A severe storm system is turning Black Friday into a wintry white weekend with blizzards and snow expected along much of a 2,000-mile stretch from Nevada to the Upper Midwest and into New England next week.
Farther south, severe thunderstorms are possible from the southern Plains to Lower Mississippi River Valley through Saturday.
The National Weather Service forecast a large swath of snow totals topping 8 inches for the Northern Rockies eastward into the Northern Plains and for Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, according to the National Weather Service. It said localized snow totals above 18 inches can be expected.
The weather threatened to be particularly disruptive on Sunday, when millions of holiday travelers start home. Airlines for America, the airline industry’s trade group, expects 3.1 million passengers during what could be the busiest day ever recorded for American air travel.
The group estimated a record of 31.6 million people will travel over a 12-day holiday period. Airlines on Friday said they were so far operating as usual as they monitor the weather. American Airlines issued weather-related waivers Friday for just one airport: Rapid City, South Dakota.
Parts of South Dakota were under a blizzard warning and could see howling winds and as much as 2 feet of snow. The South Dakota Highway Patrol posted a photo on Facebook of a semi-truck that veered from Interstate 90 near Rapid City. “Do not travel if you don’t have to!” the agency wrote.
Minneapolis, which was hit by almost 10 inches of snow just before Thanksgiving, was bracing for another onslaught Friday, with 4 to 9 inches expected through Sunday.