US regions are on alert for Winter Storm Goliath

Winter Storm Goliath Bringing Snow and IceBy

Winter Storm Goliath will spread snow from the mountains of the West to parts of the Plains, Upper Midwest and possibly New England through early next week. Some of the heaviest snow amounts may target parts of the southern High Plains where strong winds could also cause blizzard conditions. As a result, NOAA’s National Weather Service has posted blizzard watches for parts of this area.

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A variety of other winter storm watches, warnings and advisories are in effect across the Plains from Texas northward to South Dakota. While mainly snow is anticipated across the central to northern Plains, a combination of snow, ice and rain will fall over parts of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.

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In addition to snow, the warm side of Goliath will produce severe thunderstorms and heavy rain this weekend. For more on that story, click the link below.

(MORE: Severe Weather Forecast)

Winter Storm Goliath will occur in two separate phases:

Phase 1: Upper-level energy moving into the western states will spread snow across the mountains of the West from now through Friday. Later Friday through Saturday, snow from this first phase of Goliath will also push into parts of the northern Plains and Upper Midwest.

Phase 2: Some of that upper-level energy pushing through the West will develop into an area of low pressure aloft over the Southwest and southern Plains this weekend. In response to this, a surface low pressure system will also develop in the southern Plains this weekend, which combined with sufficient cold air to its north from high pressure, will result in heavy snow for parts of the southern Plains. That area of low pressure will then track towards the Midwest early next week, bringing snow to parts of that region and eventually New England.

Current Radar
Current Radar

Note: Due to the mountainous terrain in the West, not all snow can be detected by radar and therefore may not be shown on this map.

Uncertainty remains in the details, particularly with the exact location and timing of the snow for parts of the Plains, Midwest and New England late in the weekend into early next week. Below is an overview of the timing for Winter Storm Goliath followed by the snow accumulation forecast. Keep in mind that forecast changes are likely since this storm will last into early next week when uncertainty increases.

Winter Storm Goliath Storm Timing

Snow pushes through the central Rockies, including parts of Utah, northern Arizona, northern New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming.

A weak wave of low pressure will eventually allow accumulating snow to spread through the northern Plains and Upper Midwest later Friday and Friday night, including parts of northern and western Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota and northern Wisconsin.

Cities Potentially Affected: Cheyenne, Wyoming (Friday and Friday night) | Sioux Falls, South Dakota (Friday night) |Minneapolis (Friday night)

Friday's Forecast
Friday’s Forecast

Snow continues to sweep eastward across parts of the northern Plains and Upper Midwest during the day as weak low pressure moves through. This includes a swath from South Dakota to Minnesota, northern Wisconsin and Upper Michigan.

Through the day, and especially Saturday night, the storm will really begin to crank up in the southern Plains, with snow or rain changing to snow increasing across parts of New Mexico, west Texas and western Oklahoma. Increasing winds combined with the snow may lead to poor visibility and dangerous travel conditions in the southern High Plains. Blizzard conditions are not out of the question. A narrow band of freezing rain or sleet is also possible from the Texas Panhandle to west-central Oklahoma and central Kansas, particularly Saturday night.

Cities Potentially Affected: Albuquerque, New Mexico (Saturday – Saturday night) | Roswell, New Mexico (Saturday-Saturday night) | Amarillo, Texas (Saturday night) | Lubbock, Texas (Saturday night)
Interstates Potentially Affected: I-40, I-25, I-27, I-70

Saturday's Forecast
Saturday’s Forecast

Snow, possibly heavy, persists in parts of New Mexico, west Texas, southwestern Kansas and southeastern Colorado. Strong winds on the backside of the low pressure system will likely combine with the snow resulting in poor visibility and dangerous travel conditions with possible blizzard conditions at times. A transition area of sleet and freezing rain may continue from parts of the Texas Panhandle to west-central Oklahoma and south-central Kansas.

Cities Potentially Affected: Roswell, New Mexico | Lubbock, Texas | El Paso, Texas | Amarillo, Texas | Oklahoma City (near there or just to the west could see freezing rain)

Interstates Potentially Affected: I-40, I-25, I-70, I-20, I-10

Sunday's Forecast
Sunday’s Forecast

Monday – Tuesday

The timing of the storm is highly uncertain early next week, and will depend on how quickly the area of low pressure moves northeastward into the Midwest and the exact track that low takes. In addition, the amount of cold air available for the storm to tap into could be limited.

For now, snow or a wintry mix may pivot from the southern High Plains into the Midwest Monday into Tuesday as shown on our forecast maps below. Wintry weather is also possible in central Pennsylvania, Upstate New York and New England as moisture from the storm runs into cold air supplied by high pressure in eastern Canada. In Pennsylvania, southern New York and southern New England, this wintry precipitation would change to rain as warmer air pushes north.

Monday's Forecast
Monday’s Forecast

Tuesday's Forecast
Tuesday’s Forecast

How Much Snow?

First Phase of Goliath:
Into Friday, a foot or more of snow will coat the mountains of the West, from the Sierra Nevada into the Rockies.

Several inches of accumulating snow will also likely fall across the northern Plains and the Upper Midwest Friday night through Saturday. Up to 6 inches of total accumulation is possible in parts of South Dakota, northern Nebraska and southern Minnesota.

This first forecast map shows the swath of snow expected from the first phase of Goliath.

First Phase Snow Forecast Through Saturday
First Phase Snow Forecast Through Saturday

​Second Phase of Goliath:
The second phase of Goliath will deliver the heaviest snow. At the moment, computer model forecast guidance is indicating that some of the highest snow totals may target parts of southwestern Kansas, western Oklahoma, western Texas and eastern New Mexico. This is depicted by the dark purple and pink shadings on our forecast graphic below. It’s not out of the question that some locations could see 6+ inches or even a foot or more of total snow along with crippling blizzard conditions.

A second round of accumulating snow may also blanket parts of the northern and central Plains and Upper Midwest early next week, but that will depend on the amount of cold air available and the exact track of the low pressure system forming in the southern Plains this weekend.

his forecast map shows the snow forecast for both phases of Goliath through next Tuesday in the Midwest and Plains.

Snowfall Forecast Through Next Tuesday
Snowfall Forecast Through Next Tuesday

Note: This map shows the combined snowfall potential for both phases of Goliath through next Tuesday.

New England Snow?
Finally, some accumulating snow is possible in New England and Upstate New York early next week Monday night through Wednesday. It’s far too early to get into specifics, but this map below gives a general idea of the locations that could see snow.

New England Snow Potential
New England Snow Potential