Snow storm forecast to wallop East Coast takes shape over Plains

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Colossal Snowstorm Aims at East Coast, DC Tries to Recover from First Hit

A colossal winter storm forecast to bring heavy snow to at least 15 states over the weekend was taking shape over the Plains early Thursday.

The impact of the storm was daunting: 80 million people were under either a blizzard watch, winter storm watch, winter storm warning, winter weather advisory or freezing rain advisory as of Thursday morning.

Meteorologists predict the storm will focus most of its power on Washington, D.C., which could see around 2 feet of snow and dangerous blizzard conditions from Friday through Sunday. NBC meteorologist Bill Karins said the impact of the storm could be "historic" for the nation's capital, Baltimore, Maryland, and Charlotte, North Carolina.

A patchwork of winter storm watches and advisories were in effect over a 1,300-mile area from New Jersey to Mississippi and up as far as Nebraska.

Major cities in the mammoth watch area included Philadelphia; Baltimore; Richmond, Virginia; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Memphis and Nashville in Tennessee.

See how the snow caused Washington to grind to a halt:

21 PHOTOS
Washington D.C. grinds to a halt after an inch of snow
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Snow storm forecast to wallop East Coast takes shape over Plains
Traffic is bumper to bumper and mostly at a stand-still on the outer loop of the I-495 Capital Beltway after snow fell Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016, in National Harbor, Md. As Washington prepares for this weekend's snowstorm, now forecast to reach blizzard conditions, a small clipper system pushed through the region Wednesday night causing massive delays and issues on the roads. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
A woman walks through steam in a snow storm as she crosses the street in Washington, DC on January 20, 2016. / AFP / Andrew Caballero-Reynolds (Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: The first measurable snowfall is seen around the White House January 20, 2016 in Washington, DC. President Obama had to motorcade back to the White House from Andrews Joint Base due to the wintery weather. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: Ernestine Tyus puts the last item on her list, a snow shovel, into the back of her van after loading up on supplies ahead of a potentially historic winter storm, on January, 20, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Drivers confer outside of their cars after a collision on January 20, 2016 in Washington, DC. The region received a light snowfall ahead of the expected January 22, 2016 blizzard. / AFP / Mandel Ngan (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A man uses a snow blower to clear the sidewalk of snow in Washington, DC on January 20, 2016. / AFP / Andrew Caballero-Reynolds (Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman crosses the street as it snows in Washington, DC on January 20, 2016. / AFP / Andrew Caballero-Reynolds (Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: Hoyt Scott, left, rings up a few bags of snowmelt for customer Stephanie Lyon, right, in WS Jenks hardware store as citizens seek snow fighting supplies ahead of a potentially historic winter storm, on January, 20, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Traffic is bumper to bumper and mostly at a stand-still on the outer loop of the I-495 Capital Beltway after snow fell Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016, in National Harbor, Md. As Washington prepares for this weekend's snowstorm, now forecast to reach blizzard conditions, a small clipper system pushed through the region Wednesday night causing massive delays and issues on the roads. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
A driver is seen outside of his car after a collision on January 20, 2016 in Washington, DC. The region received a light snowfall ahead of the expected January 22, 2016 blizzard. / AFP / Mandel Ngan (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A man bikes on a road through the snow in Washington, DC on January 20, 2016. / AFP / Andrew Caballero-Reynolds (Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 22: Sleigh riders hit the hill during a snow storm on the House side of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC on January 22, 2016. The storm is expected to bring up to two feet in the DC metro area by Sunday. (Photo by Linda Davidson / The Washington Post via Getty Images)
A man shovels snow off the roof of his porch during a snowstorm in Washington on January 23, 2016. A deadly blizzard with bone-chilling winds and potentially record-breaking snowfall slammed the eastern US on Saturday, as officials urged millions in the storm's path to seek shelter -- warning the worst is yet to come. US news reports said at least eight people had died by late Friday from causes related to the monster snowstorm, which is expected to last until early Sunday. / AFP / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 23: A man uses a snow blower to clear a sidewalk as another spreads salt in front of the shuttered Georgia Ave.-Petworth metro station on January 23, 2016 in Washington, DC. Over a foot of snow has already fallen in the city in the past 24 hours, in what experts say could be a record-breaking storm. (Photo by Allison Shelley/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 23: A Metro employee digs out his stuck snow plow near the Georgia Ave.-Petworth metro station on January 23, 2016 in Washington, DC. Over a foot of snow has already fallen in the city in the past 24 hours, in what experts say could be a record-breaking storm. (Photo by Allison Shelley/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 23: Plastic flowers peek through falling snow in the Parkview neighborhood on January 23, 2016 in Washington, DC. Over a foot of snow has already fallen in the city in the past 24 hours, in what experts say could be a record-breaking storm. (Photo by Allison Shelley/Getty Images)
A statue is seen in front of the US Capitol in Washington, DC, as snow continues to fall on January 22, 2016. A monster blizzard threatening the US East Coast slammed into Washington on January 22, blanketing the nation's capital in snow as officials urged millions in the storm's path to seek shelter, warning the worst was yet to come. AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN / AFP / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 22: Garrett Finnell, left, his sister, Karalyn Finnell, left center, of Oklahoma City, OK and their cousin, Amanda Finnell, center, of Washington, DC work on building a snowman near the White House on Friday January 22, 2016 in Washington, DC. A large snow event was being predicted for Washington, DC area. (Photo by Matt McClain/ The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Women walk on a snow-covered Connecticut Avenue, a normally busy throughfare, in Washington, DC on January 23, 2016. A deadly blizzard with bone-chilling winds and potentially record-breaking snowfall slammed the eastern US on January 23, as officials urged millions in the storm's path to seek shelter -- warning the worst is yet to come. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
People cross a snow bank to get to the sidewalk on a residential street in Washington, DC on January 23, 2016. A deadly blizzard with bone-chilling winds and potentially record-breaking snowfall slammed the eastern US on January 23, as officials urged millions in the storm's path to seek shelter -- warning the worst is yet to come. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
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"This will be bad," said Kevin Roth, lead meteorologist at The Weather Channel. "It is going to snow hard and it's going to be hard for road crews to keep up so driving will be difficult."

