A major holiday winter storm packing heavy snow and the threat of blizzard conditions was bearing down on the northern-tier states from the Rockies to the upper Midwest and was likely to shut down major highways in parts of the northern Plains as it rolls eastward Christmas Day and Monday.
The stretch of Northern states could expect blowing snow and drifts from strong winds, possibly in excess of 60 mph, making travel hazardous, the National Weather Service warned.
In addition, snow and a wintry mix were possible from the Great Lakes to the Northeast, with rain and a few thunderstorms likely from the lower/mid-Mississippi Valley to the Mid-Atlantic on Saturday, the weather service said.
In the West and mountain states, over a foot of snow was expected in the Sierra, Cascades and parts of Utah and southern Colorado, while at least 6 inches was likely in the northern Rockies, and high elevations of Arizona and Southern California, The Weather Channel reported.
Several inches of snow, possibly heavy at times, was also forecast for low-elevation cities such as Boise, Salt Lake City and Flagstaff, according to The Weather Channel.
Over a foot of snow was possible in parts of North Dakota, northern and western South Dakota and even as far as northwest Minnesota, with at least 6 inches of snow in the high plains of Montana and northern Wyoming.
Forecasters warned that many roads, including major interstates, would likely be shut down Christmas Day and into Monday in the northern Plains and high Plains, as high winds kicked up blizzard conditions in the area.
The Weather Channel also warned of the danger of tree damage and power outages from the high winds and heavy snow.