A multi-day winter storm system that produced blizzard conditions in the Upper Midwest and significant icing through the Great Lakes is expected to slowly wind down Thursday but not before interrupting road travel and aviation traffic across the northern tier of the country.
Several communities, including Minneapolis, declared snow emergencies on Wednesday ahead of heavy snow.
Large portions of Interstate 94 from the Plains into Wisconsin were closed due to poor visibilities and crashes.
The combination of wintry precipitation and windy conditions caused more than half a million customers in the region to lose power.
Snow is ongoing in the Plains, Upper Midwest, Great Lakes and interior Northeast. High winds are overlapping with the snow in parts of the northern Plains, creating whiteout conditions in some locations.
Freezing rain and sleet are also ongoing from Iowa, through Michigan, and into portions of the interior Northeast.
Winter weather alerts
Elsewhere, a variety of Winter Storm Warnings and Winter Weather Advisories stretch from the West to the Upper Midwest, Great Lakes and Northeast.
The WSSI is a tool meant to aid in decision-making when snow, ice, wind and freezing temperatures could be disruptive.
Over the next couple of days, "extreme" impacts – the highest category in the WSSI – from this cross-country winter storm are expected across portions of Minnesota.
"Moderate" to "major" impacts can be expected elsewhere across the northern Plains and Upper Midwest.
A mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain will linger across portions of upstate New York and New England before tapering off by early Friday. Back to the west, snow will come to an end Thursday afternoon across the Upper Midwest and western Great Lakes.
How much snow is expected?
Northern Plains, Upper Midwest
According to the FOX Forecast Center, there is high confidence that a foot or more of snow could fall across portions of the northern Plains and Upper Midwest, including the possibility of blizzard conditions.
Communities in the Minneapolis metro could see a foot or more of snow from this winter storm.
In the Northeast, 5-plus inches of snow is expected across northern portions of upstate New York and northern New England, with lower snowfall amounts south of the New York State Thruway and Massachusetts Turnpike (Interstate 90) because of the mixing with sleet and freezing rain.
No snow is expected in the New York City tri-state area or any points south along the Interstate 95 corridor.
Be sure to download the free FOX Weather app and enable notifications to be alerted to any changes in the forecast.
High winds could lead to blizzard conditions in northern Plains, Upper Midwest
Regardless of the amount of snow that falls, high winds could lead to blizzard conditions in the northern Plains and Upper Midwest, making travel nearly impossible due to near-zero visibility from blowing and drifting snow.
Anyone living or working in the dozens of states affected by this storm should expect road closures, shuttered schools and significant impacts on air travel.
The combination of the high winds and the weight of the snow could also knock down tree limbs and lead to scattered power outages in the region.
How much ice is expected?
As the warmer air overrides the cold air along a front, a relatively narrow corridor of freezing rain and sleet is expected through Thursday.
Between the combination of ice, snow and wind, not only will travel be a nightmare, but power outages will also become a concern for millions of Americans from South Dakota and Minnesota to New York and Pennsylvania.