Forecasters are monitoring what they say will be the next multifaceted storm to target the central United States at the end of the week. The storm is expected to bring a variety of hazards to travelers as precipitation will vary from rain to ice to snow amid the midsection of the nation.
The late-week storm will first bring accumulating snowfall to such places as Seattle and Portland, Ore., as well as some rain and snow to California on Wednesday into Thursday, before it reaches the central states on Friday.
A fresh wave of bitterly cold air will arrive in the north-central states on Thursday ahead of the storm, which will lay the groundwork for a large corridor to face wintry weather and slippery travel once precipitation arrives.
Large stretches of I-35 Highway, along with interstates 29, 80, 90 and 94 are expected to lie within a broad area of snow and ice, making for difficult travel conditions.
"At this time, we expect many of the major metro areas of the Midwest to face messy commutes both Friday morning and evening," said Mary Gilbert, AccuWeather meteorologist.
Increasing wind with the snow could lead to reduced visibility and localized blizzard conditions as the storm strengthens, according to AccuWeather senior meteorologist Matt Rinde.
Specific to the northeast Kansas region — where a layer of warmer air will flow in a few thousand feet above the ground — precipitation is expected to be icy, with sleet and freezing rain possible.
"Icing will be a major concern with this storm and untreated surfaces will become treacherous," Rinde said.
How quickly cold air is rooted out of eastern Kansas will determine whether icy conditions develop in metro areas or precipitation arrives in the form of plain rain.
"Bitter cold to follow the storm will cause any areas of snow and slush to freeze," Rinde said.
As the exact path of the storm becomes clearer in the coming days, the corridor of heaviest snow and ice may shift to the north and west or south and east.