TRAVEL ALERT: Potential life threatening travel conditions expected ahead of holiday weekend

Blizzard conditions and dangerously cold temperatures will lead to potential life threating travel conditions ahead of holiday weekend.
TRAVEL ALERT: Potential life threatening travel conditions expected ahead of holiday weekend
Published: Dec. 21, 2022 at 7:53 AM CST
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The Christmas winter storm will bring in extremely hazardous travel conditions from blizzard conditions to dangerously cold temperatures and wind chills to the area ahead of the holiday weekend.

A winter storm warning and winter storm watch will be in effect for the area Wednesday morning through Saturday morning. The winter storm will move into the area through the morning hours today, starting off with light snow before intensifying to moderate to heavy snowfall at times. Temperatures will hover around 5 degrees by the afternoon hours today with winds up to 15 mph and gusts up to 20 mph possible. Snow will be heavy at times through the afternoon hours into this evening before becoming lighter again. Snow will continue into the overnight hours, but will become rather spotty after midnight and wrap up around 4 am Thursday morning. Snow totals by Thursday morning will hover between 4 and 8 inches across the area. Temperatures overnight will dip to around -12 by Thursday morning.

Despite snow wrapping up early Thursday morning, a blizzard warning will go into effect at 9 am Thursday morning and remain in effect through Saturday morning. The blizzard warning has been issued due to strong winds moving into the area. The strong wind will likely pick up snow from the ground and other surfaces (such as buildings, roofs, trees, etc.) and blow it around the area. This will lead to drastically reduced visibility at times. Visibility of a quarter mile (0.25 miles) for at least 3 hours along with 35 mph winds will be expected throughout the day. Temperatures will hover around -8 without the wind chill. With the wind chill, it will feel more like -30 or colder around the area. These wind chills are why a wind chill watch and wind chill warning will also go into effect Thursday evening and remain in effect through Saturday morning. Winds will remain strong overnight into Friday. Temperatures will dip to around -11 without the wind chill, but with the wind chill it will be around -40. Blowing snow is likely to continue overnight.

Friday will remain blustery with blizzard conditions around the area. Temperatures will hover around -4 through the afternoon hours without the wind chill. Winds will remain strong which means we are looking at wind chill values around -30 through the afternoon hours. Due to this, the wind chill watch and warning will remain in effect before expiring on Saturday morning. Winds will range up to 25 mph with gusts up to 40 mph at times. This will continue to blow snow around the area, which is why blizzard conditions will remain in the area through the day. Temperatures will drop to around -11 overnight without the wind chill. With the wind chill overnight it will feel more like -40 or colder around the area.

Saturday is when we will start to see gradual improvements around the area. Skies will be mostly sunny through the day. All watches and warnings will gradually expire through the morning and early afternoon hours on Saturday. This means we are expecting winds to slowly die down and temperatures to slowly warm back up starting Saturday. Winds will remain breezy up to 20 mph with gusts up to 30 mph possible. This means that blowing snow will still be expected in the area, but not quite blizzard like, though reduced visibility at times will remain possible. Temperatures through the afternoon hours will hover around -4 without the wind chill, but closer to -25 with the wind chill. Temperatures Saturday night will dip to around -13 without the wind chill and around -30 with the wind chill.

Sunday will start off with mostly sunny skies before becoming partly cloudy by the afternoon hours and mostly cloudy by the evening hours. Temperatures will hover between 5 and 10 degrees across the area with a light breeze up to 15 mph possible. As clouds increase through the afternoon and evening hours, another round of snow is projected to move into the area. Snow will move in through the early to mid-evening hours and continue into the overnight hours. Temperatures will dip to around -2 by Monday morning.

Next week is looking to be much quieter with gradual warming throughout the week. Skies will start off partly cloudy on Monday but become mostly cloudy by Tuesday. Temperatures will hover around 6 degrees on Monday before gradually rising to the low-30s by the end of next week. Winds will range anywhere from 10 mph to 20 mph throughout the week. Conditions will be rather dry and quiet through the week before the next snow chance moves in next Thursday and possibly next Friday heading into the weekend.