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National Weather at 145pm December 29 2004


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Ice and snow target northern Plains, Upper Midwest

1:46 P.M. ET 12/29/2004


Senior Meteorologist, The Weather Channel




While a large chunk of the Midwest and Plains will be unseasonably mild tomorrow, wintry weather will stalk locations from eastern Montana to northern Minnesota and extreme northern Wisconsin. Freezing rain and sleet will ice the northern reaches of the Upper Midwest, while wind-whipped snow is expected to take center stage during the course of the day across the northern Plains; snowfall amounts could reach 8 inches in some spots. Elsewhere, light rain is a good bet around the Great Lakes, with some scattered light showers or drizzle possible in the lower Midwest. Temperatures over most of the region will be well above early winter norms with highs ranging from the 20s in northern North Dakota to the 70s in south-central Kansas. Gusty southwest winds will hurl the milder air across the lakes and lower Midwest.



On the heels of today's departing California storm, another will drop southward along the Pacific Coast tomorrow. And while much of the West will once again be forced to deal with rain and mountain snow—northern and central California especially—Southern California will get a chance to towel off. Meanwhile, the northern two-thirds of the state will face a return of moderate to heavy rains with maximum amounts, probably several inches, targeting the northwest mountains. But the big show will be in the Sierras where heavy snow will fall, likely continuing right into Friday. Total amounts could reach two to five feet along the western slopes of the mountains with as much as six feet in the higher elevations around Lake Tahoe. Snow levels tomorrow are expected to be between 4000 and 5000 feet. High temperatures in the 30s and 40s will be widespread throughout the West, although readings in the 50s and 60s will be more common in the lower elevations of central and southern California, Arizona and New Mexico.



Outside of some scattered light showers or sprinkles developing over western New York, western Pennsylvania and West Virginia tomorrow, the Northeast should remain dry. High temperatures will range from slightly below end-of-December means in northern Maine to above seasonal averages from New York state south. Overall, maxima will range from the teens across northern Maine to the 50s south of Philadelphia.



The South is expected to remain dry tomorrow, although there could be an isolated shower or sprinkle here and there in eastern Texas and Arkansas. Hardly enough to worry about, however. Temperatures, meanwhile, will continue their spring-like trend with highs ranging from the upper 50s in parts of northern North Carolina to the low 80s in far south Texas. Most of the region will see maxima in the 60s and 70s.

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