A massive snowstorm will batter the US Plains and Midwest today and into Thursday. The dangerous conditions threatens more flooding in areas such as South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and farms along the Missouri River. Depending on location, it will generate blinding snow, heavy rain and storms, powerful winds, or a combination. The storm has already taking shape and flooding risks will rise as the snow from the storm melts later in the week.
According to the National Weather Service (NWS), high spring temperatures will give way to heavy snow, gale-force winds and life-threatening conditions across a swath of the central areas of the nation running from the Rockies to the Great Lakes.
Patrick Burke, a meteorologist with the NWS’s Weather Prediction Center in Maryland said: ”This is potentially a life-threatening storm.”
He added the storm is expected to bring blinding, heavy wet snow across the region, likely downing trees and causing widespread power outages, widespread road closures and making driving treacherous.
Mr Burke said: ”It’s slow moving. It won’t push farther east until Friday.”
According to NWS, the storm has already sparked flood evacuations in Oregon and caused flooding in Washington state.
Some areas of western Minnesota and southeast South Dakota were expected to get up to 30 inches of wet, heavy snow.
The same central area was hit by a “bomb cyclone” less than a month ago that brought deadly flooding and blizzards.
The sudden change in temperatures, from a high in some cities on Tuesday to freezing conditions on Wednesday, is expected to supercharge the storm with cold air.
The coming storm is expected to exacerbate flooding along the Missouri River in areas where dozens of levees were breached in March, exposing communities to future surges.
The river is not expected to crest in areas of Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri until between three to five days after the storm.
The storm is expected to weaken and push off into the Great Lakes area and northern Michigan on Friday, bringing more rain and snow, NWS said.
But even after the storm pass, the NWS warns the danger will not be over.
The weather service said: “Behind the storm and an associated dryline, conditions will be favorable for fire weather throughout the Southwest and Southern/Central Plains, as high sustained winds and even higher gusts combine with very dry humidities.
“An Extreme Risk of fire danger is in place in the Storm Prediction Center’s Fire Weather Outlook for the Southern High Plains.
“Red Flag Warnings are widespread throughout these areas.
“More broadly, high winds are a threat from California through the Southwest, Intermountain
West, Rockies and Plains for the next couple of days.