The nation’s first major snowstorm of the season is forecast to hit sparsely populated areas of the northern United States starting Tuesday and lasting through Thursday. Forecasters said the storm will first affect parts of the Pacific Northwest and northern Rocky Mountains before moving toward the northern plains in the coming days.
The storm will affect at least a half-dozen states and could cause major travel disruptions. AccuWeather said, which added that “near blizzard conditions” are possible. He National Metereological Service He said up to 2 feet of snow could fall in some areas.
“Earlier this week we should take time to prepare by unpacking winter gear like shovels, coats, hats and gloves,” AccuWeather meteorologist Joseph Bauer advised. “It may be a good idea to run snow removal equipment, such as snow blowers, to ensure they are working properly.”
Winter storm warnings in effect
Winter Storm Warnings and Watches were in effect Tuesday for parts of the Cascades and northern Rocky Mountains as the storm approached.
Warning of “some disruptions to daily life,” the Weather Service Office in Great Falls, Montanasaid that “travel may be very difficult or impossible and tire chains may be required for some vehicles. Those in the field should ensure they have the appropriate knowledge and equipment and may wish to consider alternative plans.”
Weather.com Meteorologist Jonathan Erdman said “Roads may become snow-covered and slick later Tuesday in the Cascades and northern Rocky Mountains, and then in the northern high plains Wednesday through Thursday.”
Bauer said, “Thursday’s gusty winds may cause blizzard-like conditions in the Dakotas, with blowing snow and blowing snow, along with reduced visibility.”
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What is a snow storm?
A blizzard is characterized by heavy snowfall and strong winds, conditions that cause extremely low visibility. Specifically, the meteorological service defines a snow storm such as blizzards or falling snow with winds of at least 35 mph, reducing visibility to a quarter mile or less for at least three hours.
As of noon Tuesday, about 2.5 million people lived in places where some level of winter weather warning was in effect for the storm, the weather service said. Affected states include Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota.
An intense cold to follow the snow.
After the snowstorm moves through the area, very cold temperatures are forecast for much of the northern Rockies and northern Plains later in the week.
“After this storm, an arctic air mass will bring the coldest air of the season,” Bauer said. “Temperature readings can be expected to be 15 to 35 degrees below the historical average in Montana and Wyoming Thursday night.”
In the northern Rocky Mountains, this could result in the first subzero readings of the season. Across the Northwest and northern Plains, low temperatures in the single digits and teens will be common late in the week and into next weekend, the coldest readings since last spring, AccuWeather said.