Powerful storm systems are forecast to bring heavy rains and snow to the Pacific Northwest and parts of northeastern South Dakota and Western Minnesota beginning Thursday night. Photo courtesy NOAA
Nov. 11 (UPI) -- A pair of powerful storm systems, including a rare November blizzard, are forecast to hit the northern United States beginning Thursday night.
Blizzard warnings were in place for parts of northeastern South Dakota and Western Minnesota through Friday evening.
Several inches of snow and wind gusts up to 55 mph could create whiteout conditions and difficult travel in the area, as an intensifying, windy storm, sometimes known as a "November witch" strikes the region.
The warning marks the first time since 2015 South Dakota has been placed under a blizzard warning in November.
Snow and windy conditions are expected to stretch over much of Minnesota, the eastern Dakotas and northern Iowa on Thursday with the most severe conditions stretching into Friday morning.
Gusts of up to 70 mph are possible in parts of western South Dakota, although snowfall is not expected.
Snowfall of 2 inches to 4 inches and wind gusts of 40 mph are likely for much of the region, while northern Minnesota could see up to 8 inches of snow.
In the Pacific Northwest, a system known as an atmospheric river, which draws tropical Pacific moisture from as far away as Hawaii, has led to flood watches for western Washington and northwest Oregon as well as Seattle and Portland through Friday.
Seattle could experience 1 inch to 2 inches of rain through Saturday night, while the Olympic and the Cascades are forecast to get 4 inches to 8 inches at their peaks.
The area already experienced 2 inches to 4 inches of rainfall earlier this week with several rivers in Washington expected to rise to major to moderate flood stage through Friday.