U.S. News

Snowstorm churns across U.S. Plains, Midwest

CHICAGO (Reuters) - A snowstorm forecast to bring up to half a foot of snow to the northern Plains and Midwest churned across North Dakota on Friday, while the eastern shore of Lake Erie was hit by more lake effect snow.

The heavy lake effect snow that shut down sections of the New York state Thruway on Thursday, stranding scores of motorists, had abated and the highway was open, a Thruway spokeswoman said.

However, another three to five inches of lake effect snow will blanket sections of the snow belt around Buffalo, New York, the National Weather Service said.

Lake effect snow occurs when cold winds whip up storm clouds off warmer lake waters, and can dump heavy amounts of snow along the coastline.

Snow was falling across North Dakota and the Weather Service declared a winter storm warning in effect through Friday in southern Minnesota, southwest Wisconsin and northwest Iowa.

“Significant amounts of snow are forecast that will make travel dangerous,” the Weather Service said.

The snow storm was forecast to move southeast into Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, and eventually reach the Appalachian Mountains as far as North Carolina. The amount of snow will depend on its duration, which the Weather Service said could last up to 18 hours.

In Chicago, more snow could arrive Saturday in the form of lake effect snow off of Lake Michigan, as bitter winter winds wrap around the storm.

An arctic blast of frigid Canadian air will follow the storm, pushing temperatures down into the teens, the Weather Service said.

Reporting by Andrew Stern, Editing by Greg McCune