Two weather systems traversing the country this week will bring strong winds, heavy snow and severe thunderstorms to the lower 48 degrees through Thursday.

As of Monday morning, nearly 20 million people were under wind warnings from California to Arkansas and nearly 10 million people were under winter warnings in parts of the West Coast, the Rocky Mountains and the upper Midwest.

The first storm will stage Monday in the Rocky Mountains and Four Corners region, where it is expected to bring some snow on the mountains and wind gusts up to 60 mph.

As the storm system moves east on Tuesday, it will bring heavy rain to the Central Plains and Midwest and some snow to the Upper Midwest.

Minneapolis is the largest metropolitan area that could see a few inches of snow from this first storm, with snow forecast to fall Tuesday through noon Wednesday.

The second storm will be the stronger of the two.

It is expected to bring some snow to the Rocky Mountain and Four Corners regions on Tuesday, before strengthening, expanding in size, and heading east on Wednesday.

By Wednesday, it will bring snow from Denver to the Central Plains as severe storms rage in parts of Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. Up to 8 million people are at risk from damaging winds, isolated tornadoes and large hail with cities to watch including Dallas, Memphis, Tennessee, Little Rock, Arkansas and Shreveport, Louisiana.

On Thursday, snow will spread into the Midwest and the Great Lakes region, meaning cities like Des Moines, Iowa, Madison, Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and Chicago could see measurable snow. At the same time, severe storms will be possible for a large area encompassing 30 million people stretching from Cleveland to Mobile, Alabama. Other cities at risk for severe storms include Cincinnati, Nashville, Tennessee, Birmingham, Alabama, and Jackson, Mississippi.

Second Storm System Snow Times and Totals:

  • Denver expects snow Tuesday night through Wednesday; gusty winds and 1 to 5 inches of snow possible.
  • Kansas City, Missouri should see rain changing to snow Wednesday night and continuing through noon Thursday; up to a couple of inches of snow may be dusted.
  • Des Moines, Iowa will see snow Wednesday night through noon Thursday; 2 to 4 inches of snow are possible.
  • Chicago can expect a dusting of a couple inches of snow Wednesday night through Thursday.

One of the ingredients that will fuel severe thunderstorms will be spring heat, especially late in the week.

Highs of 15 to 25 degrees above average will lead to about three dozen all-time highs from the Great Lakes to the Northeast. Highs in the 60s and 70s for millions will make it feel more like April than mid-February.

Some cities that could set all-time highs this week include Green Bay, Wisconsin, Cleveland, Paducah, Kentucky, and Boston, which is forecast to hit a high in the mid-60s by Thursday.

That same day, New York City will hit 60 degrees and Washington, DC, could hit 70 degrees.