• Parts of Iowa expecting as much as 9 inches of snow
  • Wind gusts as strong as 80 mph are pushing the system east
  • Weather clears out for most of the affected area by the weekend

A major storm system making its way through the Upper Midwest is expected to bring dangerous winds and heavy snowfall across parts of the region, forecasters said.

The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning Thursday for parts of Iowa and southern Minnesota. For Iowans, the weather service said to expect as much as 9 inches of snow and wind gusts as high as 50 miles per hour.

“The hazardous conditions will impact the Thursday evening, Friday morning, and Friday evening commutes,” the forecast read. “Isolated power outages and tree damage may occur with the gusty winds.”

Behind that system to the west, the weather service is warning of extremely high winds. In South Dakota, wind gusts as high as 80 mph are expected. Those winds are projected to cause power outages and create dangerous travel conditions.

Moderate snow is expected ahead of the system. Rain fell on parts of Minnesota on Wednesday evening and that’s widely expected to transition to snow as the low-pressure system moves eastward.

Chris Shaffer, the chief meteorologist at WCCO, the CBS affiliate in Minnesota, noted the weather will shift quickly from highs near 40 degrees Fahrenheit earlier this week to the low- to mid-20s.

Most of the extreme weather dissipates by the weekend. Snow moves out of Iowa by Friday evening and the area can expect mostly cloudy skies with highs near 30 degrees by the weekend.

A La Niña system, characterized by lower sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, was widely expected to create a milder winter in the region. A winter forecast from The Weather Channel in October predicted a cold December followed by milder conditions in January.

Warnings of a polar vortex in early January, however, sent chills through parts of the U.S. that would normally see extreme winter conditions. The conditions needed for truly devastating snowstorms across Canada and the U.S., however, won’t be present throughout the season, and jet stream disruptions could create “blocking” conditions, with inconsistent and slow-moving storms.

The group of teenagers rescued the kids after their sled fell into a frozen pond. pixabay