A late-winter storm combining rivers of moisture and frigid temperatures is expected to dump snow from the Deep South to the Canadian border over the weekend, with more than 20 million Americans under a winter storm warning as of Friday evening.
Snowfall totals could range from about one to three inches in northern parts of Alabama and Mississippi to about 13 inches in northern Maine. More than a foot of snow is possible in places like New York and New England.
The storm could cause travel problems and power outages across a wide part of the Eastern U.S. from late Friday through early next week.
The storm is first passing through the Central U.S., threatening parts of the Central Gulf Coast, Georgia, the Florida Panhandle and the Carolinas with severe thunderstorms from Friday night into Saturday, CNN reported.
The system is referred to by some as an ominous-sounding ‘bomb cyclone,’ which forms when a storm decreases in pressure by 24 millibars in under 24 hours.
The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning from the Deep South to Northern Maine. Several school districts from Kansas to Pennsylvania have announced they’re shutting down ahead of the late-winter storm.
More than 500 fights within the U.S. were already cancelled Friday and 6,404 are reporting possible delays, according to tracking website FlightAware. For Saturday, 495 flights have already been cancelled.
‘With this bomb cyclone, maybe what’s the biggest concern is how late in the season it’s coming and that it’s traveling over inland areas,’ said Judah Cohen, a winter storm expert for Atmospheric Environmental Research, a commercial firm outside of Boston.
About 21.4 million people are under some sort of winter storm warning, the NWS told DailyMail.com on Friday. About 56 million are under a winter weather advisory.
A late-winter storm passing through the central US and heading northeast will dump snow from the Deep South to the Canadian border over the weekend
The storm is threatening parts of the central Gulf Coast, Georgia, the Florida Panhandle and the Carolinas with severe thunderstorms from Friday night into Saturday
Strong winds combined with snowfall ‘will make for extremely dangerous travel’ in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast on Saturday, according to the National Weather Service. Above, emergency crews respond to vehicles off the road in Putney, Vermont on Wednesday
The NWS warns that six to 12 inches of snow are likely over much of the interior Northeast
And that’s bad news for plants that acted as if spring was here.
Many crops and plants in the Southeast have started to bud because of warmer weather up until now and the freezing cold temperatures – maybe record low – that are expected on the back end of this bomb cyclone could cause some serious damage, Cohen said.
The National Weather Service (NWS) is reporting the possibility of ‘heavy rain and possible flash flooding’ for Northern Florida and Southeastern Georgia starting Friday night and ‘waning’ Saturday morning.
The Tennessee and Ohio River valleys may see about four to six inches of snow, CNN reported.
‘Farther east, rain will change to snow for the Mid-Atlantic states into southern New England early Saturday as winds turn to northwesterly and increase in speed,’ the NWS says.
‘Snowfall rates of one to two inches per hour are expected to combine with winds gusting up to 50 mph which will make for extremely dangerous travel given significant reductions to visibility on Saturday.’
More than a foot of snow is possible in places like Upstate New York and Northern New England.
‘The highest snowfall accumulations are expected over central and northern New York into northern New England where 6 to over 12 inches are likely,’ the NWS said.
‘It’s a pretty impressive storm system,’ Matthew Clay, a meteorologist with the Weather Service in Burlington, Vermont, said in an interview with The New York Times on Friday.
‘For interior New England, we’re expecting pretty much a widespread seven to 14 inches of snow.’
A reporter from earlier on Friday shows the area that will be impacted by the snow, stretching from northern Alabama and Mississippi, through the Tennessee and Ohio valleys and through the Northeast
School districts from Kansas City to Pittsburgh have already announced closures. Above, people walk across Main Street as snow falls in Brattleboro, Vermont on Wednesday
Multiple school districts in Kansas City had already announced they would be closed on Thursday due to the storm, according to WDAF.
On Friday, Overland Park, Kansas had the most snow in the area with 5.7 inches, followed by Harrisonville, Missouri with 5.5 inches and Liberty, Missouri, which saw five inches, the new channel said.
Multiple school districts in the Pittsburgh area announced they would be closing, according to KDKA.
Snow in Pittsburgh could reach up to six inches, with the worst weather happening between early Saturday until noon that day, CNN reported.
A cold front is also pushing east and bringing temperatures down by 30 degrees below average from Texas to Minnesota on Friday.
Single-digit wind chills may be felt in the Great Lakes and the Northeast into the weekend.
A bomb cyclone has nothing to do with explosions, except in how explosive a storm develops. It is when a storm intensifies rapidly by losing pressure quickly, dropping at least 24 millibars in 24 hours.
The NWS is reporting the possibility of ‘heavy rain and possible flash flooding’ for northern Florida and southeastern Georgia starting Friday night and ‘waning’ Saturday morning. Above, a child runs through a puddle in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida on Friday
A cold front is also pushing east and bringing temperatures down by 30 degrees below average from Texas to Minnesota on Friday. Above, a person walks by the University of Pittsburgh on Wednesday
In this case, computer models forecast this storm to drop from around 1006 millibars in Alabama, be down to around 976 in Boston and in the 960s by the time it hits Canada, Cohen said.
There are usually several bomb cyclones a winter near the East, but many are over the ocean and no one is affected, Cohen said. This is at least the third for the East Coast this winter, he said.
‘This one is happening a little closer to land so it gets a little more attention, because if it[s just a fish storm, who cares?’ Cohen said. ‘It’s not like it’s that unusual.’
It’s late in the season for bomb cyclones so this is likely the last one at least for the Southeast, maybe even the rest of the coast, too, Cohen said.
In New York’s state capital of Albany, a St. Patrick’s Day parade that had been scheduled for Saturday was postponed a week because of the approaching storm.
After two years of coronavirus cancellations, ‘the Parade Committee would rather wait one more week to put this snowstorm behind us, so we can enjoy the event safely together,’ co-chair Tim Carey said in a statement.