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Winter ends with an all-out snowstorm for parts of north-central U.S., up to 51 cm (20 inches) of snow likely

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Just as the winter season in the U.S. officially ends and spring begins, an all-out snowstorm is set to deliver a final blow to parts of the north-central region– particularly the central Rockies, northern Plains, and Upper Midwest. The blizzard-like conditions are expected to make travel difficult, if not, impossible, in some areas. Up to 51 cm (20 inches) of snow is also predicted.

Strong winds and heavy snowfall will cause a blizzard to unfold over parts of Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Colorado, said AccuWeather meteorologists. 

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued blizzard warnings for western Nebraska and southeastern Wyoming, as "a developing low-pressure system to the south and strong Canadian high pressure to the north generating strong northeasterly winds."

NWS also noted that this should lead to drifting snow and whiteout conditions in these areas. As a result, traffic may be brought to a standstill.

The areas that are expected to be hit by the blizzard include Cheyenne, Wyoming; Scottsbluff and Valentine, Nebraska; Boulder, Colorado; and Rapid City and Pierre, South Dakota.

Moderate to heavy snow will fall farther west, over the mountains in Wyoming and Colorado, but could also extend northeastward to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

According to AccuWeather meteorologist Brandon Buckingham, 8 to 15 cm (3 to 6 inches) of snow is forecast to fall over parts of the central Rockies, central and northern Plains, and the upper Great Lakes region.

15 to 30 cm (6 to 12 inches) of snow is likely for parts of Colorado, Wyoming, and western Nebraska, as well as a portion of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Buckingham also noted that up to 51 cm (20 inches) of snow is possible from southeastern Wyoming to northeastern Colorado and the Nebraska Panhandle.

The snowstorm will start as rain in parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, northwestern Iowa, southeastern South Dakota, and northeastern Nebraska. However, as cooler air arrives, snowflakes will also begin to accumulate on green areas and then road surfaces, as temperatures are forecast to get colder by Thursday night.

After the storm, temperatures are expected to get even more piercing cold, with AccuWeather forecasting it to hit below freezing in much of the areas that receive snow, as well as areas farther north– over the Rockies and northern Plains. Furthermore, wet and slushy surfaces may also become icy.

Featured image credit: NWS

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