Winter Storm Petra to Spread Its Mess of Snow and Ice From the Southwest to the Midwest and Northeast Through Midweek – The Weather Channel

Winter Safety and Preparedness

Winter Storm Petra Setup

(An area of low pressure will move into cold air supplied by high pressure, resulting in widespread snow and ice from parts of the Midwest to the East.)

  • Winter Storm Petra is currently bringing snow to the southern Rockies and central High Plains.
  • Petra will bring widespread snow and ice to the Midwest and parts of the East Tuesday through Thursday.
  • Poor travel conditions will be the main impact from Petra in many cities.
  • Winter storm warnings include Minneapolis, Des Moines, Iowa, Omaha, Nebraska, Washington D.C. and Baltimore.

Winter Storm Petra will spread a mess of snow and ice toward parts of the Plains and Midwest through Tuesday night before taking aim at the East on Wednesday, potentially snarling commutes in many cities along its path.

Happening Now

Petra is currently dumping snow on the southern Rockies as well as the southern and central Plains.

Parts of the Albuquerque, New Mexico, metro area had seen 1 to 2 inches of snow as of late Tuesday morning.

Thundersnow was reported near Altus, and Clinton, Oklahoma, around 12 p.m. CST Tuesday.

Current Radar

Winter storm warnings, winter storm watches and winter weather advisories have been issued by the National Weather Service for a large area stretching from the southern Rockies to the central and southern Plains, upper Midwest, Ohio Valley, central and southern Appalachians and mid-Atlantic.

Albuquerque, New Mexico, Omaha, Nebraska, Des Moines, Iowa, Minneapolis, Washington D.C. and Baltimore are among the cities included in winter storm warnings.

Winter Weather Alerts

(From the National Weather Service.)


Tuesday-Tuesday Night

  • Snow is expected during the day from New Mexico and Colorado into the Texas Panhandle, western and central Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and possibly parts of Missouri and Iowa.
  • A narrow zone of freezing rain and sleet could slicken roads from west-central Texas into central Oklahoma, southern Missouri and northwestern Arkansas.
  • Snow will expand farther north and eastward into the upper Midwest and Great Lakes Tuesday night. A mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain may expand from central Missouri into the Ohio Valley.
  • Snow or ice may also develop in the mid-Atlantic and southern Appalachians overnight.

Tuesday’s Forecast

(The green shadings depict where rain is expected. Areas that are shaded blue are expected to see snow. Purple-shaded locations may see either rain or snow. Areas in pink are expected to see sleet or freezing rain (ice).)

Wednesday-Wednesday Night

  • Snow will pivot across the upper Midwest and parts of the northern Great Lakes, impacting travel in Des Moines, Iowa, Green Bay, Wisconsin, Minneapolis/St. Paul and Milwaukee.
  • A mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain is likely to impact travel from the southern Great Lakes to the mid-Atlantic and parts of the Northeast.
  • The Washington D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia metros will see accumulating snow, possibly heavy, in the morning before transitioning to a mix of sleet, freezing rain and then plain rain later in the day or evening. This will make the morning and afternoon commute in those cities hazardous.
  • New York City could see a couple inches of snow Wednesday afternoon before changing to rain Wednesday night. The snow may impact the afternoon commute in the tri-state area.
  • The mess of snow and ice will spread across New England Wednesday night, including Boston, where an initial burst of snow is likely to transition to rain.

Wednesday’s Forecast

(The green shadings depict where rain is expected. Areas that are shaded blue are expected to see snow. Purple-shaded locations may see either rain or snow. Areas in pink are expected to see sleet or freezing rain (ice).)


  • Snow and ice may linger in northern New England and northern New York.

Thursday’s Forecast

(The green shadings depict where rain is expected. Areas that are shaded blue are expected to see snow. Purple-shaded locations may see either rain or snow. Areas in pink are expected to see sleet or freezing rain (ice).)

Snow and Ice Forecast

  • Most locations in the Plains and Midwest will pick up less than 6 inches of snow from Winter Storm Petra.
  • The greatest chance for 6-plus-inch snow totals is in parts of the upper Midwest, including from eastern Nebraska to Iowa and southern and central Minnesota.
  • In the East, the greatest chance for a half-foot or more of snow is in the central Appalachians from south-central Pennsylvania to eastern West Virginia and northern Virginia. Portions of northern New England could also see heavier totals near 6 inches.
  • The Washington D.C. and Baltimore metros could see 3 to 6 inches of snow. Snow totals in those cities will depend on how quickly the transition to sleet and freezing rain occurs. A quicker transition would result in snow totals on the lower end of the range and a faster transition would result in snow totals on the higher end of the range.

Snowfall Forecast

  • At least light icing is possible from parts central Oklahoma to the Ozarks, mid-Mississippi Valley, Ohio Valley, Appalachians, mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
  • In most areas, this ice will be an impact for travelers on untreated roads.
  • Some heavier amounts of ice could impact the central Appalachians, causing tree damage and scattered power outages. This includes an area from western North Carolina to western Virginia, eastern West Virginia, northwestern Maryland and south-central Pennsylvania.

Ice Forecast

(Ice accumulations of 0.10 inches or less can cause travel to be extremely dangerous but usually are not damaging to trees and power lines. Source: NOAA)

Winter Storm Petra Recap

Petra moved into the West on Sunday and brought additional heavy snow to California’s Sierra Nevada, snarling travel there.

Snow fell in parts of the Las Vegas metro area late Sunday night. The snow forced a closure of Interstate 15 Monday morning from the south end of the Las Vegas Valley to the California border.

(MORE: Las Vegas Gets Snow For Second Time This February)

Petra brought 14.5 inches of snow to Flagstaff, Arizona, Sunday into Monday.

Here are some select snowfall totals by state from Winter Storm Petra as of early Tuesday.

  • Arizona: 21 inches in Forest Lakes; 14.5 inches in Flagstaff
  • California: 31 inches near South Lake Tahoe
  • Colorado: 12 inches in Wolf Creek Pass and Durango
  • Nevada: 12 inches near Gardnerville Ranch; 6 inches near Reno
  • New Mexico: 8 inches at Ski Santa Fe near Chupadero and at Red River Ski Area
  • Utah: 7 inches at Grand County Airport in Moab

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