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More disruptive storms with snow, ice and rain eye Midwest

By Alex Sosnowski • Feb 15, 2019 at 3:54 PM

Following a narrow stripe of wintry mix into Saturday, two more storms with snow, ice and rain will affect many areas from the Midwest to the northeastern United States through next week.

The storms will produce enough wintry precipitation to cause slippery roads, raise the need for deicing of aircraft and trigger school delays and cancellations.

While the narrow stripe of wintry mix will miss many of the major hubs into the first part of this weekend, one or both of the two storms lined up will hit the major airport hubs of Chicago, Detroit, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City and Boston.

Travel along long stretches of Interstate 70, 80, 81, 87, 90 and 95 will be affected.

One storm will originate from the northwestern U.S., and the other will swing up from the Gulf of Mexico.

 

First storm to be somewhat disorganized, yet troublesome for travel

The first storm will be somewhat starved of moisture and may have gaps in the precipitation across areas from the Midwest to the Northeast as a result.

Accumulations with this event spanning late Saturday to early Monday will generally range from a coating to a few inches.

Snow is forecast to break out from Montana to southern Iowa and northern Missouri spanning Saturday and Saturday night. A batch of ice or a wintry mix is in store over parts of southern Missouri and southeastern Kansas.

During Sunday, snow and flurries will extend eastward across much of Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, as well as the southern parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. An icy or wintry mix is likely to be focused near the Ohio River.

By Sunday night, some snow is forecast to push across parts of Pennsylvania, New York state, New Jersey and New England.

A wintry mix may extend across portions of West Virginia, northern Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and southern New Jersey to close out the weekend.

During Monday morning, the snow will wind down over New York state and New England.

 

Second storm to bring areas of heavy snow, ice and rain

The big storm of the bunch will roll northeastward from the Gulf coast on Tuesday, and it will track along or just west of the Appalachians on Wednesday and then exit the Northeast states on Thursday.

Since this storm will have a great deal of moisture available to it from the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, a substantial amount of precipitation is likely.

Heavy rain is likely to fall on parts of the lower Mississippi, Tennessee and Ohio valleys, southern Appalachians and the lower part of the mid-Atlantic. Enough rain may fall to cause flooding problems.

However, as the storm encounters progressively colder air to the north, areas of ice, wintry mix and snow are in store. The storm and its moisture, similar to the storm from early this past week, will run into a dome of Arctic air over New England. High pressure associated with that Arctic air will put up some resistance and keep some areas below freezing until the very last gasp of the storm.

At this time, one of the areas that may have to deal with a heavy buildup of ice may extend from eastern West Virginia to northwestern Virginia, western and central Maryland to parts of central and southern Pennsylvania.

Critical to the potential for widespread power outages and downed trees will be the form the ice takes. Sleet would tend to bounce off these elevated surfaces while freezing rain would adhere to them.

A swath of snow is likely to extend from parts of northwestern Texas to northern Illinois, Wisconsin, northern Michigan, northern New York state and northern New England.

The wintry mix zone with snow, rain and some ice may encompass a broad area from north-central Texas to central Illinois, northern Pennsylvania, southern New York state, northern New Jersey and southern New England.

At this time, while it is likely that part of the I-95 swath from Washington, D.C., to Boston will get enough snow to shovel and plow, the entire zone will not. The northward advance of the rain, ice and snow line may grind to a halt over the Midwest and Northeast and only penetrate so far inland in the mid-Atlantic and New England.

How quickly warm air moves up from the south and where cold air holds its ground may depend on how fast a second storm forms along the mid-Atlantic coast and whether or not its circulation may be enough to keep cold air from the north wedged in for an extended period.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Alex Sosnowski is an AccuWeather senior meteorologist.

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