Millions to face storm impacts next week: Snow, rain, wind and severe weather to unfold

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By: Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist

Travel ranging from a routine daily commute to a cross-country venture could be affected by a significant storm in the central and eastern United States next week.

A major storm with drenching rain, ice, snow, gusty winds and the potential for severe weather is likely next week in the central and eastern parts of the nation.

During early next week, a storm will first take shape over the southern Plains then strengthen while traveling northeastward toward the Great Lakes.

How strong the storm becomes will determine the magnitude of wintry precipitation, wind and thunderstorms, as well as the extent of rain and warmth.

59 PHOTOS
Winter weather 2016-2017 -- snow, ice and sleet
See Gallery
Winter weather 2016-2017 -- snow, ice and sleet

Dogs walk through the snow during a spring snow storm in Boston, Massachusetts April 4, 2016.

(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

People walk through Times Square during a snow storm on January 7, 2017 in New York City.

(Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)

A woman walks in the snow at Times Square in New York U.S., January 31, 2017.

(REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

A man sweeps the street after snow fell in Manhattan, New York City, U.S. December 17, 2016.

(REUTERS/Kevin Coombs)

A young child smiles while catching snow flakes on his tongue during snow flurries in New York, U.S., January 31, 2017.

(REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

Semi-truck driver Don Kerns removes chains from his truck during record rain and snow outside Lakeview, Oregon, U.S., January 5, 2017.

(REUTERS/Jim Urquhart)

A snowman stands in Times Square following a morning snow in Manhattan, New York City, U.S. December 17, 2016.

(REUTERS/Andrew Kelly)

A man skis under a snowfall in Central Park during a winter storm on January 7, 2017 in New York.

(EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

A woman walks through snow as it falls in New York City, U.S., January 31, 2017.

(REUTERS/Brendan McDermid)

A general view of snow covered seats at New Era Field before a game between the Buffalo Bills and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

(Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports)

Snow falls in the streets of Chicago, United States on December 11, 2016.

(Photo by Bilgin Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Siblings (L-R) Leo, Max and Zoe Zavrachy, on vacation from Ireland, ride down a snow covered hill on Boston Common during a snow storm on the second day of spring in Boston, Massachusetts March 21, 2016.


(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

A person crosses Delancey Street during morning snow in Manhattan, New York City, U.S. December 17, 2016.

(REUTERS/Andrew Kelly)

A woman walks through snow as it falls in New York, U.S., January 31, 2017.

(REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

A worker clears the snow from the crosswalk in Times Square, Manhattan, New York City, U.S. December 17, 2016.

(REUTERS/Andrew Kelly)

A person walks over the Brooklyn Bridge during morning snow in Manhattan, New York City, U.S. December 17, 2016.

(REUTERS/Andrew Kelly)

Snow is cleared from the Donner Pass rest area at Donner Pass summit during a winter storm, near Truckee, California, U.S. January 7, 2017.

(Bob Strong / Reuters)

People walk under a snowfall as they visit Central Park during a Winter storm on January 7, 2017 in New York.

(EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

People walk under a snowfall as they visit Central Park during a winter storm on January 7, 2017 in New York.

(EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Children play under a snowfall in Central Park during a winter storm on January 7, 2017 in New York.

(EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

A woman falls down as people walk under a snowfall as they visit Central Park during a winter storm on January 7, 2017 in New York.

(EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

People walk amid a snowfall in Central Park during a Winter storm on January 7, 2017 in New York.

(EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

A snow boarder prepares his gear at the Mount Rose Highway summit during a winter storm near Incline Village, Nevada, U.S., January 7, 2017.

(REUTERS/Bob Strong)

Motorists travel through heavy snow on the Mount Rose Highway during a winter storm near Incline Village, Nevada, U.S., January 7, 2017.

(REUTERS/Bob Strong)

A person prepares to throw a snowball at their companion during a winter snow storm in Medford, Massachusetts, U.S. January 7, 2017.

(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

Marine One blows up a cloud of snow as it lands on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 7, 2017.

(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

Two dogs play in the snow during a winter snow storm in Medford, Massachusetts, U.S. January 7, 2017.

(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

A pedestrian walks through the snow during a winter storm in Medford, Massachusetts, U.S. January 7, 2017.

(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

People walk through Central Park during a snow storm in New York City, U.S. January 7, 2017.

(REUTERS/Stephanie Keith)

People walk through Central Park during a snow storm on January 7, 2017 in New York City.

(Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)

A woman plays under a snowfall in Central Park during a winter storm on January 7, 2017 in New York.

(EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

People walk through Times Square during a snow storm on January 7, 2017 in New York City.

(Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)

People walk along The Mall in Central Park during a snow storm on January 7, 2017 in New York City.

(Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)

A snowboarder rides over a ridge of snow in the afternoon sunlight on the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of year at Hunter Mountain ski area in Hunter, New York, U.S., December 21, 2016.

(REUTERS/Mine Segar)

People walk through Central Park following morning snow in Manhattan, New York City, U.S. December 17, 2016.

(REUTERS/Andrew Kelly)

A young Native American man rides his horse through the snow near the Oceti Sakowin camp as "water protectors" continue to demonstrate against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S., December 4, 2016.

(REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

Snow falls in the streets of Chicago, United States on December 11, 2016.

(Photo by Bilgin Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Footsteps can be seen on a recently cleared sidewalk during a spring snow storm in Boston, Massachusetts April 4, 2016.

(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

A pedestrian crosses the road during a snow storm on the second day of spring in Boston, Massachusetts March 21, 2016.

(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

Snow falls in the streets of Chicago, United States on December 11, 2016.

(Photo by Bilgin Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

A woman with an umbrella walks through the snow during a spring snow storm in Boston, Massachusetts April 4, 2016.

(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

A cyclist passes pedestrians on a sidewalk on 12th Avenue in the Manhattan borough of New York City as snow falls February 15, 2016.

(REUTERS/Mike Segar)

A woman stands on a snow covered path at Central Park in New York, U.S., January 6, 2017.

(REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

Snow falls in the streets of Chicago, United States on December 11, 2016.

(Photo by Bilgin Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 11: Snow falls in the streets of Chicago, United States on December 11, 2016. (Photo by Bilgin Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

A man walks in the snow at Times Square in New York U.S., January 31, 2017.

(REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

New England Patriots fans are seen standing in the snow, sleet, and freezing rain in anticipation of seeing their team at city hall plaza during Super Bowl LI victory parade in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., February 7, 2017.

(REUTERS/Barry Chin/Pool)

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 13: A woman and her grandchilden sled on Boston Common following a winter storm February 13, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. Another winter storm has brought heavy snow and wind to the region. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 13: A woman feeds pigeons near the Boston Common following a winter storm February 13, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. Another winter storm has brought heavy snow and wind to the region. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 13: A worker uses a tractor to plow the sidewalks around the Boston Common following a winter storm February 13, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. Another winter storm has brought heavy snow and wind to the region. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
LYNNFIELD, MA - FEBRUARY 13: A snow plow works to widen a street during a snow storm February 13, 2017 in Lynnfield, Massachusetts. Another winter storm has brought heavy snow and wind to the region. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 12: Ross Wilson, 9, of Boston and his brother, Sam, 7, take advantage of the snow as they sled down a hill on the Boston Common in Boston on Feb. 12, 2017. (Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
QUINCY, MA - FEBRUARY 9: An owl toughs out the blizzard sweeping through the region on a branch in the Squantum neighborhood of Quincy, MA on Feb. 9, 2017. (Photo by Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
QUINCY, MA - FEBRUARY 9: Snow and ice coat the window of an inbound MBTA Red Line train at Quincy Central station in Quincy, MA on Feb. 9, 2017. MBTA trains kept running as a blizzard swept through the region. (Photo by David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Pedestrians walk up a street on Beacon Hill during white-out, blizzard-like conditions in a winter nor'easter snow storm in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. February 9, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Residents dig out following a winter snow storm in the Boston suburb of Wakefield, Massachusetts, U.S. February 13, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Surfers take advantage of wind and waves from a winter snow storm in Gloucester, Massachusetts, U.S. February 13, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
A man clears snow off his vehicle following a winter snow storm in Somerville, Massachusetts, U.S. February 13, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
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"At this early juncture, it appears the bulk of the storm will bring rain around the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes region on Tuesday and into Wednesday," according to AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok.

Around the lower Great Lakes, the storm could begin and end as a period of snow or a wintry mix.

From interior parts of the mid-Atlantic to northern New England, the forecast is less certain.

"If cold air holds its ground for a time, a significant amount of snow and ice can occur over interior locations of the Northeast," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist John Gresiak.

"If cold air gives up easily, drenching rain will sweep rapidly northward, and there could be problems such as urban and poor drainage area flooding," Gresiak said.

The storm is likely to be strong enough to produce gusty winds around the Great Lakes spanning Tuesday through Thursday.

Since much of the lakes are free of ice, the wind and wave action could produce lake-shore flooding in some communities. Airline delays could also occur due to the gusty winds at the major hubs in the region.

