Winter storm gathers momentum: Who's due for pre-Thanksgiving snow?

Parts of the Upper Midwest may face up to eight inches of snow and visibility of less than a mile.

Weather Underground/AP
This NOAA satellite image taken Friday at 12:45 a.m. Eastern time shows a trough of low pressure swinging eastward across the Great Lakes with snow showers across Wisconsin and Michigan. An area of low pressure over the Hudson Bay is moving eastward with it's associated cold front. This boundary produces rain showers across eastern New England. Similar conditions will accompany this front as it moves into the Atlantic from the coastal Carolinas into central Florida. A broad area of high pressure over the Ohio and Tennessee valleys brings mostly sunny skies.

Parts of the midwest can expect heavy snowfall and perilous driving conditions this weekend when the season’s first widespread snowstorm blankets the region.

Residents of Chicago, Des Moines, Iowa, and Saginaw, Mich., can all expect enough snow to require shoveling and plowing, according to AccuWeather forecasts. The Weather Channel has added Wisconsin's Milwaukee, Madison, Quad Cities, and Rockford to that list. Chicago-O’Hare airport may face delays on Saturday and maybe late Friday evening, in addition to smaller regional airports.

The Weather Channel predicts the Upper Midwest may face six inches of snow in 12 hours or 8 inches of snow in 24 hours.

"In the Midwest, the most likely area for several inches of snow to fall is from central Iowa to northern Illinois, southern Wisconsin and into part of central Lower Michigan," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brian Wimer. "For portions of Wisconsin, northern Illinois and central Michigan, it will seem like a storm in the middle of the winter, rather than a storm during the middle of November.”

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for southeast South Dakota, where as much as eight inches of snow is expected by Friday night. Forecasters predict wind gusts up to 20 mph will blast snow into a white fog, causing reduced visibility of less than a mile in some areas. After the snow, freezing temperatures in the mid-20s will choke the region.

Weekend snowfall will likely affect residents throughout the state of Michigan, but drivers in the Upper Peninsula especially should be aware of potentially dangerous road conditions, forecasters say.

Snowy, cold weather hit northern Michigan on Thursday, causing hazardous driving conditions on US highway 41 and elsewhere, according to state police. At least two dozen car crashes occurred, including nine alone in Ely Township.

Wind gusts up to 45 mph and three inches of snow may diminish visibility on Friday.

Winter storm watches are in effect for the Lower Peninsula from Friday evening to Sunday – five to eight inches of snow is forecasted for the western side of the state.

Saturday may be the heaviest snow day, and the Detroit area is expected to receive several inches of snow.

This report contains material from the Associated Press.

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