Another plunge of cold, snowy weather across the northern tier of the United States this weekend will be Mother Nature’s not-so-subtle reminder that winter isn’t ready to quit just yet.
“Arctic air will spread across a large portion of the country by Monday,” AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok said. “The core of the cold will be just east of the Continental Divide across the Front Range and Plains into the Midwest, where temperatures will average 10-20 degrees below normal.”
Temperatures may approach 30 degrees below normal in places such as Rapid City, South Dakota, and Denver, where forecasters say Easter Sunday will be colder than New Year’s Day. Both cities had a high of 50 degrees Fahrenheit on Jan. 1, but are likely to have highs in the upper 20s to lower 30s on Sunday, April 12.
Such frigid conditions will reach the northern Rockies on Saturday before spreading across the entire swath of the northern and central Rockies and northern Plains by Easter Sunday.
Gusty winds on the leading edge of the cold push will plunge AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures into the teens and single digits.
High temperatures in the 30s and 40s will encompass the entire North Central states by Monday.
An extensive swath of snow will travel southward and eastward with the cold air from Saturday into Monday.
Residents in Great Falls, Bozeman and Billings, Montana, can expect spring snowflakes to fall in earnest Friday night through Saturday. Travel is likely to be treacherous along stretches of interstates 15 and 90 during this time.
By Saturday night and Sunday, snow will spread through the central Rockies and High Plains, with locations such as Cheyenne, Wyoming; Denver; Rapid City; and North Platte, Nebraska, all in line to receive accumulating snowfall. Deteriorating travel conditions are likely with slippery, snow-covered conditions along interstates 25 and 80.
By Monday, the Upper Midwest may be in the path of heavy snowfall and gusty winds.
The dry, powdery nature of the snow will make it easier to remove from driveways and sidewalks but more susceptible to blowing and drifting in the gusty winds.
Whether such high amounts continue farther east into the central Plains and Upper Midwest may be dependent on how extensive heavy rain and severe weather is across the Southern states this weekend as a big storm system takes shape. A large outbreak of severe weather could limit the amount of moisture that is available on the northern side of the storm system, and subsequently lead to lower snowfall totals.
Behind the storm, forecasters say the unseasonably chilly conditions will stick around for much of next week.