Filed Under:Claims, Catastrophe & Restoration

After hitting California and the Rockies, storm brings blizzard to Midwest

Trucks maneuver along a single, cleared lane in each direction of Interstate 40 west of Flagstaff, Ariz., Monday, Feb. 1, 2016. A winter storm dropped rain and snow on Arizona, creating hazardous driving conditions in some areas while resulting in scattered school closures and delayed openings. (Photo: Arizona DOT via AP Photo)
Trucks maneuver along a single, cleared lane in each direction of Interstate 40 west of Flagstaff, Ariz., Monday, Feb. 1, 2016. A winter storm dropped rain and snow on Arizona, creating hazardous driving conditions in some areas while resulting in scattered school closures and delayed openings. (Photo: Arizona DOT via AP Photo)

A winter storm is expected to dump up to 18 inches of snow across much of the Plains and the Midwest today, with blizzard and white-out conditions forecast for many areas, according to NBC News.

Winter-storm alerts are in effect across at least eight states from Wyoming to Michigan, with strong winds likely to snarl travel and make roads hazardous. Some areas could even see lightning and thundersnow, the Weather Channel said.

Heavy snow was affecting Colorado, Nebraska and parts of Iowa early Tuesday. More than 300 flights were already canceled as at 6 a.m. Eastern, FlightAware reported. Denver was the hardest-hit airport.

The powerful weather system has already delivered record-setting snowfall in Colorado and triggered 3,400 lightning strikes across Arizona early Monday, NBC said.

The winter storm was forecast to spread blizzard conditions in the Plains, Midwest today.

"Blizzard warnings are in effect for northern Kansas, northeast Nebraska, southeastern South Dakota, southwest Minnesota and northern Iowa," Weather Channel lead meteorologist Kevin Roth said.

Minneapolis was forecast to see between 5-8 inches of snow today, with 11 inches forecast for Omaha, 12-18 inches for Sioux City, Iowa, and "about a foot" across Wisconsin, Roth said.

Thunder and lightning was possible amid the snowfall in parts of Nebraska and Iowa.

Even in areas where snowfall has stopped, such as central Nebraska and northwest Kansas, strong winds gusting up to 60 mph were likely to blow the fallen snow around, leading to ground blizzards.

"That will reduce visibility to very poor, with dangerous driving conditions," Roth said. "In white-out conditions you won't be able to see very far in front of you, if at all."

However, the storm is likely to wind down by the end of Wednesday.

California aftermath

Meanwhile, crews worked to repair massive power outages across California Monday where this storm began over the weekend bringing powerful winds, heavy rain and snow, according to CBS Los Angeles.

At the height of the storm, around 143,000 residents were without power.

According to the National Weather Service, a wind advisory was issued warning of winds gusting up to 50 mph.

A motorist was fatally struck by a large oak tree that toppled by a residential street in Pacific Beach in San Diego on Sunday.

Strong winds downed dozens of trees and power poles and ripped off rooftops — and in one case, solar panels — across Southern California, the television station reported.

Wind gusts topped 50 mph in the San Diego area and 65 mph in Malibu, according to the National Weather Service. The highest reading of the day was at Whitaker Peak, north of Castaic, where a gust was recorded at 115 mph.

The storm also churned up high surf along west and northwest-facing beaches. The rough seas prompted authorities to close the piers at Redondo Beach and Manhattan Beach.

Here are some photos from the storm:

California storm

A large tree toppled by strong winds on Temple Street, just missing several parked cars, following a rainstorm with the downtown Los Angeles skyline in the background Sunday, Jan. 31. In the San Diego area, a motorist was fatally struck by a tree that was knocked down by powerful winds as a winter storm moves across California, bringing downpours, wind and snow, authorities said. Strong winds downed dozens of trees and power poles and ripped off rooftops across Southern California. (Photo: Ian Feiner/AP Photo)

California storm

Golf fans leave the course during a weather delay in the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament Sunday, Jan. 31, in San Diego. (Photo: Gregory Bull/AP Photo)

California winds

Fierce winds trailing a daylong storm churn the Pacific Ocean off the Los Angeles community of Playa del Rey on Sunday, Jan. 31. Strong winds downed dozens of trees and power poles and ripped off rooftops across Southern California. The storm also churned up high surf along west and northwest-facing beaches. (Photo: John Antczak/AP Photo)

Arizona snowblower

Flagstaff resident Justin Flint uses a snow blower to clear the sidewalk in front of his house in Flagstaff, Ariz., on Monday, Feb. 1. A storm dropped snow and rain on the region, shuttering schools and making travel difficult. (Photo: Josh Biggs/AP Photo)

Colorado snow

A student looks at her mobile device as she walks through fresh snow on the campus of the University of Colorado, in Boulder, Colo., Monday, Feb. 1. Snow also was falling in parts of Wyoming, New Mexico and Arizona. (Photo: Brennan Linsley/AP Photo)

Related: New York gets back on track after storm, Washington is slower

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