Winter weather expected to create havoc for holiday travelers

Storm watches and warnings blanketed several northern tier states and U.S. mountain areas on Monday as a frigid air mass spills south from Canada into the west and central U.S.

Freezing rain was noted across several states, while several inches of snow were forecast for the Dakotas, Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado, threatening some vacation ski areas. Avalanche warnings were in effect for some areas. Northern California also was under a winter weather advisory.

“Winter is here, just in time to screw up the holiday,” said National Weather Service spokesman Pat Slattery.

Sub-zero conditions will make conditions particularly harsh, Slattery said.

“We’re looking at a good part of the northern central Plains where temperatures are going to have a hard time getting above zero,” he said. “We’ve got the cold air just pouring in.”

In Grand Forks, North Dakota, the winter storm was already well underway. Six inches of snow fell over the weekend and more was falling Monday. A second storm moving in on Thanksgiving Day should drop another 3 or 4 inches of snow.

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport also already has felt the winter weather impact with runway closures over the weekend.

Up to 24 inches of snow were seen falling in western Wyoming mountain areas this week. And in Des Moines, Iowa, freezing rain was forecast to turn roads into skating rinks.

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