Roth added that the weather would likely impact air travel.

D.C. authorities said the city has 14 new dump trucks ready to be deployed to salt and plow major streets, along with six new trucks for residential streets, NBC Washington reported.

READ MORE: 1 Inch of Snow Paralyzes D.C. -- and There's 24 More on Way

If 2 feet of snow fall in the nation's capital, it will be the city's second-biggest snowstorm ever: The largest was a 1922 storm that produced 28 inches.

Parts of Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina were forecast for at least 1 foot of snow, and at least 6 inches was set to fall north up the I-95 corridor through New York City and Philadelphia.

More than 3 inches was also expected in parts of Kentucky, Tennessee, and southern parts of Indiana and Ohio.

SEE MORE: Will East Coast Storm Top These Monsters?

Despite the storm being days away, a woman had to be rescued by by firefighters after driving her car into a frozen river near Ashland City, Tennessee.

A vehicle accident on River Road this afternoon left one young lady cold and wet but not injured. Firefighters with The Ashland City Fire Department used a swift water raft to rescue her.

Posted by Ashland City Fire Department on Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Although the real weather was not set to start until Friday, the early stages of the system had begun to dump localized snow over parts of the central Plains on Wednesday night, according to The Weather Channel.

As at 5:18 a.m., there were scattered patches of snow over South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, and Arkansas.

This system was expected to move eastward through Thursday and Friday before intensifying on Friday night.

RELATED: See extreme winter weather from around the globe:

