A storm moving off the Pacific Ocean will probably bring heavy snow to the mountains around San Diego and Los Angeles before blanketing the Upper Midwest and Great Plains later this week.
Winter storm warnings and advisories are posted for higher elevations around the California cities as well as parts of Nevada and Arizona, according to the National Weather Service. Six to 12 inches (15 to 30 centimeters) of snow are possible in the mountains just north and east of Los Angeles.
“It gets there late today and tonight, and during the day tomorrow it has probably moved to Arizona, where it will bring heavy snows in the mountains and rain elsewhere,” said Tom Kines, a meteorologist with AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania. “The ski resorts of the southern Rockies will do very well out of this.”
After the storm crosses the Rocky Mountains, it may drop as much as a foot of snow on the drought-parched Upper Midwest and central Great Plains. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, almost 91.4 percent of the High Plains region is experiencing some form of drought, with 29.2 percent affected by the worst conditions.
In comparison, 56 percent of the contiguous 48 states are experiencing some form of drought, with 6.6 percent hit by the most severe level, according to the Drought Monitor, based in Lincoln, Nebraska.
The snow across the Great Plains “will do them good but will it solve the problem out there? No,” Kines said by telephone. “They need more precipitation than what this storm will bring but it will help.”
A winter storm watch, meaning there’s a chance of “significant snow, sleet or ice accumulations,” has been posted from eastern Colorado to southern Illinois, according to the weather service. It also reaches from South Dakota to northwestern Arkansas.
The watch goes into effect early tomorrow in western areas and later elsewhere.
By the time the storm gets to Chicago it will probably have lost most of its power and may bring little snow to the city, Kines said.
“It won’t be capable of producing a foot anymore,” Kines said. “As far as snow storms go, it probably isn’t going to be a big one.”