15 PHOTOS
Fun in the snow around the world
See Gallery
Fun in the snow around the world
Migrants throw snowballs during a snowfall outside a derelict customs warehouse in Belgrade, Serbia January 9, 2017. REUTERS/Marko Djurica
A woman walks on a street during a heavy snowfall in Sofia, Bulgaria, January 10, 2017. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov
People enjoy a ride on their sledge on Feldberg mountain near Frankfurt, Germany, January 5, 2017. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
Kids build snowmen near the Messeturm in Frankfurt, Germany, January 10, 2017. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
A child shovels snow to make a small hockey rink on the frozen Trout Lake during a spell of cold weather in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada January 7, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren
A stranded refugee boy rides his bicycle through a snowstorm at a refugee camp north of Athens January 10, 2017.REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis
Rowers practise at Main river in Frankfurt, Germany, January 10, 2017. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
Joggers run along the Charles River past the Boston skyline on a sunny winter's day in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S. January 9, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
A woman is seen through a partially frosted tram window as temperatures fall to minus 15 degrees Celsius (5 Fahrenheit) in Sofia, Bulgaria, January 9, 2017. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov
A surfer catches a wave on a freezing water of the Eisbach in Munich's famous English garden, Germany January 5, 2017. REUTERS/Michael Dalder
A man shovels snow off from a roof at around minus 26 degrees Celsius (minus 14.8 degrees Fahrenheit) in the village of Jezerc, Kosovo January 8, 2017. REUTERS/Hazir Reka
People pull their sledges after heavy snowfall in Berlin, Germany January 8, 2017. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke
People take a selfie in Times Square on a snowy day in New York City, U.S., January 7, 2017. REUTERS/Alex Wroblewski
A man takes a dip in icy waters as the temperature dropped to around minus 26 degrees Celsius (minus 14.8 degrees Fahrenheit) in Minsk, Belarus January 7, 2017. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko
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On the northwestern flank of the storm, enough cold air will be present to allow all or mostly snow to fall from the foothills of the Rockies and parts of the central Plains to the Upper Midwest. Strengthening winds will likely cause blowing and drifting snow in this swath.

As the storm tracks toward the Great Lakes, warm and humid air will surge in across the South.

The strength of the storm could be enough to spawn severe weather from the Gulf coast to perhaps as far north as the Ohio Valley and a portion of the mid-Atlantic coast during the period from Tuesday to Wednesday.

In the wake of the big storm, cold air will circulate from the northern Plains to much of the Atlantic coast during the second half of the week.

A possible second storm could impact areas from the Appalachians to the Atlantic coast. How much moisture remains as the cold air returns will determine whether or not a period of snow develops.

42 PHOTOS
Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival
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Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival

A laborer works beside a large snow sculpture ahead of the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival in the northern city of Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China, January 5, 2016.

(REUTERS/Aly Song)

A boy takes a ride on an ice sculpture illuminated by colored lights at the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival to celebrate the new year in Harbin on January 4, 2017.

(NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)

Artists and workers prepare ice and snow sculptures for the upcoming Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China, December 16, 2016. 

(REUTERS/Aly Song)

An artist polishes an ice sculpture for the upcoming Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China, December 19, 2016. 

(REUTERS/Aly Song)

Performers perform on the stage during the opening ceremony of Beijing Ice and Snow Cultural Tourism Festival on December 30, 2016 in Beijing, China. The first Beijing Ice and Snow Cultural Tourism Festival started from December 30, which will last a total of over one month altogether. The first Beijing Ice and Snow Cultural Tourism Festival aims to invite tourists around the World to travel to Beijing in Winter.

(Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

Artists prepare a snow sculpture for the upcoming Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China, December 17, 2016.

(REUTERS/Aly Song)

A snow sculpture is seen for the upcoming Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China, December 17, 2016. 

(REUTERS/Aly Song)

People visit the ice sculptures illuminated by colored lights at Harbin ice and snow world to celebrate the new year in Harbin city of China on January 1 2017.The opening ceremony of the 33nd Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival will open in 04 January 2017.

(Photo by Tao Zhang/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Artists and workers prepare a snow sculpture for the upcoming Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China, December 17, 2016. 

(REUTERS/Aly Song)

People visit the ice sculptures illuminated by colored lights at Harbin ice and snow world to celebrate the new year in Harbin city of China on January 1 2017.The opening ceremony of the 33nd Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival will open in 04 January 2017.

(Photo by Tao Zhang/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

People visit ice sculptures illuminated by colored lights at the Harbin Harbin Ice & Snow world to celebrate the 18th Harbin Ice & Snow world opening Ceremony in Harbin on January 5, 2017.

(Photo by Tao Zhang/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Workers pull a giant ice cube out of the frozen Songhua River as they extract ice to make sculptures for the upcoming Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China, December 17, 2016. 

(REUTERS/Aly Song)

People visit ice sculptures illuminated by colored lights on the opening day of the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival in the northern city of Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China, January 5, 2016.

