(Citizen Free Press) — It’s barely a week into February, but it has already seen a historic winter storm, brutally cold Arctic temperatures, and a series of deadly avalanches across America.
Now, Mother Nature is upping the ante with the possibility of a crippling ice storm and rounds of heavy snow.
Winter storm alerts are in effect for nearly 10 million people in more than half a dozen states, from Arkansas to West Virginia.
The polar vortex is to blame
“The front that is bringing in all this cold Arctic air is also hitting the eastern US with some bouts of winter weather before it is all over,” says Citizen Free Press meteorologist Michael Guy.
A series of storms is forecast to sweep across the Midwest and Northeast this weekend and could drop 6 to 12 inches of snow in parts of the mid-Atlantic.
With a combination of freezing temperatures in northern cities like Chicago and a warm 26-degree temperature along the Gulf Coast, the elements are in place for a frontal boundary to develop in the eastern United States in late This week.
The models hint at the possibility of another round of snow in cities like Chicago, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and New York, while significant ice accumulations are possible in parts of the central valleys of Mississippi and Ohio.
A crippling ice storm is forming
On Wednesday and Thursday a significant amount of ice could accumulate in cities like Springfield, Missouri; Evansville, Indiana, and Louisville, Kentucky, which would cause travel difficulties throughout the region, in addition to tree limb fall and widespread power outages.
“This winter storm will be the one that could pose the greatest danger to people,” says Guy. “The storm will develop by drawing moisture from the Gulf and underdevelopment in the lower Mississippi Valley, with rains and storms along the Gulf Coast and freezing precipitation falling in parts of eastern Texas and Oklahoma.”
The ice storm is forecast to begin Tuesday night, with a brief pause before the second round continues on Wednesday and Thursday.
There is still some uncertainty with the forecast about where exactly the largest ice build will be recorded, but the entire region, from Arkansas to West Virginia, faces the threat of ice.
Ice storms are known to paralyze cities. They can cause serious accidents on the roads, stranded drivers for hours, and delays at airports.
States along the Gulf Coast will be on the warmer side of the storm system.
They will be too hot for ice and snow, but will likely be affected by showers and thunderstorms that will develop midweek and persist through the weekend.
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