By Cailey Rizzo
April 10, 2019
U.S. GOES West NOAA Imagery - April 2019
Credit: NOAA

A “potentially historic” storm is heading for the central U.S. this week, and it could drop up to two feet of snow from Colorado to Minnesota.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued blizzard warnings for six states: Colorado, Kansas, Wyoming, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Minnesota. The storm could bring record-breaking amounts of snow (potentially up to 30 inches) to parts of the Midwest.

Travel both by air and ground will likely become impossible as heavy snow and strong winds will reduce visibility to zero. Thunder and lightning could accompany the storm in parts of South Dakota. States under blizzard warning could see weather conditions continue through Friday morning. The NWS has called it a “historic springtime snowstorm” and is urging residents to stay off roads.

Snow is predicted in many states, with winter storm warnings in effect from Utah to Illinois. Although the brunt of the storm is expected in the central U.S., it could affect up to 200 million people as it moves across the country. The NWS is warning against possible flooding in states where heavy rain or hail is expected. Strong winds already knocked out power to more than 50,000 homes in Los Angeles earlier this week. Cities in the northeast should expect heavy rain as the storm exits the country.

Travel at major airports like Denver, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Chicago, and Dallas is likely to be affected by the storm through Thursday. More than 300 flights out of Denver were canceled on Wednesday, according to FlightAware.

United Airlines is waiving change fees for flights booked on Wednesday and Thursday. Flights booked to and from Duluth, Fargo, Minneapolis, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, and Colorado airports are eligible to be rebooked through April 14.

JetBlue is offering travelers booked through Denver and Minneapolis on Wednesday and Thursday the chance to rebook flights through April 14.

American Airlines passengers flying to or from Minneapolis-St. Paul; Rapid City and Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Rochester, Minnesota; Marquette, Michigan; Jackson Hole and Cheyenne, Wyoming; and Appleton, Green Bay, La Crosse, and Wausau, Wisconsin can rebook their trips through April 14.

Delta Air Lines has issued travel waivers for Colorado and the Upper Midwest for Wednesday and Thursday flights.

Travelers should check directly with their airline to confirm flight status.