plains by evening on Christmas, expanding into parts of the Central Plains by Wednesday morning.
The showers and thunderstorms will continue over parts of the Central/Southern Plains into Wednesday evening.
By Wednesday morning, snow will develop over parts of the Northern/Central Rockies expanding into parts of the Upper Mississippi Valley by Wednesday evening.
Also on Wednesday, rain will develop over parts of the Central Plains and the Lower/Middle Mississippi Valley expanding into parts of the Western Ohio Valley by Wednesday evening.
"Increasing winds with the storm are likely to cause extensive blowing and drifting snow and perhaps blizzard conditions on Wednesday and Thursday," according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Isaac Longley. Cities and major airport hubs that may receive accumulating snow from the storm include Denver and Minneapolis.
A swath of wintry mix, including ice, is likely to develop in between the plain rain and snow areas of the Central states. As with the case of the heaviest snow, the area of wintry mix will depend on the storm's track.
While it is too early to say for sure if the storm will trigger violent, severe thunderstorms and tornadoes, storms of this magnitude and characteristic often do just that, said AccuWeather's senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.
This winter storm has been named Eboni by The Weather Channel.
Furthermore, a front will move onshore over the Pacific Northwest on Wednesday moving inland by Wednesday evening.
The system will produce rain and higher elevation snow over parts of the Pacific Northwest by Wednesday afternoon that will expand into parts of the Northern Intermountain Region by Wednesday evening.
Featured image: GFS Total Snowfall model run December 25 - through December 31, 2018. Credit: GFS/TropicalTidbits