25 PHOTOS
Severe winter weather across the globe
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Snow storm forecast to wallop East Coast takes shape over Plains
Citizens take 'selfies' on the seafront at the Corniche, or waterfront promenade, in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016. Temperatures in Beirut took a dip reaching 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit) at night. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
Spectators attend the ladies 12,5 kilometer mass start competition at the Biathlon World Cup during heavy snow fall on January 16, 2016 in Ruhpolding, southern Germany. Czech Gabriela Soukalova won the competition, German Franziska Hildebrand placed second and German Laura Dahlmeier placed third. / AFP / Christof STACHE (Photo credit should read CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images)
Two ice breakers move along the frozen Moskva River with the Kremlin in the background during snowfall in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016. Moscow was hit by a heavy snowfall Tuesday, which led to the cancellation of dozens of flights at the city airports as temperatures dipped to -10 C (14 F) in Moscow. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
A man speaks on mobile phone as he stands in the park as snow falls in the Belarus capital Minsk, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016. Winter weather with snow continues to prevail in Belarus. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
A tourist boat with restaurant aboard, especially designed for winter rivers, cruises the frozen Moskva River in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016. Temperatures dipped to -18 C (-0,4 F) in Moscow and -20 C (-4 F) in surrounding regions. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Snow covers the landscape near Braunschweig, central Germany, on January 18, 2016. / AFP / dpa / Julian Stratenschulte / Germany OUT (Photo credit should read JULIAN STRATENSCHULTE/AFP/Getty Images)
CAPTION ADDS THE DATE - Pedestrians walk along the banks of the Neris river as temperatures dipped to -22 degrees Celsius (-7.6 degrees Fahrenheit) in Vilnius, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)
TOPSHOT - A man walks at the Poklonnaya Gora War Memorial Park after heavy snowfall in Moscow on January 13, 2016. AFP PHOTO / DMITRY SEREBRYAKOV / AFP / DMITRY SEREBRYAKOV (Photo credit should read DMITRY SEREBRYAKOV/AFP/Getty Images)
HAKKARI, TURKEY - JANUARY 1: A man clears snow off his parked car in Hakkari, Turkey on January 1, 2016. Snow has covered parts of Hakkari overnight, causing major road closures as wild weather continues across the city. (Photo by Gokhan Gucukluoglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
HAKKARI, TURKEY - JANUARY 1: A man pulls his vehicle during the snowfall in Hakkari, Turkey on January 1, 2016. Snow has covered parts of Hakkari overnight, causing major road closures as wild weather continues across the city. (Photo by Gokhan Gucukluoglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A Kurdish boy protects himself against the cold as heavy snow fall hits the city of Sirnak, southeastern Turkey, on January 1, 2016. Tensions are running high throughout Turkey's restive southeast as security forces impose curfews in several towns including Cizre in a bid to root out Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) rebels from urban centres. / AFP / BULENT KILIC (Photo credit should read BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)
VAN, TURKEY - JANUARY 13: A man carries straws for sheeps People with a donkey carry straws for sheeps after snowfall during the winter season at Caldiran town in Van, eastern province of Turkey, on January 13, 2016. (Photo by Ali Ihsan Ozturk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A man walks in the park as snow falls in the Belarus capital Minsk, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016. Winter weather with snow continues to prevail in Belarus. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
TOPSHOT - A woman takes a walk at river Spree on a cold winter day in Berlin on January 6, 2016. / AFP / TOBIAS SCHWARZ (Photo credit should read TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP/Getty Images)
ERZURUM, TURKEY - JANUARY 14: People walk down on a snow-covered street in Turkey's eastern province Erzurum, on January 14, 2016. (Photo by Yunus Okur/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
WHITBY, ENGLAND - JANUARY 14: Snow covered sheep stand on moorland after snowfall over night on January 14, 2016 in Whitby, England. Overnight snowfall in North Yorkshire and areas of Cleveland caused disruption in some areas this morning as temperatures continue to drop. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
VAN, TURKEY - JANUARY 13: A man carries straws for sheeps People with a donkey carry straws for sheeps after snowfall during the winter season at Caldiran town in Van, eastern province of Turkey, on January 13, 2016. (Photo by Ali Ihsan Ozturk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JANUARY 12: Snowstorm in Moscow brings traffic to a standstill on January 12, 2016 in Moscow, Russia. A strong atmospheric front swept through Moscow bringing a large amount of snow to the city. (Photo by Kristina Kormilitsyna/Kommersant Photo via Getty Images)
ALTAY, CHINA - JANUARY 12: (CHINA OUT) Icicles hang down from the eaves of a row of houses, which formed when snow melted in the daytime and freezed overnight on January 12, 2016 in Altay Prefecture, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China. Affected by El Nino Phenomenon, Altay Prefecture seems to be a warm winter this year compared with previous winters. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)
A woman sweeps away the snow on her car on January 12, 2016, in Minsk, as snow cyclone Daniella hits Belarus. / AFP / MAXIM MALINOVSKY (Photo credit should read MAXIM MALINOVSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman turns off her umbrella during a walk in a snow-covered park on January 12, 2016, in Minsk, as the Daniella snow cyclone hits Belarus, according to local media. / AFP / SERGEI GAPON (Photo credit should read SERGEI GAPON/AFP/Getty Images)
JILIN, CHINA - JANUARY 10: (CHINA OUT) Tourists come to look at the rime scenery on an island along the Songhua River on January 10, 2016 in Jilin City, Jilin Province of China. The first rime in 2016 attracted visitors in Jilin. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)
Pupils of Navy cadet classes walk in snow in St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016. Low temperatures caused two-days of snowfall in St. Petersburg. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
Teenagers play on the snow covered frozen lake on the outskirts of Novogrudok, 150 kilometers (93 miles) west of Minsk, Belarus, Friday, Jan. 8, 2016. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
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