A winter storm swept across the Southwest and into the Great Plains on Wednesday, threatening as much as 2 feet of snow in some places and forcing the suspension of play at a pro golf tournament in Arizona.
“A busy clubhouse here in Tucson,” golfer Graeme McDowell posted on Twitter from the WGC/Accenture Match Play Championship at Dove Mountain. “Hot chocolates and teas and generally trying to warm up again.”
The storm had already left dozens of cars stranded on California roads. Treacherous weather there caused collisions that resulted in minor injuries. Part of busy Interstate 5 south of Bakersfield was closed because of ice.
As it moved east, the storm was expected to bring as much as 16 inches of snow to Flagstaff, Ariz., and high wind and blowing dust to Albuquerque, N.M., The Weather Channel reported.
In Colorado, transportation officials steeled for one of the most significant snows of the season. The western half of the state was bracing for as much as 10 inches of snow, The Weather Channel said.
The storm was expected to deliver a harder hit to the Plains. Snow was accumulating quickly Wednesday in Oklahoma, and NBC affiliate KSN reported that roads were packed with snow in southwest Kansas. Schools and churches in both states closed.
The storm picked up strength from moist air streaming up from the Gulf of Mexico and a blast of cold air delivered by an arctic high-pressure system over the Plains.
By Thursday, parts of Kansas could see 2 feet of snow, Nebraska up to a foot and a half and Iowa up to a foot. Sleet and freezing rain could snarl travel in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri, The Weather Channel reported.
By Friday, the threat of ice will reach parts of Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky and into the Appalachian Mountains, forecasters said.
Forecasting models say parts of New England, including Boston, could be in for more snow this weekend — perhaps a foot or more in inland parts of Massachusetts and points north.