Winter storm may bring heavy snow to the Midwest, but leave the East all wet

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Storm Could Bring Snow to Midwest and East This Week

By The Weather Channel staff

Another winter storm looks likely to bring a fresh blanket of snow to parts of the Rockies, Midwest and Northeast in the upcoming week. However, some in the East, despite it being the last full week of February, may simply see mainly rain, or even thunderstorms.

It's still far too soon to be confident of the exact details, such as how much snow, rain or ice this storm may wring out in any area from Tuesday through Friday. However, let's step through the general setup, then day-by-day outlook, as we know it right now.

The Setup

It starts with a vigorous jet-stream disturbance plunging southeastward from the Rockies into the southern Plains Monday into Tuesday.

By later Wednesday into Thursday, that intense jet-stream storm system may be injected with even more energy from the northern-branch, or polar jet stream as it moves into the East.

As a result, low pressure at the surface is expected to strengthen rapidly, racing from the southern Plains to the eastern Great Lakes or eastern Canada.

Potential Setup Ahead  Credit: Weather Channel

Uncertainty in the exact track of the surface low-pressure system still exists, governing the placement of rain/snow lines and the placement of where the heaviest snow will fall.

In addition, the magnitude and extent of the cold air (in other words, low-level cold air near the surface cold enough to support snowflakes surviving to the ground) also remains somewhat in question during the storm's initial stages.

See photos of recent weather across the country:

2 PHOTOS
February winter weather across U.S.
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Winter storm may bring heavy snow to the Midwest, but leave the East all wet
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 13: Ai Koid, 25, fights gusty wind chills and snow while walking to the bus stop at Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C., February 13, 2016, to catch a bus to New York. (Photo by Astrid Riecken For The Washington Post via Getty Images)
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However, once the low-pressure system has strengthened rapidly, deep-enough cold air will be drawn in the storm's cold conveyor belt to support significant snow to the west, northwest and eventually southwest of the low's track.

Meanwhile, to the east of the low's track, warm enough air will be drawn north in the storm's circulation to keep precipitation mainly in the form of rain along most of the East Coast.

In some ways, this may be a case of déjà vu after the mess left behind by Winter Storm Olympia, though the swath of heaviest snow will likely be in a different area.

RECAPS: Over 20 Inches of Snow | Tens of Thousands Without Power | South Tornadoes

The Outlook

While the precise details cannot be determined yet, there are some generalities of this potential Eastern storm beginning to take shape.

Let's break down the latest forecast day-by-day, then outline where the heaviest snow may fall.

See more of how the U.S. has faired so far this winter:

