New Year's Day U.S. Winter Storm Warning: Heavy Snowfall to Cause 'Travel Disruptions'

A New Year's Day winter storm is forecast over the Central Plains to the Great Lakes area. Snowfall of more than six to eight inches possible in some parts are expected to cause "widespread hazardous travel conditions," the Weather Prediction Center (WPC) of the National Weather Service (NWS) warned Friday.

A "significant winter storm" is expected to develop over the southern Plains region on Friday before heading to the Great Lakes on January 1, with some areas to see severe thunderstorms, flash flooding, heavy snow, ice and bitter cold conditions, the NWS said.

The snow and ice are expected to cause "widespread travel disruptions" over the holiday weekend. Accumulations may be higher in areas where snowfall rates reach one inch per hour, the WPC warned.

Significant mixed precipitation (including freezing rain and sleet) is also possible just south of the areas with heavier snow, with some ice accumulations to reach over 0.10 inch, according to the WPC.

Heavy rain may also cause flash flooding across the Mississippi and Ohio River Valleys, the national weather body said.

The storm system in the Plains will "set the stage" for severe weather from northern Texas to the southern Appalachians on Friday.

Winter Storm Warnings and Winter Weather Advisories have been issued in portions of the Western U.S., including in pockets of northern California, Oregon, Washington state, Colorado, Arizona, Idaho, Utah and New Mexico.

The continental U.S. is under the influence of "prolonged troughing in the Intermountain West and ridging in the Southeast," the WPC explained. There are moderate to heavy chances of snow throughout much of the Intermountain West as the storm heads towards the Great Basin area.

A storm system developing off the coast of California will continue to send Pacific moisture into southern California and the Southwest on Friday.

By Saturday, one to two feet of snow are expected in the Cascades, Sawtooth and Wasatch mountain ranges as well as central and southern Rockies, with totals climbing above three feet in the highest elevations of Utah and Colorado, the WPC said Friday.

Sub-zero temperatures are expected from the Upper Mississippi Valley to the northern Rockies region, as Arctic air causes temperatures to drop throughout the Plains on Friday and into the morning of New Year's Day.

Wind Chill Warnings and Advisories remain in place for the far north central U.S. region through January 1, the WPC said.

Sunday will see "bitterly cold temperatures" across the area from the Central Plains to the Great Lakes region, with wind chills hitting nearly below zero.

On the warm side of the front, the southeast region will see "abnormally warm and humid conditions," with considerably milder conditions spreading as far north as the northeast by January 1.

Several record high temperatures are forecast from the Gulf Coast to the northern Mid-Atlantic region through the morning of New Year's Day, according to the WPC.

People digging out snow in Colorado.
People digging out snow in the Green Mountain neighborhood of Lakewood, Colorado back in November 2019. Winter Storm Warnings have been in issued in parts of the Western U.S., including Colorado, with a New Year's Day winter storm expected. Joe Mahoney/Getty Images