A sprawling late-season winter storm is expected to bring a mixed bag of precipitation across a wide swath of the United States through Saturday, raising concerns about hazardous driving conditions and scattered power outages, meteorologists said Friday.
About 20 million people from Tennessee to Maine were under some kind of winter weather warning, according to the National Weather Service. The northeast interior was expected to bear the brunt of the storm.
“It’s a pretty awesome storm system,” Matthew Clay, a meteorologist with the Weather Service in Burlington, Vermont, said Friday. “For the interior of New England, we’re expecting about 7 to 14 inches of snow.”
Snow can fall in some places at a rate of one to two inches per hour and can combine with winds of up to 50 miles per hour, resulting in “bloated, blown snow even after the snow has cleared.” », the weather forecasting center of the service. warned on Twitter Friday afternoon.
“Severely reduced visibility and whiteout conditions will at times make travel extremely dangerous,” the center said.
The center also warned that wet snow could contribute to power outages. Record high temperatures were likely for much of the southeast on Sunday.
Light snow will fall from the southern plains to Wisconsin on Friday behind a cold front moving through the central United States, the weather service said.
This front will strengthen, leading to the development of a major winter storm in the Tennessee and Ohio valleys in the east of the country this weekend.
Areas of northern Texas and southern Oklahoma are expected to receive a few inches of snow through Friday morning. Similar snow totals were expected for areas of eastern Tennessee through Saturday evening, and up to five inches of snow could fall in parts of Kentucky.
Parts of Kansas received up to five inches of snow, the weather service said. Weather warnings prompted Kansas City, Missouri, to close public schools Friday.
Jim Stefkovich, a meteorologist with the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, said that a winter storm warning was issued for northern Alabama from 9 p.m. Friday to 9 a.m. Saturday.
High winds “would produce dangerous single-digit wind chill readings overnight and into Saturday morning,” he said, adding, “You don’t want to be outside in those conditions.”
The northeast was most likely to bear the brunt of snow accumulations, forecasters said. Areas around Albany, NY, could receive up to four inches of snow. Towns further north could receive up to 12 inches.
In Vermontseven to 14 inches of snow was forecast for much of the state, and parts of northern Maine could receive 12 to 18 inches.
A meteorologist said it was not unusual to see a late winter storm system in March.
“March is one of those months where there are years where we see a lot of snow and there are years where we hardly see anything,” Torry Gaucher, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Norton, Mass., said on Friday. .
“Technically, we are in weather spring,” he added. “Calendar-wise, we still have a month before spring really hits.”
Towns closer to the coast, including New York City and Boston, were to receive a mix of rain and snow, with significantly less accumulation. The Boston area could receive at least an inch of snow Saturday and Sunday morning.
This weekend’s storm follows an active winter weather pattern across much of the south and east coast this year.
In early January, back-to-back storms created treacherous driving conditions in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, including a weather system that stranded hundreds of drivers on Interstate 95 in Virginia for more than 24 hours . The storm trapped truckers, students, families and every gang of commuters, including Senator Tim Kaine.
In mid-January, another storm hit the south, killing at least two people and leaving thousands without power before moving north and dropping heavy snowfall on parts of the northeast and Canada. Another January storm swept across the East Coast, causing thousands of flight cancellations and prompting the governors of New York and New Jersey to declare states of emergency. This storm dropped more than 30 inches of snow in parts of Massachusetts.
In early February, another storm hit parts of Texas with snow and sleet, disrupting travel and power. Governor Greg Abbott called it “one of the most significant icing events we’ve had in the state of Texas in at least several decades.” Another storm followed in late February, hitting the northeast with a mix of snow, sleet and rain.
Johnny Diaz contributed report.