winter storm map
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Get your snow shovels and plows ready.
In areas hit by the monster snowstorm this weekend, these could be the worst conditions of the winter months, factoring in snow and returning wind, cold, and lake effect into next week.

The monster snowstorm slated for this weekend will hit portions of the Midwest, eastern Great Lakes, central Appalachians, Ontario and Quebec hardest.

The heaviest snow is most likely to begin over Iowa and surrounding areas Saturday. The snow will then encompass Michigan, western New York, southern and southwestern Ontario and southwestern and central Quebec for the remainder of the weekend.

Get your shovels and plows ready in Des Moines, Milwaukee, Chicago, Grand Rapids, Cleveland, Detroit, Erie, Buffalo, Rochester, Toronto and Ottawa.

We will have specifics on snowfall totals, but right now it would seem likely a general 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 centimeters) of snow will fall in this swath, with locally higher accumulations, especially in Quebec and anywhere downwind of the Great Lakes.

People within the snow area should expect blizzard conditions several hours after the snow begins as winds are expected to increase. There is potential for whiteouts and road closures, which could strand motorists and people waiting for flights at airports.

Nasty Cold and Lake-Effect Snow Event Follows

In the wake of the storm, the coldest air of the season so far, and perhaps the entire winter season, will follow.

Some of the snowbelts downwind of the Great Lakes could easily receive from 1 to 3 feet of new snow next week.

According to Expert Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson, "The heavy load of snow may cause roofs to fail."

"If the snowfall happens as forecast, it could mean some locations will have 5 to 10 feet of snow on the ground from the most recent lake effect, the storm, and the new lake effect," Anderson added.

Places like Corry, Pennsylvania have received over 3 feet of snow from the recent lake effect. The coming storm and the lake effect that follows will push snowfall totals to incredible levels. Photo by AccuWeather.com Facebook fan Maria H.

lake effect snow
© AccuWeather.com Facebook fan Maria H.
Places like Corry, Pennsylvania have received over 3 feet of snow from the recent lake effect. The coming storm and the lake effect that follows will push snowfall totals to incredible levels.
It's Complicated

As discussed earlier this week, the dynamics of this event are such that two storm centers are likely.

One storm center will first track northeastward into the lower Great Lakes and weaken.

Next, a new storm center will form over eastern areas of the mid-Atlantic and track northward through the Hudson Valley of New York into eastern Quebec.

Areas near, east and south of the tracks of both storms will get a wintry mix of snow, sleet and rain, or even plain rain.

The rain scenario is expected across the Ohio Valley, the I-95 mid-Atlantic, and essentially all of New England, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

At some point over the central Appalachians, the changeover to a mix or rain will stop as the mid-Atlantic storm takes over and causes temperatures to plummet, prolonging snow farther north.

It is also possible that during the energy transfer between the two storms, a lull or break in the snow would occur, perhaps negatively affecting snowfall totals in part of the eastern Great Lakes region, according to Expert Senior Meteorologist Henry Margusity.

Even so, returning lake effect and high winds would quickly end that lull in the wake of the storm.

More Storms to Come

AccuWeather.com Long Range Expert Joe Bastardi expects storms to cause more trouble with snow following this storm into the end of December.

The spread of cold air and a shifting storm track could bring long-awaited snow to the I-95 Northeast, and accumulating snow to part of the South.

There is still hope for a white Christmas in these areas, even though this weekend's storm will bring rain and/or thunderstorms.

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AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski contributed to the content of this story.