Americans across the country are bracing for a major winter storm that will bring snow, sleet, freezing rain and strong winds to the northern United States from California to Maine Tuesday through Friday.
The storm will also be "extremely disruptive to travel" with gusty winds expected in parts of the West and Midwest, the National Weather Service warned.
Winter weather warnings were issued for 22 states on Tuesday, with heavy snow in the northern Rocky Mountains, Montana, Wyoming and the Dakotas.
To date, several airlines have issued travel waivers to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is bracing for the possibility of record snowfall. There may also be disruptions at other airports.
Here's what you need to know about the winter storm's track and how it will affect you.
What is the path of the storm?
The storm began working across the Pacific Northwest and parts of the Rocky Mountains. More than 13 million people were under a winter storm watch as two feet of snow was expected on the mountains.
On Tuesday evening, AccuWeather meteorologist Dan Pydynowski said snow was expected to fall as far as Minneapolis. The Twin Cities will be affected by a three-day winter storm that begins with light rain in western Minnesota and will affect commutes Wednesday morning. The second snowfall will fall around noon tomorrow and will last until Thursday. Wind gusts will be around 35-45 miles per hour making travel difficult.
Cities like Salt Lake City will also be affected as they will experience cooler air and lower temperatures overnight. A flurry of snow will affect the Wasatch Front in north-central Utah this afternoon before tapering off Wednesday afternoon, the National Weather Service said.
The storm will reach Chicago by afternoon, where freezing showers and thunderstorms are expected. As a result, power outages may occur, according to Pydynowski.
The snow will hit the Far East on Wednesday evening and will mainly affect central New England and parts of upstate New York. Accuweather reports that Vermont, New Hampshire and northern Maine will see the most snow. One foot to 18 inches of snow is expected.
However, New York will lack the most snow and ice. "It's possible to get some rain on Thursday," Pydynowski told TIME, "but in terms of the nature of winter rain from this storm, it's likely to be missed by us and it's likely to be northward."
How will the journey affect them?
There could be a number of flight cancellations and delays in the coming days, with heavy snow and wintry conditions expected to affect cities like Minneapolis for several days.
When it comes to airfare, Delta offers discounts for travel to Minnesota airports. Customers who rebook their trip before February 27 will have the fare difference waived. If unable to rebook on these dates, customers can cancel the booking and use the refund for a new ticket. Travel must be completed within one year from the original date of issue.
The Southwest exception goes into effect Feb. 20-22 for people traveling to Bozeman/Yellowstone, Mont., Colorado Springs, Colo., Denver, Colo., Minneapolis, Minn., Salt Lake City, Utah, and others. Passengers can book their flight for free within 2 weeks of the original travel date.
United Airlines offers two winter holidays. The first is for travelers who want to travel to the Midwest on February 21 and 22. Booked change fees and fare differences will not apply to flights departing before 26 February. Passengers who scheduled tips on February 22 and 23 may also be released. The list of airports is much longer and includes Buffalo, NY, Madison, Wisconsin, Cleveland, Ohio and more.
Major Great Lakes airports are also affected, including Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Milwaukee General Mitchell International Airport and Detroit Metropolitan Airport.
There could be ice and snow at Boston's Logan Airport Wednesday night into Thursday morning, but it will likely be minimal, Pydynowski told TIME. However, in the Big Apple, where warm temperatures led to the second-warmest January on record, Pyndnowski said the disruptions were only due to flight delays at other airports, as the region was unlikely to face harsh winter conditions. .
Even the streets are becoming dangerous.
Avalanche warnings are in effect for Montana amid warnings of dangerous avalanche conditions in the Bridger Range. Current snowfall in the state ranges from four to 12 inches.
It also snowed on Highway 90 in Minnesota. The National Weather Service warned that windblown snow could reduce visibility and gusts could cause branches to fall. "Hazardous weather conditions are expected for the next several days," the Minnesota State Patrol said. "Our soldiers are ready to respond. Help them by staying home."
According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Wisconsin snow and emergency crews are preparing to respond if needed. The department is urging people to drive slowly, slow down and allow extra distance during the current storm.
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