Winter Storm Astro Takes Aim at Upper Midwest

A large storm system that was produced by the aftermath of Typhoon Nuri didn’t actually do as much damage as it was predicted to in Alaska. This cell was predicted to hit the Aleutian Islands, but the forecasters said that it is definitely anchoring a larger system that will move a cold blast of freezing air into the mainland United States, and send temperatures plunging downward for the week.

The mainland could see temperatures between 20 to 40 degrees below average this week, according to a statement that the National Weather Service put out on Sunday. A large swath of snow was predicted to move through the northern High Plains and then into the upper Great Lakes by Monday night. Accumulations of up to a foot in portions of Wisconsin and Minnesota can be expected, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan may even see two feet if all goes as predicted.

Winter Storm Astro peaked on Friday, with sustained winds of 70 mph and gusts of up to 96 mph on a small Alaskan island. Even though it has weakened quite a bit, it is helping to change the jet stream for the whole system. This jet stream will cause a surge of freezing air to move from the High Plains into the Central Plains.

On the Shemya Island in Alaska, there were only minor damages reported. The corners of a roof were pulled back and some dumpsters were moved around, but no major damages were reported. Workers with an early warning plant with the U.S military locked themselves on base until the storm passed.

The men who work there are used to extreme weather, even 100 mile mph winds. The small community on this island averages about six weather-related lockdowns a year.

Workers there are accustomed to extreme weather, including 100-mile winds. The community averages six weather-related lockdowns a year. Residents in other parts of the country were expecting the first major winter storm of the season, parts of the South central and southwest of Alaska could see windy, wet, and warmer conditions. The temperatures that were present along the Gulf of Alaska coastline were in the 40’s while the storm hit.

Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota all had winter storm warnings in effect, with up to 5 inches of snow across of the plains of Montana possible and up to 10 inches possible in the mountainous region.

It may be difficult to measure the total amount of snowfall in these areas because the wind is so strong and constantly blowing the accumulated snow around. This is a big deal for the U.S, because the conditions will affect millions.

For this time of year, the highs are typically about 40 degrees in the Great Falls area. The temperatures this week are forecasted to dip about 7 degrees and stay below freezing into the weekend. Lows in the negatives and sub-zero temperatures are also expected.

If we move further to the east, Delta Airlines issued a winter weather waiver that allows the passengers for their flights to not pay for change fees if they rescheduled flights on Monday from/to Minneapolis, Rochester, Sioux Falls, and Green Bay. Any trips that are re-booked must begin no later than Wednesday, or a fare difference may apply.

Last year’s winter was harsh, and people are prepared this year. According to the owner of a hardware store in Minnesota, more people are reaching for the snow blowers instead of shovels this year.