A powerful pre-Thanksgiving winter storm that’s forecast to dump up to a foot of snow from the Rockies to the Great Lakes on Tuesday caused airlines to announce travel alerts and the National Weather Service to issue blizzard and weather warnings.

Hundreds of flights at Denver’s International Airport were canceled on Tuesday. More than 1,000 people were stranded at the airport overnight, the Weather Channel reported.

The Denver metro area has already picked up 7 to 12 inches of snow, the Weather Channel said. Western sections of Boulder, Colorado, have seen up to 20.5 inches. The top storm total so far is 31.7 inches about 11 miles southeast of Estes Park, Colorado, the National Weather Service said.

Interstates were closed in both Colorado and Wyoming due to the snow.

Throughout the day on Tuesday, the storm will shift east and begin moving more quickly, bringing a swath of plowable snow from central Nebraska to southeastern Minnesota by the end of the day, AccuWeather said. 

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A snowplow drives along South County Road 5 in Timnath, Colo. on Monday, Nov. 25, 2019.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area could see its biggest November snowfall in nearly a decade, and travel in northwestern Wisconsin “is going to be chaotic,” said weather service meteorologist Brent Hewett.

On the warmer side of the storm, heavy rain and potentially severe thunderstorms will be the main weather worries on Tuesday afternoon and evening in states such as Missouri, Illinois and Arkansas. Chicago, with its two big airports, should only see rain from the storm, weather service officials said.

Snow and wind will continue from the upper Mississippi Valley into the northern Great Lakes on Wednesday, the Weather Channel said. The strong winds will contribute to more blowing and drifting snow in these areas, resulting in dangerous travel conditions.

Snow will taper off by midday Wednesday, with winds in the Midwest dying down by the evening hours, AccuWeather reported.

However, strong winds will linger in the Northeast on Thanksgiving Day, potentially grounding the big balloons at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, parade organizers said.

A second storm, brewing in the Pacific, was expected to hit the West Coast on Tuesday afternoon or evening, bringing snow to the mountains and wind and rain along the coasts of California and Oregon.

That storm will cross the country over the next several days. It could bring another round of snow to the Upper Midwest from Thursday through Saturday, and a chance of snow this weekend in interior New England, said Alex Lamers, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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Last Modified: November 26, 2019