A winter storm system that brought heavy rain, snow and damaging winds to California over the weekend is now bringing blizzards across central parts of the United States.

Colorado's Front Range is currently being blanketed in its first big snowstorm of the season. Some parts can expect more than 40cm of snow by the end of Tuesday.

Nevada, Wyoming, Arizona and New Mexico have all had cool, wet and wintry weather too.

Increasing snow and strengthening winds are then forecast to head across the plains towards the upper Midwest. By Wednesday, the heaviest snowfall is expected across the Great Lakes into eastern Canada.

Further west, the recent winter storms have done a good job of making a dent in California’s four-year extreme drought.

Wetter weather in the northern mountains has left the snowpack at around 125 percent of the normal value. Even in the much drier south, levels stand at about 96 percent of average.

Tuesday happens to be Groundhog Day when Punxsutawney Phil is expected to make his prediction of either an early spring or six more weeks of winter. With cloudy skies forecast for western Pennsylvania, Phil is unlikely to see his shadow.

Winter has been late across North America and severe when it has set in. If the groundhog gets it right it will go down as a short, sharp one for most with welcome rain and snow in the west.

Source: Al Jazeera