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2-sided storm to unleash heavy snow, severe weather in central US

By Alex Sosnowski,,


A multifaceted storm will pivot through the central United States from Thursday to Friday and produce travel-disrupting heavy snow over the northern tier and dangerous severe thunderstorms over parts of the southern Plains and lower Mississippi Valley, AccuWeather meteorologists say.

"The same storm responsible for the latest atmospheric river to swamp California will push inland over the West and reorganize over the Plains on Thursday," AccuWeather Senior Broadcast Meteorologist Kristina Shalhoup said.

Storm to add to wintry landscape over north-central US

Patchy snow associated with the leading edge of moisture from the storm along the Pacific coast will develop over portions of the northern and central Rockies and adjacent High Plains into Wednesday night. As a new center of low pressure develops over Kansas Thursday, steadier snow will break out farther to the east over Nebraska, the Dakotas, northwestern Iowa and Minnesota Thursday.

"As the storm strengthens and tracks northeastward, the heaviest and steadiest snow from the storm will begin near Minneapolis during Thursday afternoon and extend into the northern parts of Wisconsin and Michigan from Thursday night to Friday," AccuWeather Meteorologist Matt Benz said. In this zone, a general 6-12 inches of snow is forecast with locally higher amounts possible around the shores of Lake Superior.

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The storm will add to the heavy amounts of snow that have already fallen in portions of the northern Plains and the Upper Midwest.

Benz, a native of the region, said that many of the hardiest residents in the area have "had enough of the snow this winter." In the wake of the storm from this past weekend, gusty winds produced snowdrifts of several feet across portions of Minnesota.

Minneapolis has already received 80.3 inches of snow this winter, which is nearly double its historical average of 43.8 inches of snow through March 13.

"This storm will push Minneapolis-St. Paul up higher on the top-10 snowiest winter list," Benz said. The winter of 2022-23 is currently the eighth-snowiest on record for the Twin Cities.

About 3-6 inches of snow is forecast for the Minnesota metro area, which could boost this winter's snowfall total into the top five. During the World War I era winter of 1916-17, which is fifth on the all-time list, 84.9 inches of snow fell. Since snow is likely to continue to fall periodically during the latter part of March and well into April this year, the winter's snowfall is likely to move higher on the list. The all-time snowiest winter was during the 1983-84 season when 98.6 inches of snow fell on the Twin Cities.

Part of the Miller Hill Mall roof in Duluth, Minnesota, collapsed under the weight of snow on Tuesday morning. Data suggests that an average of 37 inches of snow is on the ground in the region, but deeper snow is possible in some areas, including on top of some buildings, due to prior drifting.

A large portion of the north-central U.S. has deep snow on the ground ranging from 1 to 4 feet in parts of the Dakotas, Minnesota, central and northern Wisconsin and northern Michigan. The snow contains a significant amount of water locked up within it, and that could raise the risk of flooding when the spring thaw begins.

Locally severe storms to rumble across south-central US

On the storm's warmer southern side, thunderstorms will bring the potential for severe weather and localized flooding problems in the short term.

“A great deal of Gulf of Mexico moisture will be funneled northward and into this storm," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Courtney Travis said, adding that this will increase the potential for flooding downpours from some of the heavier thunderstorms, especially in areas where the ground remains wet from prior storms this winter.

The potential for localized urban and rural area flash flooding will extend from central and eastern Texas to Louisiana, eastern Kansas and Missouri with this storm Thursday, AccuWeather meteorologists say.

"Thunderstorms will erupt during the morning and midday hours, with the first severe storms likely during the midday and afternoon hours on Thursday," Travis said. "The first big thunderstorms are likely to be hail producers, but then the severe weather threat will shift to high winds. The risk of tornadoes is low with this event but not non-existent."

Even one tornado in a populated area can pose a great risk to lives and property.

Metro areas including Austin and Dallas, Texas; Oklahoma City; Little Rock, Arkansas; and Shreveport, Louisiana, will be in the severe weather threat zone from Thursday afternoon to Thursday night. There is growing concern that thunderstorms could be more widespread within the general area from Dallas to Shreveport, according to AccuWeather meteorologists.

The risk of severe weather Friday will be substantially lower compared to Thursday as storms track eastward. However, a pocket of heavy to locally severe thunderstorms may be possible in part of the Southeastern states, especially if a secondary area of low pressure develops along an advancing cold front. Colder air in the wake of the front will eliminate any threat of destructive thunderstorms over the south-central region.

The same wave of low pressure along the front could lead to a narrow band of wet snow in parts of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast later Friday afternoon and Friday night.

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