Weather & Natural Disasters

Powerhouse storm could unleash heavy snow, tornadoes and wild temperature swings

Doyle Rice
Source: NOAA

A powerhouse storm is forecast to bring a variety of wild weather to much of the USA from Friday through the weekend.

On the colder side of the storm, heavy snow is likely to cause blizzard conditions in the northern Plains and Upper Midwest. Some spots could get up to 20 inches of snow. Winds gusting as high as 50 mph could cause whiteout conditions from the blowing snow, the National Weather Service in Rapid City, S.D., warned.

The heaviest snow is forecast across northern Nebraska, much of South Dakota and western Minnesota. Flights in and out of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport will probably be delayed or cancelled Saturday.

@weatherchannel tweet

"The strong wind aspect of the storm, in lieu of snow, can lead to power outages and property damage over a broad area of the Plains," according to AccuWeather meteorologist Rich Putnam.

Freezing rain could lead to an ice storm around the northern Great Lakes, along with northern New York state and northern New England.

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The Weather Channel named the system Winter Storm Xanto.

To the south, an outbreak of severe thunderstorms is forecast for portions of the central and southern Plains to the Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee Valleys. "The storms may bring the full spectrum of severe weather ranging from high winds, large hail, flash flooding, frequent lightning strikes and perhaps a tornado," AccuWeather warned.

@breakingweather tweet

The same storm system is likely to produce heavy rainfall from eastern Texas to western Kentucky, packing the potential for 1 to 3 inches of rain through early Saturday, the weather service said. Flash flooding is possible in portions of Arkansas and Louisiana.

In the Southwest, hot, dry winds will bring extreme wildfire danger. Fire conditions are likely across portions of far southern New Mexico, much of West Texas and through southwestern and central Oklahoma, the Storm Prediction Center said.

@NWSSPC tweet

Summer-like warmth will spread up the East Coast on Friday and Saturday, all the way to New England, where record high temperatures are possible. Philadelphia is forecast to see its first 80-degree days of the year Friday and Saturday.

A potent cold front late Sunday and early Monday is likely to bring heavy rain and send temperatures crashing back down to March-like averages early next week.

The Boston Marathon, scheduled for Monday, could be run in heavy rain and chilly temperatures in the 50s.