A windswept rain and wet snow will spread across the northern Plains and the Upper Great Lakes today into tonight as a potent storm approaches the region. The miserable weather will not only make residents of these regions want to climb back into bed, it will also lead to travel disruptions and local flooding issues.
Colder air pouring south from Canada will allow for wet snow to fall alone or mix in with rain on the northern tier of the storm. Little to no accumulation is expected.
The wet snow and rain mix will fall in northeastern Montana and northern to central North Dakota today. Travel could become slippery along portions of I-94. Overnight, the wintry mix may also impact northern Minnesota.
Heavier snow will fall across portions of the Colorado Rockies behind the storm system. An upslope flow will enhance falling snow, allowing up to 6 inches of snow to come down over a few areas. Travel along I-25 may become slippery south of Pueblo, Colo.
Periods of rain will dampen areas farther south from Wyoming through the northern Michigan today into tonight. The heaviest rain will fall across a good part of the Dakotas into Minnesota today.
Winds gusting up to 30-40 mph in the northern Plains will make it hard for people who live in this zone to stay dry with an umbrella alone. A heavy rain coat and boots are also recommended.
Travel could be slowed and dangerous at times due to the rain and gusty winds. Motorists who travel along I-70, I-80, I-90, and I-29 will likely encounter slower travel due to the nasty weather by the evening.
As the storm really gets its act together overnight and shifts into the southern Plains, the steadier and heavier rain will expand to encompass areas from northeast Colorado to northwest Wisconsin.
Some communities could have localized flooding issues, especially in poor drainage areas. Driving over flooded roadways will put your life at risk.
While not likely to be the strongest storm system ever to hit the Great Lakes, big waves generated will be a hazard for boating and shipping interests. Flooding is possible along some lake shore communities.
Rain will continue to spread across the rest of the Great Lakes region Wednesday, but the worst of the storm will occur later Thursday into Friday night.
A couple of degrees difference in temperature would mean the difference between accumulating snow and just rain, or a mixture of both from the eastern part of the Dakotas to northwest Wisconsin late in the week.
The Southwest Regional News Story has more details on the high wind and damaging storm threat that will impact people that lie in the path of the southern flank of the powerful storm system. This story also also has details on how Rick's moisture will enhance rain and contribute to a flood threat across portions of Texas and the lower Mississippi Valley.