A powerful winter storm has been causing major impacts across large sections of the country this week, resulting in blizzard conditions, over a foot of snow, severe winds, ice storms and numerous accidents and fatalities.
As it moves east, wrap-around moisture is bringing additional rain and snow showers to parts of the Upper Midwest. At the same time, a developing coastal storm is spreading heavy rainfall and tidal flooding up the Eastern Seaboard.
An active, unsettled pattern is expected to continue for much of the region heading into the New Year weekend.
Meanwhile, out West, the first in a series of incoming Pacific storms will spread high-elevation snow and valley rain into the Northwest and eventually southward through California.
Northern Plains Faced Significant Blizzard Conditions Earlier This Week
An intense area of low pressure moved across the north-central United States early this week, setting off a major winter storm.
Numerous locations from the Dakotas through Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin recorded over a foot of total snowfall as heavy bands persisted for an extended duration.
One of the most substantial amounts occurred in Spearfish, South Dakota, where 14.6 inches of snow piled up, bogging down transportation and closing Interstate 90 for a time.
Strong winds accompanying the system led to extensive blowing and drifting snow, dropping visibility to a quarter mile or less for prolonged intervals.
Whiteout conditions led to extremely hazardous travel and a rash of accidents across the region. Blizzard warnings were issued by the National Weather Service, urging residents to avoid venturing out onto roads if at all possible.