Winter storm to encase 1,700-mile stretch of U.S. in ice, snow

A storm will serve as a reality check for millions of Americans this weekend, following a stretch of springlike warmth expected to challenge records. Wintry precipitation is forecast to overspread a 1,700-mile corridor of the United States, spanning from the Central to Northeastern regions.

The same storm system that will bring the threat for severe thunderstorms and flooding rain across the Mississippi and Ohio River valleys will also pose a threat for accumulating snow and ice beginning this weekend.

After the weather system tracks through the Northwest at midweek, it will intensify and tap into the available energy from an unusually warm and humid air mass surging out of the Gulf of Mexico.

A heavy rain threat will first expand across the mid-Mississippi Valley on Friday, then the threat for accumulating snow and ice will soon thereafter threaten portions of the Plains and Midwest while colder air seeps southeastward.

 

 

"The setup will result in a very tight weather contrast zone, where rainy conditions, snow and/or ice can all occur," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.

"Temperatures over this same 100-mile cross section can range from the balmy 50s and 60s F to the 20s and 30s," he added.

Beginning around the Friday evening commute, there may be a narrow corridor from northeastern Oklahoma, eastern Kansas into northern Missouri where atmospheric conditions allow for freezing rain to fall.

"Any roads left untreated, especially along the northern edge of this system, are likely to become covered in ice," AccuWeather Meteorologist Mary Gilbert said. "Even a glaze of ice on roadways may lead to increased spin-outs or even multi-vehicle accidents," she added.

Topeka, Kansas, as well as both Kansas City and St. Joseph, Missouri, could face this threat Friday afternoon and evening. Travelers along interstates 29, 35 and 70 in this area will want to monitor the forecast closely.

 

 

The threat for ice and snow will continue to expand northeastward into the Great Lakes Friday night into Saturday as the storm continues along its path.

Chicago and Detroit may face the threat for a wintry mixture of precipitation beginning Friday night.

The storm is expected to track eastward through the Ohio Valley on Saturday, and cold air filtering into the storm will gradually shift precipitation modes from ice to snow across the Midwest.

Some areas that may end up encased in ice may then see accumulating snow afterward, adding additional stress to tree limbs and power lines.

The storm will pivot and precipitation will transition to snow, burying portions of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan under totals in excess of 6 inches Saturday into Saturday night.

The snow and ice threat will continue to expand into the eastern Great Lakes as well as northern New England Saturday night into Sunday. Similar threats will exist across a corridor from western New York to Maine.

