Sat. Jan 22nd, 2022

More than 65 million people in the affected areas are under alarm over winter weather, the National Weather Service said.

“A strong growing storm over the Lower Mississippi Valley will move east toward southeast on Sunday morning, then head northeast to the North Mid-Atlantic on Monday,” the National Weather Service Prediction Center said early Saturday.

Heavy snow is forecast early Sunday over parts of the Central / Southern Appalachians and the Mid-Atlantic region, NWS said.

Rain, snow, sleet and freezing rain – or a combination of all these – will make the journey difficult during the three-day holiday weekend in the affected areas.

Bookmark this site to see if snow is forecast for your region

A shard of 8 to 12 inches of snow was recorded over parts of North Dakota on Friday.

From there, the system dived deeper south, heading into Missouri, Arkansas and Kansas.

“How quickly surface temperatures drop below freezing, and therefore how quickly rain shifts to snow, will play a large role in determining how much snow accumulates,” said the NWS office in Topeka, Kansas.

Southeast can get a mix of everything

For much of the southeast, this system begins in the form of rain on Saturday.

As temperatures drop, the rain will shift to freezing rain, sleet and eventually snow in many places.

Emergencies were declared by governors of Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, making it possible to locate assets and resources prior to the arrival of the storm.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp ordered the State Department of Defense to prepare 1,000 National Guard troops to help respond to the storm.

In South Carolina, Gov. Henry McMaster urged residents to monitor local weather forecasts and take precautions.

It is never easy to predict winter weather in the southeast, as the timing often comes down to the cord.

“These different types of winter precipitation are very sensitive to small changes,” said Kyle Thiem, a meteorologist at the NWS office in Atlanta. “A change of just a degree or two can mean the difference from relatively harmless rainfall to very effective ice and snow accumulations.”

However, it is the slow forward speed of this system that provides the setup for a crippling ice storm that could knock the power out to millions.

The Carolinas will be the region most likely to experience the ice, with cities like Charlotte and Columbia potentially seeing as much as half an inch of ice, which along with strong winds will topple trees and power lines.

An ice storm warning was issued for parts of South Carolina prior to this system and is effective from late Saturday night to Sunday night.

“Significant amounts of ice accumulation will make travel dangerous or impossible. Travel is strongly discouraged,” according to the NWS office in Greenville, South Carolina.
NWS warns that ice accumulations will be very dangerous along and east of I-85 including Spartanburg, South Carolina, all the way up to Salisbury, North Carolina. This includes the entire Charlotte metro area.

In the southern Appalachian Mountains, the amount of snow will increase as fast as the altitude does. Asheville, North Carolina, for example, is expected to take 8-12 inches up, but can reach 20 inches at altitudes above 4,000 feet.

Mid-Atlantic and northeast

The storm will turn to the east coast Sunday and Monday, with heavy snow of more than a foot expected in some places.

Some snow will fall in the major metro areas of Washington, DC, Philadelphia, New York and Boston, but a change to rain will keep the accumulations down.

“At this point, the most likely scenario for most is a heavy snowfall on the front as the storm moves into the region Sunday afternoon, followed by ice during the evening and heavy rain possibly in areas near and east of I-95. , “the NWS office in Baltimore said Friday morning. “At present, icing is not expected to reach our extreme western zones, where the heaviest snow on one foot or more is possible.”
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Inner cities like Charleston, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Syracuse and Burlington, Vermont, will see the heaviest snow.

What helps the northeast is that long before most of the snow comes, very cold air and dangerous wind chills will be in place.

Wind cooling alarms are in effect for over 20 million people Friday and Saturday, as feel-like temperatures can drop as low as 40 to 45 below zero in large parts of inner New England.

“The dangerously cold cold winds can cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 10 minutes,” the NWS warned.

CNN meteorologists Chad Myers, Dave Hennen, Monica Garrett and Haley Brink contributed to this story

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