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Dangerous Winter Storm Strikes West, Central U.S.

UPDATED 7 PM MST, December 4, 2013

UPDATED By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Fred Allen

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A complex, and major winter storm will not only deliver yet another punch of potentially crippling snow from the Wasatch Range arcing into the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes through Thursday, but it will be the catalyst for extremely dangerous if not life-threatening cold across the U.S. Northern-Tier this week.

A wavering Arctic cold front stretched from the Colorado Rockies to the lower Great Lakes will sink deeper into the Southwest, Central Plains, and Midwest late today and tonight. It will be a pair of low pressure systems trekking along this wavy front that ultimately will be responsible for two distinct ribbons of heavy snow.

The first such are will be along the High Plains and Rockies. Places such as Grand Junction, Denver and Boulder, Colo., will be digging out of 5 to 9 inches of snow. Across the highest peaks in the Colorado Rockies, storm totals will be quite impressive, ranging from 1 to 3 feet by the time it ends Thursday morning.

The second low pressure system trucking from Iowa to northern Michigan will squeeze out equally staggering snowfall totals as well across the northern Plains and Midwest. In fact, the heavy snow bull`s eye will leave Minnesota Arrowhead residents, including Duluth, Minn., with as much as 12 to 18 inches of new snow. Even the Twin Cities could be shoveling out of 5 to 10 inches of snow. By the time it finally departs the U.S. for Canada, some places along the northern shore or Lake Superior in northeastern Minnesota could be buried under 30 to 36 inches of snow. Further west in the Dakotas, 2 to 8 inches of snow will blanket the ground in places such as Bismarck and Fargo, N.D., and Pierre, S.D.

Winter Storm Warnings and Winter Weather Advisories stretch from Colorado to northwestern Michigan. Travel along these areas will be difficult, if not impossible, when combined with gusty winds blowing and drifting the snow about. If you need to travel, make sure to carry a winter survival kit in case you become stranded.

Another aspect of this major winter storm is its punch of Arctic air following immediately on its coattails across the U.S. Northern-Tier. Wind Chill Watches and Warnings as well as Wind Chill Advisories remain in place across the Northern and Central Plains. The dangerously low temperatures are teaming up with gusty winds, with the end result being wind chills falling as low as 25-degrees below zero.

This complex storm system will inevitably usher in wintry weather and cold air from the southern Plains to the East Coast late this week and next weekend. For more on potential winter impacts there, click here.

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