Extreme drought and winds topping out around 90 mph have created perilous wildfire conditions from Colorado to Oklahoma.
At least 28 wildfires were burning as of Wednesday morning in the Southwest and southern Plains. Winds are expected to subside today as the storm system that produced them moves east.
Fire alerts in Arizona and New Mexico have been posted in advance of more strong winds forecast for Thursday.
As the storm system heads east, winter storm warnings and advisories have been issued for six states, from Nebraska to Illinois.
That system, now in the Plains, is bringing snow from the Dakotas into Iowa.
Rush-hour snow is expected tonight in Milwaukee and Chicago, although downtown Chicago likely will see more rain than powder.
“The storm system is forecast to arrive in the Northeast Thursday morning, with rain falling from New York to Boston and snow in upstate New York and western Pennsylvania.
Heavy snowfalls are expected in southern Minnesota and Northern Iowa, which may see as much as 8 inches through Thursday.
Snow also is possible in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois, as well as western Pennsylvania, upstate New York and parts of New England.