Cold front bringing significant snow and falling temps

National Weather Service map

Looks like winter is going to get serious for the next couple of days.

The latest outlook from the National Weather Service says:

A cold front will plunge through the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest today/tonight (Jan. 11) spreading snow from the Upper Midwest/Upper Great Lakes region to the Ohio Valley. Snow will spread from the Central Appalachians to the Northeast as the fast moving system continues to advance across the eastern states.

Lake effect snows are forecast portions of the Great Lakes and Northeast, with the heaviest lake effect snow bands expected downwind of Lakes Erie and Ontario. Lake effect snow warnings are in effect for western and Upstate New York.

Winter Weather Advisories are in effect for areas east of Lake Michigan. Through Wednesday morning, 1 to 2 feet of additional snow is forecast to occur downwind of Lake Erie, with 1 to 3 feet downwind of Lake Ontario. Wind gusts in excess of 40 mph will also be possible in the lake effect snow bands, reducing visibility as low as a quarter mile at times.

The low pressure system will also produce 4 to 8 inches of snow across much of Maine Tuesday and Tuesday night. A majority of Maine is under Winter Storm Watch.

This arctic airmass moving into the northern tier of the U.S. will lead to temperatures as much as 25 degrees below normal for early January for Tuesday. This frigid airmass will spread into the Ohio valley, and portions of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast by Wednesday.

The Pacific Northwest and California will be face two low pressure systems over the next couple of days.

Rain and higher elevation snow is forecast for today/tonight as a weakening front moves inland. A strong system will approach the West Coast by Tuesday evening, with rain and snow spreading eastward through Wednesday. Stronger winds will accompany this system.

A High Wind Watch is in effect for portions of south-central Oregon and extreme northern California. Sustained wind speeds of 40 to 50 mph with gust even greater will be possible. A Winter Storm Watch is in effect for Wednesday/Thursday (Jan. 13 & 14) for the Sierras as heavy snow is likely. These systems have the potential to bring several inches of rain to coastal areas by Thursday evening- at this point 1 to 5 inches are forecast for locations along the Washington/Oregon/northern California coast.