(REUTERS/Aly Song)

A view of structures built of ice during the opening night of the annual tourist attraction, Ice and Snow World, on December 21, 2016 in Harbin, China.

(Feature China/Barcroft Images/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

A large snow sculpture is seen ahead of the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival in the northern city of Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China, January 5, 2016.

(REUTERS/Aly Song)

A view of structures built of ice during the opening night of the annual tourist attraction, Ice and Snow World, on December 21, 2016 in Harbin, China.

(Feature China/Barcroft Images/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Newly-wed couples attend their group wedding ceremony which was held as part of the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival in the northern city of Harbin, Heilongjiang province, January 6, 2016.

(REUTERS/Aly Song)

A view of structures built of ice during the opening night of the annual tourist attraction, Ice and Snow World, on December 21, 2016 in Harbin, China.

(Feature China/Barcroft Images/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Laborers work at a large snow sculpture ahead of the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival in the northern city of Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China, January 5, 2016.

(REUTERS/Aly Song)

Artists and workers prepare an ice sculpture for the upcoming Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China, December 16, 2016. 

(REUTERS/Aly Song)

A horse stands in front of ice sculptures ahead of the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival in the northern city of Harbin, Heilongjiang province, January 4, 2016.

(REUTERS/Aly Song)

People visit ice sculptures illuminated by colored lights at the Harbin Harbin Ice & Snow world to celebrate the 18th Harbin Ice & Snow world opening Ceremony in Harbin on January 5, 2017.

(Photo by Tao Zhang/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Artists and workers prepare snow sculptures for the upcoming Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China, December 15, 2016.

(REUTERS/Aly Song)

A reindeer is seen as people visit ice sculptures illuminated by colored lights at the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival to celebrate the new year in Harbin on January 4, 2017.

(NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)

A worker take the skateboard at Harbin ice and snow world to celebrate the new year in Harbin city of China on January 1 2017.

(Photo by Tao Zhang/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

A worker polishes an ice sculpture ahead of the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival in the northern city of Harbin, Heilongjiang province, January 4, 2016.

(REUTERS/Aly Song)

People visit the ice sculptures illuminated by colored lights at Harbin ice and snow world to celebrate the new year in Harbin city of China on January 1 2017.The opening ceremony of the 33rd Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival will open in 04 January 2017.

(Photo by Tao Zhang/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

A worker polishes an ice sculpture ahead of the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival in the northern city of Harbin, Heilongjiang province, January 4, 2016.

(REUTERS/Aly Song)

People visit the ice sculptures illuminated by colored lights at Harbin ice and snow world to celebrate the new year in Harbin city of China on January 1 2017.The opening ceremony of the 33rd Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival will open on January 4, 2017.

(Photo by Tao Zhang/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

A worker polishes an ice sculpture ahead of the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival in the northern city of Harbin, Heilongjiang province, January 4, 2016.

(REUTERS/Aly Song)

People visit ice sculptures illuminated by colored lights at the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival to celebrate the new year in Harbin on January 4, 2017.

(NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)

People look around ice sculptures ahead of the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival in the northern city of Harbin, Heilongjiang province, January 4, 2016.

(REUTERS/Aly Song)

People visit ice sculptures illuminated by colored lights at the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival to celebrate the new year in Harbin on January 4, 2017.

(NICOLAS ASFOURI)

A worker prepares an ice sculpture for the upcoming Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China, December 17, 2016. 

(REUTERS/Aly Song)

People tour between structures built of ice in the Ice and Snow World on December 31, 2016 in China, Harbin.

(Feature China/Barcroft Images/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

An aerial view of structures built of ice in the Ice and Snow World on December 31, 2016 in China, Harbin.

(Feature China/Barcroft Images/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Workers cut ice on the frozen surface of a lake on January 02, 2016 in Shenyang, China. The ice blocks are to be used in building ice structures for sight-seeing.

(Feature China/Barcroft Images/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Workers cut ice on the frozen surface of a lake on January 02, 2016 in Shenyang, China. The ice blocks are to be used in building ice structures for sight-seeing.

(Feature China/Barcroft Images/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

People visit ice sculptures illuminated by colored lights at the Harbin Harbin Ice & Snow world to celebrate the 18th Harbin Ice & Snow world opening Ceremony in Harbin on January 5, 2017.

(Photo by Tao Zhang/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Contestants create ice sculptures during an international ice sculpture contest in Harbin, capital of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, Jan. 3, 2017.

(Xinhua/Wang Jianwei via Getty Images)

People visit the ice sculptures illuminated by colored lights at Harbin ice and snow world to celebrate the new year in Harbin city of China on January 1 2017.

(Photo by Tao Zhang/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

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