Dangerous travel, may be impossible in spots

Travel overnight into Thursday morning will be slowed due to falling snow and eventually increasing winds. It will still be possible to travel south and east overnight, but you will be slowed and you will need to use caution. But past sunrise, it will become progressively more difficult and dangerous.

From Thursday night through Saturday morning, strong northwest wind gusts in the 35-50+ mph range will be pounding the area. On the travel scene, widespread areas of drifting snow will occur. Also whiteouts/blizzard conditions will be nearly constant.

Conditions in town may seem drastically different than out of town in wide open, rural areas. Areas away from town will be the hardest hit and where the most dangerous conditions will be observed.

There is a very real threat that road crews will not be able to keep up with the amount of drifting that will occur, meaning roads possibly drifting shut, stranding motorists that may be trying to traverse the area. County roads will likely see the worst impacts and see them first. State and federal roads may be impacted later.

The danger isn’t just becoming stranded, it’s becoming stranded in brutal wind chills and widespread sub-zero temperatures for three days on end. Should you be stranded in these conditions, unprepared to spend time in them, it will be a life-threatening situation. In some cases, stranded motorist may be in the elements for hours on end.

With that in mind, from sunset Thursday to sunrise Saturday only emergency travel is recommended. If you absolutely need to head out, have a winter weather survival kit ready with means to stay protected from the elements, food and water, along with heat and energy sources.

Past Saturday morning. Some roads may remain closed and it will likely take a couple days to return some roads back to something seasonal. Travel will be difficult on Saturday, especially with the amount of people expected to be traveling. Past the possibility of still some road closures, expect thick, compacted ice with areas of snow drifting/blowing across the road. Christmas Sunday will be a bit easier but still may not be back to winter normalcy.