Pedestrians and shoppers walk in Herald Square on Black Friday in New York City on Friday. More than 125 million people from the Midwest to the Northeast could face disruptive wind gusts from a powerful storm system. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
The same storm poised to trigger severe weather to parts of the southern United States from Tuesday to Wednesday will bring a blast of high winds as colder air sweeps from the Midwest to the Northeast, AccuWeather meteorologists warn. The wind event could not only trigger power outages, but could lead to substantial travel delays as the associated colder air may lead to snow and a freeze-up in some locations.
More than 125 million people from the Midwest to the Northeast could face disruptive wind gusts from the powerful storm system.
The storm will strengthen rapidly as it swings from the Colorado Rockies on Monday night to Lake Superior Tuesday night. The plummeting barometric pressure and circulation generated by the storm will be enough to cause winds to become quite strong and gusty, both ahead of a trailing cold front and in its wake.
Southerly winds will kick up ahead of the push of colder air on Tuesday over the Mississippi Valley and along the mid-Atlantic and New England coasts Tuesday night to Wednesday. Winds can be strong enough to lead to a period of minor coastal flooding at times of high tide in the Northeast. The strong southerly winds will help fuel severe thunderstorms from the South Central states on Tuesday to the Southeast region on Wednesday.
The strongest wind gusts outside of thunderstorm activity will occur near the proximity of the cold front and its wake.
Gusts frequenting between 40 and 60 mph are likely to spread rapidly eastward on Wednesday and Wednesday night from Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri to New England, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. At this force, tree limbs can break, weak trees can be blown over, and loose objects such as trash cans and recycling bins can become projectiles. Sporadic to regional power outages are likely.
Travel problems may mount, with the risk of truck and trailer vehicle rollovers are possible. Low-level aircraft turbulence and flight delays are also possible. As the wind pushes water around on the Great Lakes, lakeshore flooding is possible on Lakes Michigan, Erie and Ontario.
The most powerful wind gusts are likely in Chicago, St. Louis and Pittsburgh from Tuesday night to Wednesday afternoon. Farther to the east, along the Interstate-95 corridor from Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia, New York City and Boston, the strongest gusts are likely from Wednesday afternoon to Wednesday night.
"As this storm tracks from the western U.S. to the Midwest, a surge of bitter air from Canada will work its way in and make many areas feel more like the dead of winter rather than late November," AccuWeather Meteorologist Mary Gilbert said.
As the Canadian air sweeps in behind the cold front, temperatures will plummet 20-40 degrees Fahrenheit from Tuesday to Wednesday in the Heartland and from Wednesday to Thursday in the Northeast.
"By Tuesday, places like Rapid City, South Dakota, will struggle to reach high temperatures in the teens. Normal high temperatures are in the lower 40s for Rapid City for the end of November," Gilbert said.
On the storm's cold side, "a significant, but rather slender, stripe of snow is set to spread from the Rockies into the Midwest from late Monday night through Tuesday night," AccuWeather Meteorologist Mary Gilbert said. "The highest accumulations are anticipated to occur in the Colorado Rockies, with an AccuWeather Local StormMax of 20 inches."
The Denver metro area can expect from 1-6 inches of snow, with the greatest amounts toward the foothills to the west and over the Palmer Divide to the south from late Monday night to Tuesday evening. As temperatures plummet from the 50s on Monday afternoon to the 20s by Tuesday morning and into the single digits Tuesday night, wet and slushy areas will freeze and create icy conditions on area roads and sidewalks. The snow may be difficult to remove.
"By Wednesday, low temperatures may plummet within 10-15 degrees of record-level temperatures across the Rockies," Gilbert said. "Denver is forecast to get down to around 5 degrees early Wednesday morning. Denver's record low for Nov. 30 is 10 degrees below zero."
The stripe of snow will extend some 800 miles to the northeast across parts of the northern and central Plains to the upper Great Lakes region from Tuesday to early Wednesday.
"Travel on portions of Interstate 90 from South Dakota to Minnesota could become tricky at times as snow accumulates and temperatures plummet," Gilbert said. Motorists should use caution and follow any restrictions set forth by local officials.
"A heavy amount of snow is possible, similar to that of the Colorado Rockies, across parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula where 6-12 inches could accumulate," Gilbert said.
The exact track of the storm will determine where the heaviest band of snow sets up from the central Plains to the Upper Midwest.
Similar conditions to that of Denver are possible in areas where a small amount of snow falls or severe inches, such as around Minneapolis; Sioux Falls, S.D.; and Eau Claire, Wis. At this time, no snow is forecast to fall on Chicago or Detroit from the storm, but any areas of standing water from rain earlier could freeze solid.
No snow is forecast to fall on the I-95 zone of the Northeast. But, a period of lake-effect snow is likely to ramp up as colder air blasts across the Great Lakes from northern Michigan to the central and northern Appalachians in the wake of the storm.
There is also the possibility for a brief period of accumulating snow and slippery travel with a rapid freeze-up over the interior Northeast prior to lake-effect snow over portions of the interstate 80, 81, 87, 90 and 99 corridors on Wednesday night.