21 PHOTOS
Snow, winter weather 2015-2016 season across the U.S.
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Winter storm may bring heavy snow to the Midwest, but leave the East all wet
LUBBOCK, TEXAS - DECEMBER 27: A highway worker tries to shield himself while walking to his truck on December 27, 2015 in Lubbock, Texas. Coming on the heels of several strong tornadoes, some northern parts of Texas are experiencing blizzard conditions with wind gusts up to 50 mph and as much as 13 inches of snow forecast. (Photo by John Weast/Getty Images)
NEDERLAND, CO - DECEMBER 15: Steve Hauser plows snow in the Caribou Shopping Center in Nederland, Colorado on December 15, 2015. Snow is expected to continue throughout the day. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
NEDERLAND, CO - DECEMBER 15: A yellow lab waits patiently in his owner's snowy old truck along East 1st Street in Nederland, Colorado on December 15, 2015. Snow is expected to continue throughout the day. The dog looked warm and didn't wait long in the car as his owner returned shortly after an errand in the town. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - DEC. 15: Anna Renton, 7, right, relaxes while neighbor Graham Langner, 7, has a snow fight with his nanny, Ashely Kish.The Denver metro area received more snow than expected overnight, closing schools across the city with some areas measuring a foot of snow by the early morning. (Photo by Kathryn Scott Osler/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
LAKEWOOD, CO - DECEMBER 15: Crut Liles clears snow from his walkways outside his home in Lakewood, December, 15, 2015. Many schools in the area are closed due to the snow storm. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - DEC. 15: A CDOT crew runs their plow truck southbound on Colorado Blvd. near E. 13th Ave. in Denver. The Denver metro area received more snow than expected overnight, closing schools across the city with some areas measuring a foot of snow by the early morning. (Photo by Kathryn Scott Osler/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Al Frelk walks his dog, Shiba, 10, in Lords Park in Elgin, Ill., on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015. Asked about the snow, Frelk said, 'It's beautiful, but can be tough to drive in. Though Shiba has been waiting 9 months for this.' The first winter storm of the season dropped more than 10 inches of snow at numerous Chicagoland locations. (Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 17: Snow hit the Denver metro area having an impact on air travel at Denver International Airport. They were clearing out from the snow on Tuesday, November 17, 2015. Raul Hernandez shovels snow in the economy lot. Hernandez and his crew had worked all night to clear snow. (Photo by Cyrus McCrimmon/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
LAKEWOOD, CO - NOVEMBER 11: Brandon Nelli, a student at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood, shovels snow during a Veteran's Day snow storm the moved into the area overnight, November, 11, 2015. Lakewood got almost 3 inches in some areas form the storm. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 11: A blanket of white snow covers Fort Logan National Cemetery during a Veteran's Day snow storm the moved into the area overnight, November, 11, 2015. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
MONUMENT, CO. - November 17: Bob Swift clearing his driveway of a deep drift of snow in Monument, CO. November 17, 2015 Monument, CO (Photo By Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
An above-average amount of snow covers a small cabin near where the first snow survey of winter conducted by the California Department of Water Resources in Phillips, California December 30, 2015. REUTERS/Fred Greaves
Cameron Shonnard backflips a jump at Squaw Valley in Olympic Valley, California, December 5, 2015. An El Nino is forecasted for California, and regular precipitation has been welcomed after years of drought. REUTERS/Max Whittaker TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Fresh snow clings to trees near Big Bend, California, December 4, 2015. An El Nino is forecasted for California, and regular precipitation has been welcomed after years of drought. Picture taken December 4. REUTERS/Max Whittaker
The U.S. Capitol dome can be seen behind piles of snow removed from parking areas and walkways around the Capitol grounds in Washington January 26, 2016. The snowbound Washington area was resuming partial business on Tuesday as trains and buses restarted near-normal service, while federal offices remained closed following a massive blizzard that hammered the U.S. East Coast. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Floodwaters cover Green Avenue after a winter storm in Manasquan, New Jersey, January 24, 2016. A morning high tide surge of 2 feet followed snowfall of about 2 feet in the first major storm of the season. REUTERS/Dominick Reuter
A couple poses for a photo on a snow pile during a snow storm in Times Square in the Manhattan borough of New York, January 23, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, UNITED STATES - 2016/02/15: Snow is once again falling across Washington, D.C on Monday, 15 February 2016. The bitter cold was replaced by snow, sleet and rain Monday in the mid-Atlantic states and the South, but many residents were able to hunker down at home with federal offices and many businesses closed for Washington's Birthday. (Photo by Probal Rashid/LightRocket via Getty Images)
A barn painted with the U.S. flag is seen in the snow covered field in Kanawha, Iowa, United States, January 16, 2016. Iowa will be the first state to hold its primary, with both Democratic and Republican events being held February 1, 2016. Picture taken January 16, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young
Police officers gather outside the Montgomery County Courthouse, where actor and comedian Bill Cosby will arrive for a preliminary hearing on sexual assault charges, in Norristown, Pennsylvania February 2, 2016. Cosby has been charged with the 2004 sexual assault of Andrea Constand, a former women's basketball team manager at Temple University in Philadelphia, Cosby's alma mater. REUTERS/Mark Makela REUTERS/Mark Makela
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Tuesday

  • Snow in the Rockies and Front Range of Colorado may spread into the High Plains of western Kansas and possibly the panhandles of Oklahoma and Texas.
  • Rain and t-storms will stretch across much of the rest of the South from Texas to the Carolinas and into the Ohio Valley and mid-Atlantic Tuesday night.
(FORECASTS: Denver | Amarillo | Dallas)

Tuesday's Forecast Rain/Snow/Ice  Credit: Weather Channel

Wednesday

Wednesday's Forecast Rain/Snow/Ice  Credit: Weather Channel

Thursday

  • Wind-driven, heavy snow may persist in the eastern Great Lakes, Ohio Valley and Appalachians.
  • Rain persists in much of the Northeast, possibly ending as a brief period of snow.
(FORECASTS: Detroit | Cleveland | Buffalo | Boston)

Thursday's Forecast Rain/Snow/Ice  Photo credit: Weather Channel

How Much Snow?

  • Best chance for heavy snow (at least 6 inches): Parts of the Colorado Rockies, Lower Michigan, central Appalachians. There may also be lake-enhanced snow in some eastern Great Lakes snowbelts Thursday into early Friday.
  • Mainly less than 6 inches: High Plains, Ozarks, mid-Mississippi Valley, rest of interior Northeast (northwest of I-95).

Snowfall Potential Through Thursday  The snowfall forecast accumulation potential through Thursday.  Photo credit: Weather Channel

MAPS: 10-Day Forecast Highs/Lows | Weekly Planner

Check back with us at weather.com for the latest on this potential storm and any likely forecast changes ahead.

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