The rather abrupt flip in the weather pattern across the northern Plains and Midwest may have some people taking a look at the calendar to double-check and make sure this is actually still October, because in some areas, it looks a lot more like December with all of the snowy weather. Just one day after unseasonably early heavy snow buried central Iowa and snarled traffic in and around Des Moines, another major Midwestern city will be in the crosshairs of a winterlike storm.
The extended stretch of cold weather across the northern Plains and Midwest is coming courtesy of a persistent dip in the jet stream over the region, allowing for chilly Canadian air to infiltrate south of the border. For some locales, the winterlike weather will hang around through a majority of the week.
Many cities from Montana to Michigan that already experienced their first bouts of wintry weather can expect more of the same into the end of the week as atmospheric disturbances hitch a ride along the fast-moving jet stream winds in place.
In the wake of snowy conditions across the northern Plains and Midwest Saturday and Saturday night, the Midwest received a brief reprieve from snowy conditions to end the weekend. However, that came to an abrupt end as snow returned to the region by Monday morning as wet snowflakes reached as far south and east as Des Moines, Iowa.
Into Tuesday evening, a wider swath of the Midwest will once again be at risk for accumulating snowfall, including Minneapolis.
A Nebraska DOT webcam captured this snowy image Monday morning in Tekamah, Nebraska, about 40 miles north of Omaha.
The Tuesday morning commute was hazardous along the Interstate-29 corridor in the eastern part of the Dakotas.
Progressing through the daytime hours, these hazards shift eastward as the storm system tracks into the Midwest.
With chilly air in place prior to the beginning of the event on Tuesday across the Upper Midwest, it is quite possible that an uptick in traffic hazards and accidents occur as residents and travelers adjust to driving in wintry conditions. Slick, and snow-covered roads will be possible across portions of interstate 94 and many other surrounding roadways across the Upper Midwest as the storm treks through into the evening.
It's even possible that some of these hazards have extended southward to the Interstate-90 corridor along the Minnesota/Iowa border.
Forecasters say a swath of 1-3 inches of snowfall is likely from portions of the Dakotas to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, with a corridor of 3-6 inches across south-central Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin. Six to as much as an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 12 inches are possible centered over downtown Minneapolis.
The Twin Cities have already observed their first flakes of the year, however, they have yet to have their first inch-or-greater snowfall event of the season. While this does not typically occur until mid-November, confidence is high that this will occur with the storm.
"Weather conditions will deteriorate rapidly and road conditions will be a mess in Minneapolis during the afternoon hours on Tuesday with snowfall rates of 1-2 inches per hour likely," according to AccuWeather Senior Storm Warning Meteorologist Brian Wimer.
A snowfall of 1 inch or greater prior to Oct. 21 has happened only 10 times since the late-1800s in Minneapolis. Should the airport pick up more than 3 inches on Tuesday, it would shatter the daily record from 1916.
This early season storm system can yield a unique set of hazards across the region. While many locales across the Upper Midwest are now past peak in terms of fall foliage, there are still a good deal of trees holding onto their leaves.
The wintry weather will likely produce large, wet snowflakes which could act to weigh down tree branches, potentially snapping any weaker limbs. If this were to occur, localized power outages could become a concern.
The storm won't hang around long across the Midwest, as a majority of the snowfall will clear out of the region later Tuesday night. Unfortunately for those who do not want wintry weather to stick around, yet another, potentially more impactful storm system may be coming down the pipeline into the latter half of the week across some of the same areas.
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