Powerhouse storm to supply bitter cold, heavy snow from Rockies to Great Lakes beginning this weekend
A powerful storm set to track across the center of the United States this weekend will unleash bitterly cold air and heavy snow over the northern tier of the country.
The storm system may also produce a severe weather outbreak across the South this weekend as well.
Cold air will first spill southward from Canada across the interior Northwest during the day on Saturday, allowing for a chilly rain to quickly transition to snow.
During the daytime, snow will largely target Montana, with accumulating snow expected in Great Falls, Billings and Bozeman.
Falling temperatures and snowflakes will continue to expand south and eastward into the Front Range and High Plains from Saturday night and into Easter Sunday morning.
It will be a shock to the system in the Denver metro area as beautiful conditions with temperatures topping out near 70 degrees Fahrenheit are expected during the day Saturday. But, as cold air surges southward, temperatures are forecast to read in the lower 30s on Easter Sunday.
Along with the much colder air, 1 inch to 3 inches of snow will be possible during the day.
Similar conditions are expected along much of the Colorado and Wyoming Front Range and the High Plains on Sunday.
The combination of snow and wind will result in poor driving conditions along portions of interstates 25, 80 and 90 for anyone that needs to venture out on Easter Sunday.
Travel in and around Rapid City, S.D., and the nearby Black Hills area could be extremely difficult late on Saturday night and Sunday as more than a half of a foot of snow blankets the area. Across the higher terrain and northeast-facing slopes, snow may fall in excess of a foot.
Through the Easter holiday, accumulating snow will continue to expand eastward into the Midwest.
While the morning hours may remain snow-free in Minneapolis and Rochester, Minnesota, wintry weather is forecast to move in during the latter half of the day.
A sharp gradient in snowfall totals is predicted across southeastern Minnesota as the storm system passes by.
The current forecast calls for 3 inches to 6 inches of snow in Minneapolis, with lower totals that would likely target the northern side of town.
If the storm were to unexpectedly shift southward by a matter of only 50 miles, the city of Minneapolis would likely fall short of 3 inches of snow.
As the storm system continues to intensify into Sunday night, heavy snow and localized blizzard conditions are possible across portions of the Midwest.
Exactly how much snow falls on the central Plains and Upper Midwest may be dependent on how extensive the heavy rain and severe weather is across the Southern states this weekend.
A large outbreak of severe weather could limit the amount of moisture that is available on the northern side of the storm system, and subsequently lead to lower snowfall totals.
With that forecast factor in mind, an impressive April snowstorm is still predicted to target the Upper Midwest.
Widespread double-digit snowfall totals are forecast across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan from Sunday night into Monday. Similar to the conditions expected across the Plains and Front Range, a powerful northerly wind is likely.
Marquette, Mich., may end up with some of the highest snowfall totals from this storm system, with 12 inches to 18 inches predicted.
Accumulating snow will continue to target the Upper Peninsula during the day on Monday, with snowfall rates likely to be enhanced courtesy of Lake Superior.
Conditions will begin to calm down across the Plains and much of the Midwest on Monday as the storm system lifts into Canada.
In its wake, well below-average temperatures are forecast to encompass the center of the nation early next week.