Severe weather, including heavy snow, wind and rain, are forecast in the central part of the country throughout the weekend, possibly causing blizzard-like conditions at some higher elevations, AccuWeather reported Thursday.
According to the organization, "a whopper of a storm" is expected to form in the central United States as cold air collides with warmer air, generating winds up to 90 mph, severe storms with heavy rain and snow, as well as the possibility of hail and tornadoes.
"The thunderstorm threat includes the full spectrum of severe weather ranging from localized flash flooding and large hail to the likelihood of powerful wind gusts and the potential for a few tornadoes," AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Jonathan Porter said in the report.
After experiencing cooler temperatures earlier in the week, a "strong warming trend" will develop ahead of a much colder, Canadian air mass dropping south, causing the storms along the line of where the air masses meet.
According to the report, there will be enough moisture in the air behind the front to bring potentially blizzard-like conditions to higher elevations, while heavy wind and rain move through the lower areas in the central and southern plains by Sunday night.
"The warmup will be accompanied by gusty south-to-southwest winds that will raise the risk of wildfire ignition and rapid spread," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson said in the report. "The winds can also kick up dust from the deserts and blow it hundreds of miles to the Great Plains."
In addition to the rain and snow, the intense winds could also pose a threat to life and property due to downed power lines, and possibly flipping over trucks and other property damage, according to the report.
"In the zone from northeastern New Mexico and northwestern Texas to southeastern Colorado, frequent gusts will range from 60-80 mph with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 90 mph," Anderson said in the report.
AccuWeather said the storm could impact travel on major interstate routes like 70, 80, 90, and 94, causing road closures and travel delays.
The storm will not likely impact the Mississippi Valley and Eastern states as it lifts into Canada, leaving just the Midwest dealing with some brief thunderstorms on Monday, the report said.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is calling for warmer than average temperatures from the Southwest, Gulf Coast, and along the Eastern Seaboard this winter, while wetter-than-average conditions are expected in sections of the Ohio Valley, Great Lakes, northern Rockies and the Pacific Northwest.
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