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Winter Storm Harper, Now Hammering the West; Will Be a Major Snowstorm Friday Into the Weekend From the Midwest to the Northeast

Winter Storm Harper is already pummeling parts of the West with heavy snow and will spread its mess of snow, ice and wind into the Plains, Midwest and Northeast into this weekend.

Harper’s heaviest snow, so far, is in the Sierra Nevada of California, where blizzard warnings were posted. Early Thursday morning, Lone Pine, California, reported 5 inches of snow had fallen in just 2 hours.

That storm will tap into cold air once it moves through the central and eastern states Friday through the weekend, delivering a widespread swath of significant snow.

Winter storm watches have already been posted by the National Weather Service for over 18 million residents in the Northeast, including Boston, Hartford, Providence, Albany, Syracuse, Buffalo and Rochester, New York. Watches have also been posted in parts of South Dakota.

Winter weather advisories and warnings are posted throughout the Mountain West, which will feel the effects of Harper on Thursday.

Additional watches, warnings and advisories will be issued in the days ahead.

Here’s a look at what we know right now, but keep in mind that changes to this forecast are likely since we are still a few days away.

Forecast Timing

Prior to Harper, there will be a separate, weaker weather system that will spread light snow, sleet and freezing rain through parts of the Midwest and Northeast through Friday. This system could make for slick commutes in these areas.

(MAPS: 7-Day U.S. Rain, Snow, Ice Forecasts)

Winter Storm Harper follows that first weaker system.


  • Harper will spread snow into the Rockies Thursday, with lowering snow levels in the Sierra Nevada and Cascades.
  • Snow will begin to spread into the northern Plains Thursday night.\


  • Snow will continue over the Rockies, including down to valley floors.
  • Snow, possibly heavy, will continue to spread into the Plains states.
  • Increasing wind may lead to blizzard conditions in some areas.
  • Friday night, snow should spread east into the lower Great Lakes, and any rain may change to snow in Kansas, parts of Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle.
  • Some sleet or freezing rain may develop Friday night in parts of Missouri, southern Illinois and Indiana.