Midwest braces for fast-moving winter storm; powerful winds topple trees, big rigs in California: Thursday recap

As a winter storm that trekked across the country and brought snowflakes from New Mexico to Maine continues heading East, the United States on Thursday can expect weather conditions ranging from harsh winds to air stagnation – and yes, more snow.

On the West Coast, a wind advisory will stretch across swaths of Southern California, while parts of the Northwest are under an air stagnation advisory that could impact people with respiratory conditions.

Meanwhile, meteorologists are tracking the next winter storm that could hit the U.S. after brewing in Canada.

FRIDAY WEATHER UPDATES: Winter storm to hit the West, blizzard and dangerous wind chills forecast for some: Friday weather updates

Here’s what you need to know about forecasts across the country on Thursday.

Fast-moving Midwest weekend storm

Meteorologists are tracking a winter storm expected to bring snow from the Rockies to the Great Lakes this weekend, according to AccuWeather.

Arctic air is brewing over northern Canada and expected to move south and race across the central U.S. late this week.Des Moines, Iowa, and Chicago and Detroit could all see snow accumulate quickly in its wake.

Chicago and Detroit could each see as much as 6 to 12 inches of snow by the end of the weekend and travelers should prepare for possible cancelations in and out of the cities on Saturday, AccuWeather reported.

Driving conditions are expected to quickly worsen along interstate 80 going into the weekend, according to AccuWeather.

The National Weather Service in Chicago warned that as more snow accumulates, slippery travel and blustery conditions are possible. Some blowing snow may occur in open areas on Friday and elevated, untreated roads are likely to be coated with snow.

Southern Wisconsin is also likely to see accumulating snow on Saturday, AccuWeather said. The same system will push into portions of southern Michigan and possibly northern Indiana.

Santa Ana winds topple trees, big rigs in Southern California

Powerful Santa Ana winds tore across Southern California on Thursday — topping 100 mph, in parts — blowing over multiple big rigs on several highways and toppling massive 80-to-100 foot-tall trees, including in San Diego’s iconic Balboa Park where a woman was briefly pinned by a eucalyptus.

Gusts hit 112 mph in the San Gabriel Mountains north of Los Angeles and more than 90 mph near Julian in the San Diego County mountains and near Banning Pass in Riverside County, the National Weather Service said.

Multiple trucks were reported blown over on the region’s highways from San Diego to the Los Angeles area. In San Diego County, the California Highway Patrol shut down sections of Interstate 8 after several rigs flipped on their sides, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Police said a 30-year-old woman was struck by a eucalyptus tree in Balboa Park shortly before 8 a.m., and pinned under it briefly. She was taken to a nearby hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Weather: What are Santa Ana winds and why do they strike Southern California?

Air stagnation in the Northwest

Parts of Northern California, Oregon and Washington are under an air stagnation advisory on Thursday and into Friday.

Air stagnation can result in lowered air quality, which can put people with respiratory health problems at risk. Officials also cautioned that people should avoid outdoor burning.

Winter storm watch in the West

A winter storm watch will impact some Idaho, Montana and Wyoming residents into the weekend. Snow accumulations of 12 to 24 inches are possible, with the winter storm watch remaining in effect through Saturday afternoon, the weather service in Missoula, Montana said.

The snow will then move eastward across southern South Dakota and northern and central Nebraska, according to AccuWeather.

Winter storm tracker

National weather radar

Contributing: The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Weather forecast: Winds cross California, a winter storm is on the way