(CNN) — We know the last thing you’ll want to read is another shocking winter storm that could disrupt transportation across the country, following the headache that started this week. Unfortunately, this is once again the reality many face from the Tennessee River Valley to the I-95 corridor.
The entire gamut of winter rainfall is on the table, from sleet to heavy snow. The storm forecast could determine who will experience the worst of winter’s fury, so let’s break down potential hazards across regions and weather.
The latest Key Messages for the snow/ice expected from the Mid-South across West Virginia, the Mid-Atlantic states, and New England Thursday and Friday. pic.twitter.com/6bHbSAlPuR
— NWS Weather Prediction Center (@NWSWPC) January 5, 2022
Midwest blizzard introduces cold air for the next storm
The cold air that is settling in the central US is actually the product of a fast-moving winter storm that is currently whipping parts of the Midwest with icy winds and heavy lake-effect snow.
“As a low pressure system moves through and past the Great Lakes and another low moves off the Northeast coast, lingering cold and cyclonic flow sets the lake effect snow machine in motion. the next few days, “tweeted the Weather Forecast Center. “You can expect bulbs of 18-24 inches (45 to 60 cm), with larger amounts in isolation.”
Temperatures are dropping rapidly across the Northern Plains and many areas will not see daytime highs rise above 9 degrees before the end of the week. Wind chill will range from an astonishing -31 ° C to -37 ° C in many areas of western Minnesota and the Dakotas from tonight through Friday morning.
The coldest temperatures are expected Friday morning for the Upper Midwest and the North Plains.
“Possibly the coldest temperatures of the season so far, with lows dropping to minus 20 ° C in much of south-central and southeastern Montana,” said the National Weather Service (NWS) in Billings, Montana.
Chicago will stay between -12 ° C and -17 ° C through Thursday and Friday, then rapidly rise above freezing again on Saturday afternoon.
Gusty winds, snow showers and blowing snow today. Arctic air moves in ushering in a multi-day period of below zero wind chills. Temps warm up some on Saturday along with a chance of freezing rain if precip moves in before ground temps warm above freezing. Stay tuned! #ILwx #INwx pic.twitter.com/53bg7bjpx3
– NWS Chicago (@NWSChicago) January 5, 2022
This cold air is setting the stage for our potential snowstorm from the south through the eastern shoreline.
Potential for sleet and snow in the south
On Thursday night, this frozen Arctic air mass will move far enough south to dump a 2 to 5-inch swath of snow across central Tennessee to eastern Kentucky.
This storm has yet to form, but it is laying the groundwork for more travel nightmares and is already worrying meteorologists in the southern states.
“Right now the forecast is for snow, but the concern for our southern counties is if it meets the warm air overhead and turns some of this into ice,” Scott Unger, a meteorologist for the NWS in Nashville, told CNN. .
A significant snowfall event is expected Thursday/Thursday evening. Some sleet/freezing rain is possible, but it will mainly be snow. Amounts will range from 1 to 4+”. Temperatures Friday morning will be bitterly cold, with many spots dropping into the single digits. pic.twitter.com/AEbnpOyrvn
– NWS Nashville (@NWSNashville) January 5, 2022
Most of the precipitation will likely be snow for locations from Nashville to central Appalachia.
However, southern Tennessee, northern Alabama, and Mississippi may experience ice formation of up to 6 millimeters as of Thursday morning. Dangerous travel conditions will persist into the evening hours as temperatures will have been below freezing for several hours and can cause precipitation to freeze upon contact with bridges and roads.
Snow in the Mid-Atlantic
The NWS is considering issuing winter storm alerts for the Washington City metropolitan region, as another winter storm comes under fire.
Snowfall will be limited in the Mid-Atlantic due to the speed of the storm. However, this remains unpleasant news following the nightmare that occurred on I-95 after traffic was stopped for 24 hours due to Monday’s snowstorm.
As details become known, the likelihood of up to 6 inches of snow falling increases from higher areas of West Virginia to Virginia, where the NWS has already issued alerts. Slightly lower snowfall totals can be expected as you approach the Delmarva Peninsula, but changes will need to be watched.
“The snow will start Thursday night and we can expect slippery night traffic,” Megan Kiebler, NWS meteorologist for Charleston, West Virginia, told CNN. “By Friday morning, most of the snow will have fallen and the slippery spots will be more apparent.”
Snow will be heaviest Thursday night through Friday morning from the Potomac Highlands, central Shenandoah Valley, and across the Blue Ridge Mountains. Snow will move to the Washington City metropolitan region overnight, complicating commutes to work Friday morning with a forecast of 5 to 12 centimeters.
Although this winter storm may be less impactful for parts of I-95 crippled by Monday’s blizzard, drivers will need to be aware of the changing road conditions with the next storm and plan accordingly.
Here are some tips to prepare before you go out:
As Friday progresses, this storm is expected to have more of an impact in the Northeast than the storm earlier this week.
The storm’s path will determine the heaviest snow totals in the Northeast
As low pressure recedes from the east coast on Friday morning, how close you are to the coast as you travel northeast will determine where the most snow will fall. The latest weather models suggest that heavier snow could affect the busy I-95 corridor between Boston and New York City.
Initial forecasts point to a narrow strip of snow between 5 and 12 centimeters.
The first HRRR run is in range for Friday’s storm, and is not only quite amplified, but showing a strong signal for an intense snow band that should it verify, could lead to an overperformer along and/or NW of I-95. pic.twitter.com/mzlHLUNeyy
— Tomer Burg (@burgwx) January 5, 2022
If this scenario materializes as expected, Friday could be a difficult travel day for drivers and also for airlines still struggling to manage current impacts of covid and staff shortages.
As the system quickly moves away from the northeast on Friday afternoon, the skies will clear and a cold wind from the northwest will keep the air significantly cold. Roads will remain icy and snow-covered while temperatures will remain below freezing over the weekend.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism