Late-week snow, ice may freeze up travel in midwestern US
A new storm will deliver a swath of ice and snow from the lower Mississippi Valley to the Ohio Valley and lower Great Lakes before the weekend begins.
Despite the warm conditions as the storm begins, an invasion of arctic air will lead to slippery and dangerous travel, airline delays and flight cancellations as well as the risk of power outages.
Arctic air will continue to advance to the south and east in the wake of a storm set to bring near-blizzard conditions from the northern Plains to the upper Great Lakes into Thursday.
As the cold air reaches the Mississippi and Ohio valleys, a second storm will track northeastward with a surge of heavy precipitation during Thursday night to Friday night.
A small, but slippery amount of ice and snow is likely in St. Louis and Chicago. The amount of snow and ice is likely to ramp up farther east.
“Ice and snow are likely to penetrate southward into areas that rarely receive wintry precipitation,” according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski.
Freezing rain, sleet and some snow are forecast to occur in eastern Arkansas, northern Mississippi, southeastern Missouri, western and middle Tennessee, western and central Kentucky, southeastern Indiana, central and southeastern Ohio, western Pennsylvania and part of West Virginia.
Cities in this swath include Little Rock, Arkansas; Greenville, Mississippi; Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee; Cape Girardeau, Missouri; Paducah and Lexington, Kentucky; Indianapolis and Evansville, Indiana; and Cincinnati, Ohio.
In this area, cold air will catch up with rain from the storm to produce a wintry mix. Everything from a thin coating of ice to several inches of snow may occur.
Travel will become slippery and dangerous along vast stretches of Interstate 24, I-40, I-55, I-64, I-65, I-69, I-70, I-71, I-75, I-77, I-79, I-80 and I-90.
On the northwestern flank of the storm, temperatures are forecast to plunge into the teens F during Friday evening. On the southwestern flank, temperatures will dip into the 20s. Temperatures may recover very little on Saturday then drop into the single digits and teens on Saturday night.
Areas at greatest risk for receiving enough snow to shovel and plow after a period of ice will extend from northern Tennessee to southwestern Ontario. The area includes much of Ohio and may reach the major cities of Cleveland, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Detroit and Indianapolis.
However, a slight westward or eastward shift in the track of the storm and the progression of the cold air may cause the heavy snow areas to shift correspondingly.
Because of rapidly falling temperatures during and after the storm, wet and slushy areas are likely to freeze solid. Crews and property owners in may not be able to remove all of the snow and ice before the freeze-up.
Through the weekend, dangerous travel by car or foot may continue, and airline delays and flight cancellations may linger in the region.
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Late week snow, ice may freeze up travel in midwestern US