Winter Storm Olympia named, snow and ice to impact Midwest, South and Northeast through Tuesday

Winter Storm Olympia To Bring Mess Over Large Area
Winter Storm Olympia To Bring Mess Over Large Area

The Weather Channel:

Winter Storm Olympia will bring snow and ice to a number of states from the Midwest and South into the Northeast to start this week. The storm was named Sunday morning after the National Weather Service issued winter storm warnings from parts of central Kentucky to western Virginia. The number of people in those warnings exceeds The Weather Channel's population requirement of two million for named winter storms.

(MORE: How Winter Storms Are Named)

The first ingredient in this wintry setup is the arctic air that has been ushered in by strong high pressure in the East. This has brought the coldest temperatures in decades to some Northeast cities.

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Southerly wind flow on the western flank of that high-pressure system in combination with upper-level energy and surface low pressure to its west will help pull moisture north into the cold air, resulting in snow and ice in the Midwest and South first.

Click through images from East coast Winter storm:

Then a low-pressure system will track near the East Coast, bringing wintry weather to parts of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, but also changing precipitation to rain for some, as well.

Let's first look at our latest forecast timeline. Keep in mind, however, that the forecast you see on or on your mobile app will likely change the next day or so, so be sure to check back often for the latest updates.

Sunday-Sunday Night

  • Areas to watch: A broad area of light to moderate snow will fall from the Upper Midwest into the Lower Ohio Valley. Some sleet or freezing rain is possible in southern Missouri, northern Arkansas, western Kentucky and west Tennessee intially. That area of snow then spreads into the rest of the Ohio Valley, Appalachians, Virginia and the Piedmont of North Carolina by Sunday night. Some freezing rain is possible on the southern end of that precipitation shield Sunday night in the southern Appalachians and parts of the Carolinas.

  • Potential impacts: Slick roads (particularly bridges/overpasses) are possible due to sleet/ice accumulations in Missouri/Arkansas. Ice accumulations look light enough to avoid widespread power outage, tree damage impacts. Typical slippery roads in light/moderate snow areas.

FORECAST: Louisville, KentuckyNashvilleSt. Louis


  • Areas to watch: Snow spreads into the mid-Atlantic states, Lower Hudson Valley and southern New England. Moisture may overrun subfreezing air near the surface, leading to the potential of freezing rain and sleet for a period of time from parts of southern New Jersey and southeast Pennsylvania to Virginia to most of North Carolina, northern South Carolina and northeast Georgia. How far south and how long the sufficient cold remains in place will dictate the extent of this icing potential.

  • Potential impacts: Accumulating snow in the Ohio Valley, Appalachians and mid-Atlantic will lead to slippery roads. The possibility of icing in the above-mentioned areas could at least cause slick travel conditions and, if subfreezing surface temperatures persist longer, could lead to some sporadic downed tree limbs and power outages.

FORECAST: AtlantaCincinnati, OhioGreensboro, North Carolina

Monday Night-Tuesday

  • The greatest chance for significant snowfall accumulations will be well west and northwest of the I-95 corridor in the Northeast, from the Appalachians to western Pennsylvania, western, central and Upstate New York and northern New England.

  • Locations from Boston to Washington, D.C. may see a mixture of precipitation types before transitioning to plain rain.

  • Some ice may linger in the Piedmont of Virginia and the Carolinas before possibly changing to rain, and may also occur, for a time into northern New Jersey and parts of western/northern New England.

  • With low pressure expected to take a track near the coast or just inland, warmer air will penetrate much of the I-95 corridor, preventing this storm from being a major snow maker along the coastal plain.

FORECAST: PittsburghBuffaloSyracuse

How Much Snow, Ice?

For the Northeast and Midwest, this will be a modest snow event, by mid-February standards.

Most areas of the Midwest should pick up less than 6 inches of total snowfall.

In the South, the heaviest snow accumulation may occur in a swath from Kentucky to Tennessee and the Appalachians, where some totals could approach or locally top 6 inches.

In the Northeast, the heaviest accumulations will likely occur in a swath from the Appalachians to central New York and northern New England.

Lighter snow accumulations, before the change over to rain, will occur along the I-95 corridor from Maine to Virginia. Some parts of the I-95 corridor could then pick up over an inch of rain Tuesday.

In general, ice accumulations in southern Missouri, northern Arkansas, western Kentucky and west Tennessee, and also in a swath from north Georgia to parts of southern New England should be enough to make roads slick for a time, but less than the threshold for producing widespread power outages and downed trees.

Except for a few, isolated valley locations where cold air may get trapped longer, such as the Shenandoah Valley, most of these areas are expected to see temperatures rise near or slightly above freezing, also mitigating the effects of any freezing rain or sleet that would fall.

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