Following the outbreak of bitterly cold air through midweek, a fast-moving storm system will spread a swath of snow from the north-central Plains to the Ohio Valley spanning Wednesday night into Thursday night.
Snow snow is then expected to streak into the central Appalachians and mid-Atlantic by Friday.
While snow will only last between 6 and 12 hours in any one location, the snow may come down hard and accumulate quickly on roadways and sidewalks, especially in areas that experience snow during the overnight hours.
The swath of accumulating snow may only be 100-200 miles wide, but areas within this swath could pick up this accumulation within a short amount of time.
“While this storm is not expected to become a significant storm by any means, it still has the potential to drop several inches of snow across a stretch from Rapid City, South Dakota; to Omaha, Nebraska; Des Moines, Iowa; and Cincinnati,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Isaac Longley said.
Longley warned that this amount of snow is still enough to disrupt travel plans and lead to snow-covered and slippery roadways.
Snow will first spread into much of Nebraska and southern South Dakota on Wednesday night and spread eastward into Iowa and parts of Illinois and Indiana by Thursday afternoon.
It is in these areas that the system will likely be most potent and drop the highest snow totals.
“From 6 to 10 inches of snow can fall across parts of southern South Dakota and northern Nebraska,” Longley added.
An AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 12 inches is forecast over part of the High Plains.
Since these areas will be hit by snow during the overnight hours, the strong March sun angle will not be a factor in helping thwart snow from sticking to paved surfaces.
How strong the system remains by Thursday night and Friday will be determined by how quickly an area of high pressure shifts out of the Ohio Valley and mid-Atlantic.
A weaker high pressure system that departs more quickly would allow accumulating snow to reach southern parts of the Ohio Valley and central Appalachians.
However, a stronger high pressure system would cause snow to quickly dissipate and lose its intensity due to its running into drier, more stable air east of the Midwest.