The month of March can be notorious for featuring all types of hazardous weather as cold air in place across the northern tier of the country clashes with the expanding warmth across the South. As a massive storm system treks across the country this week, all facets of impactful weather will come into play as these air masses clash together.
The storm system will slowly track through the Intermountain West through Wednesday before any impactful winter weather threatens locales east of the Rockies.
Before the arrival of the wintry side of the storm system, many cities will experience above-average warmth as the storm system pumps warm and humid air northward from the Gulf of Mexico.
Embedded within the warm and humid air, this storm system will bring along a threat for severe weather from the southern Plains into the Ohio Valley into late week. This zone is expected to remain south and east of areas facing a wintry threat.
Rapid City, South Dakota, will likely experience both spring and winterlike conditions over the course of the week as the storm system passes by. Temperatures could climb into the middle 50s on Wednesday ahead of the storm before plummeting by 40-50 degrees on Thursday night as the storm bears down.
While Rapid City may be one of the more extreme cases of weather whiplash from this storm system, many other cities across the Plains and Upper Midwest can expect the same general trend of moderating temperatures through midweek followed by crashing temperatures on the back side of the storm.
The developing system that will bring a threat for heavy snow across the Plains and Midwest will depend highly on the interaction with a separate wave of atmospheric energy swinging through south-central Canada.
The degree to which these two features phase together will help to determine the severity of the winter weather.
The southern storm system will begin to track east of the Rockies and begin its interaction with the Canadian system into the day on Thursday.
Portions of eastern Wyoming, western Nebraska, northeastern Colorado and South Dakota will likely have crashing temperatures, a stiff north wind and accumulating snowfall during the day on Thursday as the storm systems merge and intensify.
From Thursday to Thursday night, it is possible that blizzard conditions develop across these areas.
The potential blizzard will be highly dependent on the two storm systems phasing together. If the two features were to remain separate from each other, it is possible that the blizzard criteria would not be reached across the Plains and Upper Midwest.
The forecast into Friday will once again be highly dependent on the interaction of the two aforementioned features in play.
If the two features phase together completely, the storm system will end up being much more intense and will likely take a track farther north across the Upper Midwest. If the interaction occurs to a lesser degree, it is possible that the storm system takes a more easterly track, resulting in less snowfall and weaker winds.
The forecast will need to be monitored closely in the Twin Cities Thursday night into Friday, as accumulating snow, blustery wind gusts and falling temperatures are all possible.
The degree of interaction between the two storm systems will make all the difference in the forecast for places like Duluth, Minnesota, and Marquette, Michigan, as well. Thursday night into Friday also look like the most likely time frame any adverse weather from this storm system would impact these cities, but if the storm happens to take a more southerly track, the cities could be missed entirely.
One aspect of the forecast that looks more certain will be the brief cooldown in the wake of the storm system across the Midwest.
In the wake of the storm system, conditions will calm down into the weekend across the Plains and into the Midwest as an expansive area of high pressure sinks southward from Canada.