A storm that brought rare snow to Southern California and the Southwest at midweek will spread a swath of snow, ice, rain and travel problems from Chicago to Boston this weekend.
The storm will strengthen and take a path toward the lower Great Lakes. Despite the northward track and seemingly warm conditions forecast, the storm will cause a large swath of wintry trouble.
According to AccuWeather.com Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams, “There will be disruptive snow and ice north of the storm track.”
Heavy snow, substantial ice and drenching rain will be associated with the storm, despite its fast movement. While travel problems will generally be limited to a day or so, areas that receive a heavy amount of ice or wet snow could have lengthy power outages and dangerous travel.
Freezing rain already has caused several accidents and road closures Saturday morning around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Morgantown, West Virginia.
Snow, Wintry Mix to Streak Across Upper Midwest
After depositing a swath of snow and ice over parts of the central and southern Plains to close out the week, a swath of ice and snow will extend northeastward from Iowa, Wisconsin and northwestern Illinois to a large part of of Michigan and Ontario into Saturday night.
A swath of slippery travel will stretch across the general area from Kansas City, Missouri, to Chicago and Detroit. The first part of the storm will occur as ice or a wintry mix, then transition to snow over the Upper Midwest. However, the heaviest snow from the storm will fall north and west of these cities, mainly from Wisconsin to northern Michigan. The heaviest snowfall in the Midwest would occur Saturday night into early Sunday.
People traveling in or through these locations should anticipate slippery roads, flight delays and possible flight cancellations.
Warm air will win the battle in most areas south and east of the storm track with the major form of precipitation being rain with some snow or wintry mix limited to the onset of the storm. Most of the storm will be rain in the Ohio Valley, including the cities of Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Louisville, Kentucky.
Gusty winds, lake-effect snow and snow showers may cause sporadic travel delays in the wake of the storm later Sunday. During Sunday, plunging temperatures in the Ohio Valley states and southeastern Michigan could cause some roads that were previously wet to become icy.
Snow, Ice and Rain to Hit Northeast
Cold air will linger during the first part of the storm in a large portion of the Northeast. Dangerous travel conditions will develop in central and northern New England and the Interstate 81 corridor from northern Virginia northward into New York state. Travel along I-80 in Pennsylvania could be hazardous for a time as well.
The storm will spread over the area from southwest to northeast into Saturday night.
A period of accumulating snow and ice will change to rain around Boston; Albany, New York; Hartford, Connecticut; and State College, Pennsylvania.
From part of central Pennsylvania to upstate New York, northward to northern New England, enough ice buildup can occur to weigh down trees and cause power outages.
According to AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Bernie Rayno, “Northern New England has the potential for a significant snow and ice event with multiple hours of slippery travel on the front side of the storm prior to any warmup.”
“At this time, it appears most locations along the I-95 swath from Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia and New York City would still warm up quickly with all or mostly rain from the storm,” Rayno said.
The storm will then end from west to east on Sunday.
Similar to the Midwest, gusty winds may cause some flight delays Sunday into Monday with lake-effect snow and snow showers from the central Appalachians to the lower Great Lakes.
Rain, Strong Storms to Soak South
Rain, locally gusty winds and low cloud ceilings could still cause flight delays and problems for motorists in a large part of the South this weekend.
Parts of the South may also have to contend with locally gusty thunderstorms as the storm’s cold front swings eastward.
Locally severe thunderstorms may affect the lower Mississippi and Tennessee valleys into Saturday night.
The remnant storms will then shift to part of the southern Atlantic Seaboard on Sunday.