Snow and cold will make for difficult post-Christmas travel for the US West and North
Bitter cold in the coming days will impact states from Montana to Michigan.
Meantime, unseasonable warmth will continue to toast the South as wildfire risk stretches across the central Plains.
Avalanche warnings in 6 Western states
All this snow may be a ski lover’s dream, but it also covers roads and reduces visibility. Avalanche warnings were in effect Sunday for portions of Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Colorado and California as recent heavy snowfall and wind have made for widespread areas of unstable snow.
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport thanked travelers for their patience in the poor conditions.
The city of Eugene, Oregon, declared a snow emergency Sunday.
More snow and freezing conditions were expected in the city overnight, the release said.
Frigid conditions for the Midwest
Snow will fall Sunday across the Upper Midwest, with accumulations of over a foot possible from the Dakotas through northern Michigan. Winter storm alerts have been issued for eastern North Dakota, northern Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin.
Even after this system moves through, the cold temperatures don’t let up.
Morning lows are forecast to be sub-zero across portions of Montana and North Dakota, with daytime highs Sunday struggling to get out of the single digits. By Monday morning, lows are forecast to be bitterly cold, potentially as cold as below 15 to below 25, and wind chills will be even colder.
Fargo, North Dakota, goes from a high of 25 degrees on Monday to a high of only 1 degree on Tuesday. Denver sees a similar drop, from 48 degrees Monday to 34 degrees Tuesday.
Warmth continues further south, as does fire threat
Remarkably warm temperatures remain anchored over the southern US and will continue into the first half of the week. Over 250 total daily record warm lows and highs are expected to be broken in the next few days.
Temperature departures today will be warmest in the southern Plains, with highs in the 70s and 80s — 25 to 40 degrees above normal.
A “critical risk” of fire weather — level 2 out of 3 — is in effect across the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles and in eastern Colorado and western Kansas owing to the unusually warm temperatures, low humidity levels and windy conditions.
Sustained winds of 30 to 50 mph with gusts of 60 to 80 mph could lead to blowing dust and difficult travel conditions across these regions Sunday. High wind warnings and red flag warnings are in place.