More than 200 million Americans will see snow, rain, ice or a wintry mix
A major storm will bring snow, rain, ice or a wintry mix to more than 200 million Americans beginning Tuesday, impacting roughly 60 percent of the U.S. population.
Parts of 39 of the 48 contiguous United States will be touched by the massive storm, including every state east of the Mississippi River. The storm will have such an impact on so many because it will reach parts of 26 of the 30 most populous states.
As the large storm rolls up the Eastern Seaboard at midweek, it will bring snow, ice and difficult travel to the Midwest and Northeast.
A NOAA satellite image of the continental U.S. taken on Monday, Feb. 18. By mid-week, as much as 60 percent of the U.S. population will be impacted by some form of winter weather as a new storm sweeps across the nation. (NOAA)
"Since this storm will have a great deal of moisture available to it from the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, a substantial amount of precipitation is likely," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Tyler Roys.
While rounds of heavy, flooding rainfall and even some severe thunderstorms are expected to impact the Deep South, it will be cold enough for wintry precipitation to form over areas from northern Texas to Minnesota and Maine.
According to Roys, snow will first develop on Tuesday across Kansas before spreading northeastward Tuesday night into Wednesday.
"Kansas City, Omaha, Des Moines, Minneapolis and Duluth could all receive several inches of snow," he said.
The snow will pile up on many areas that have been hit with multiple heavy snowfalls of late over parts of the central Plains to the Upper Midwest.
"As the moisture reaches the mid-Atlantic on Wednesday, it will be cold enough for snow from Washington, D.C. to New York City."
After receiving a few inches of fresh snow, residents across the mid-Atlantic, New York and southern New England will notice sleet and freezing rain mixing in with the snow.
A quick burst of 3-6 inches of snow can fall in the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore metro areas and their northwestern suburbs late Tuesday night into Wednesday before precipitation transitions to an icy mix and eventually plain rain.
"Near the time of the change from snow to ice, it may be snowing at the rate of 1-2 inches per hour," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.
"Any delay in the change to ice can result in substantially more snow, not only around Washington, D.C., and northern Virginia and central Maryland, but also perhaps across a large swath of Pennsylvania and perhaps areas farther to the northeast in New Jersey, southeastern New York state and New England," Sosnowski said.
Anyone hitting the road during these times should travel with extreme caution, and pad extra time into their travel plans.
Along with low visibility in areas of snow, roads can quickly become slick and snow-covered, leading to treacherous conditions and traffic slowdowns.
This wintry mix will make the existing snowcover heavier and harder to clear, along with perpetuating slippery conditions on cleared roads and sidewalks.
"There could be significant accumulation of ice across parts of western Virginia, West Virginia and south central Pennsylvania," Roys warned. "An ice storm is also possible across interior portions of southern New England Wednesday night into Thursday."
In areas where ice and wet snow accrue on trees and powerlines, snapped branches and power outages are likely.
Aircraft deicing and low visibility conditions can lead to delays and cancellations out of major hubs such as Chicago, Washington, D.C., New York and Boston.
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As milder air surges into the region, rain will be the last thing to fall across much of the mid-Atlantic late Wednesday into Thursday.
Download the free AccuWeather app to stay up-to-date to see when snow, sleet and ice will begin in your area.
Milder weather will follow the storm on Thursday, allowing for a quick melt of any snow and ice across the region.