26 PHOTOS
Arctic blast brings snow, ice and bone-chilling temps to U.S.
See Gallery
Arctic blast brings snow, ice and bone-chilling temps to U.S.
A woman walking the half mile from Chicago's Adler Planetarium to the Chicago Aquarium braces herself in the stiff wind and blowing snow off Lake Michigan, Monday, Nov. 11, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
A woman walking the half mile from the Chicago Aquarium to the Adler Planetarium braces in a stiff wind and blowing snow off Lake Michigan, Monday, Nov. 11, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
A woman walking the half mile from the Chicago Aquarium to the Adler Planetarium fights a stiff wind inverting her umbrella in the blowing snow off Lake Michigan, Monday, Nov. 11, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
A lone hiker navigates the 31st street beach bike trail in a stiff wind and blowing snow off Lake Michigan, Monday, Nov. 11, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
An American flag and a bouquet of flowers mark the grave of U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Shelby B. Harris who served in the Persian Gulf conflict in Fort Logan National Cemetery in Sheridan, Colo. The annual memorial service at the cemetery for Veterans Day was moved inside to mark the holiday as light snow and cold temperatures enveloped the intermountain West. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Jeremy Kohsman uses a leaf blower to remove the snow from his car in front of his home in Farmington Hills, Mich., Monday, Nov. 11, 2019. (David Guralnick/Detroit News via AP)
Flint, Mich., residents traverse the snow as they walk into Flint City Hall to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Sheldon Neeley as the new mayor Monday, Nov. 11, 2019. (Jake May/The Flint Journal via AP)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - NOVEMBER 11: As snow continues to fall a commuter waits for a bus in the Humboldt Park neighborhood on November 11, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Forecasters are calling for three to six inches of snow to fall in the Chicago area by mid-day today and temperatures are expected to fall to around ten degrees Fahrenheit by tomorrow. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - NOVEMBER 11: A resident clears snow from her sidewalk in the Wicker Park neighborhood on November 11, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Forecasters are calling for three to six inches of snow to fall in the Chicago area by mid-day today and temperatures are expected to fall to around ten degrees Fahrenheit by tomorrow. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - NOVEMBER 11: A resident clears snow from her steps in the Wicker Park neighborhood on November 11, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Forecasters are calling for three to six inches of snow to fall in the Chicago area by mid-day today and temperatures are expected to fall to around ten degrees Fahrenheit by tomorrow. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - NOVEMBER 11: A cyclist rides along a snow-covered street in the Wicker Park neighborhood on November 11, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Forecasters are calling for three to six inches of snow to fall in the Chicago area by mid-day today and temperatures are expected to fall to around ten degrees Fahrenheit by tomorrow. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - NOVEMBER 11: Snow covers bicycles in the Bucktown neighborhood on November 11, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Forecasters are calling for three to six inches of snow to fall in the Chicago area by mid-day today and temperatures are expected to fall to around ten degrees Fahrenheit by tomorrow. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - NOVEMBER 11: A resident walks through snow with her child in the Wicker Park neighborhood on November 11, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Forecasters are calling for three to six inches of snow to fall in the Chicago area by mid-day today and temperatures are expected to fall to around ten degrees Fahrenheit by tomorrow. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - NOVEMBER 11: A jogger runs through a snow-covered Humboldt Park on November 11, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Forecasters are calling for three to six inches of snow to fall in the Chicago area by mid-day today and temperatures are expected to fall to around ten degrees by tomorrow. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - NOVEMBER 11: A resident plays with his dog as snow falls in Humboldt Park on November 11, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Forecasters are calling for three to six inches of snow to fall in the Chicago area by mid-day today and temperatures are expected to fall to around ten degrees by tomorrow. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - NOVEMBER 11: A cyclist navigates a snow-covered street in the Humboldt Park neighborhood on November 11, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Forecasters are calling for three to six inches of snow to fall in the Chicago area by mid-day today and temperatures are expected to fall to around ten degrees by tomorrow. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - NOVEMBER 11: A resident walks his dog through a snow-covered Humboldt Park on November 11, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Forecasters are calling for three to six inches of snow to fall in the Chicago area by mid-day today and temperatures are expected to fall to around ten degrees by tomorrow. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - NOVEMBER 11: A person cleans their car during a snow storm on November 11, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Forecasters are calling for three to six inches of snow to fall in the Chicago area by mid-day today and temperatures are expected to fall to around ten degrees by tomorrow. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - NOVEMBER 11: A worker shovels snow from a sidewalk n the Humboldt Park neighborhood on November 11, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Forecasters are calling for three to six inches of snow to fall in the Chicago area by mid-day today and temperatures are expected to fall to around ten degrees by tomorrow. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - NOVEMBER 11: People navigate snow-covered sidewalks in the Humboldt Park neighborhood on November 11, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Forecasters are calling for three to six inches of snow to fall in the Chicago area by mid-day today and temperatures are expected to fall to around ten degrees by tomorrow. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - NOVEMBER 11: People navigate snow-covered sidewalks in the Humboldt Park neighborhood on November 11, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Forecasters are calling for three to six inches of snow to fall in the Chicago area by mid-day today and temperatures are expected to fall to around ten degrees by tomorrow. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Pedestrians in downtown Chicago bundle up from the wind and snow during the early morning rush hour as a winter weather advisory is issued for the Chicago area Monday, Nov. 11, 2019. (Antonio Perez/ Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
Snow and rain make for a messy drive to work during the early morning rush hour as a winter weather advisory is issued for the Chicago area Monday, Nov. 11, 2019. (Antonio Perez/ Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
Pedestrians in downtown Chicago bundle up from the wind and snow during the early morning rush hour as a winter weather advisory is issued for the Chicago area Monday, Nov. 11, 2019. (Antonio Perez/ Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
A maintenance worker spreads salt in the area around Cloud Gate during a morning rush hour snow storm as a winter weather advisory is issued for the Chicago area on Monday, Nov. 11, 2019. (Antonio Perez/ Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
Maintenance workers clear the snow around Cloud Gate during a morning rush hour snow storm as a winter weather advisory is issued for the Chicago area Monday Nov. 11, 2019. (Antonio Perez/ Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

The threat for wintry precipitation could make travel treacherous across interstates 81, 87, 89, 90, 91, 93 and 95 across New York and New England over the latter half of the weekend.

"Exactly where the temperature and weather contrast zone ends up is key to the forecast," Sosnowski added. "The zone could shift farther to the north and west or perhaps farther to the south and east in the coming days."

The storm system will continue to track right off the Atlantic coast by the end of the weekend, bringing a return of dry weather early next week.

Download the free AccuWeather app to check the precipitation type expected and storm timing in your area. Keep checking back on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to coverage on the AccuWeather Network.

Read Full Story