The central United States is expected to see a white but slick and blustery Christmas as snow will be coupled with blinding winds in western areas and freezing rain in the east, a forecaster predicted Thursday.

This is major winter storm continuing to gain intensity today and tomorrow, impacting a wide area, said Joel Burgio of DTN Meteorlogix.

The forecast called for snowfall of 12 inches or more through Saturday, with blizzards in several northern areas.

Northeast Nebraska, northwestern and north-central Iowa, northeastern portions of the Dakotas and Minnesota are expected to get heavy snowfall through the weekend.

Freezing rains are expected to cover the blanket of snow, making roadways dangerous for holiday travel Christmas Eve on Thursday night. Burgio said strong winds will develop on Christmas on Friday and continue into the night.

Roads will be treacherous to navigate as the afflicted areas can expect low visibility, road closures and drifting snow on Christmas, Burgio said.

In the eastern Midwest, a mixture of snow and freezing rain covered the area in the last day and is expected to continue until Saturday.

The eastern Midwest will get the back end of the snow storm, Burgio said. While the precipitation is expected to be mostly freezing rain, some areas will see snow on Saturday, he added.