The Midwest's second major winter storm of the season is plowing across the region today and tomorrow, just in time for the holidays.
Blizzard warnings were out for the Dakotas, and heavy snowfall was forecast today for Minnesota and Wisconsin. Michigan, which is on the eastern side of a low pressure area heading up through the Great Lakes, was expecting a possible ice storm in the northern Lower Peninsula later tonight and lingering into Christmas morning. The lower Midwest was experiencing mostly rain out of the storm.
Travel will be difficult or impossible across much of the region today and into tomorrow, but resort operators expect the storm's timing will not be a problem for holiday skiers and riders.
Operators of Indianhead Mountain Resort in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, on the western edge of the storm, weren't worried about it.
"The winter storm came at the right time for us," said VP Dave Nyquist. "We don't experience major crowds until the day after Christmas, and the storm will have bypassed us by then. It's delivering some great snow for us just in time for the holidays. Thanks Santa."
It appeared to be the same across the Lower Peninsula of Michigan as well.
"We are expecting icing overnight, but it looks as if it won't be as bad as the lower Midwest," said Shanty Creek spokesperson Judy Stilwell. "Our major crowds start arriving the day after Christmas, and we should be fine by then. Lake effect snowfall will have kicked in as the storm passes. It will be the frosting on our resort for the holidays. We could receive several inches of new snow, and we'll be making snow as well."
In the lower Midwest it was mostly rain today.
"The ski resort is closed today with all the rain we're getting," said a resort operator at Chestnut Mountain, near Galena, Ill. "We are planning on being open again tomorrow on Christmas Day, and the forecast is for snow and cold weather to move back in. The slopes are will covered, and the new snow should make everything fine for the rest of the holiday period."