Large late season snowstorm eyes Midwest, Mid-Atlantic states

4:37 PM, Mar 2, 2014   |    comments
  • Emergency workers respond to a massive pileup accident on Interstate 25 in Denver on March 1 as another winter storm roared through and headed east. Authorities said one person was killed and 30 others were injured in the pileup.
    
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(USA TODAY) The winter that just won't end is at it again.

A winter storm over the southern Plains and lower Mississippi Valley is expected to move northeastward to the mid-Atlantic by Sunday evening, eventually dumping 6-12 inches of snow across a swath that includes Washington, according to the National Weather Service.

"We expect some significant snow and ice accumulations throughout the region," said Bruce Sullivan, senior forecaster at the Weather Service's Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Md. "It's going to cause some serious travel disruptions. It'll hit at the start of the workweek. In the mid-Atlantic region, that's going to be an issue."

The storm could bring power outages to some areas where relatively high ice accumulations are expected, Accuweather meteorologist Dan DePodwin said Sunday. "The areas we are most concerned about would be northeast Arkansas, western Tennessee into southwest Kentucky and far southeastern Missouri," he said. "That includes Cape Girardeau, Mo., and Memphis, Tenn. Some places could pick up one-half inch of ice, which could cause power outages.

"And obviously, driving is not advised in all of those areas. We also expect numerous flight delays. Already, we've seen over 1,000 flights canceled today, and we expect that to go up today through tomorrow."

An area including Philadelphia, southern New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, northern Virginia into West Virginia, eastern Ohio and northeastern Kentucky will bear the brunt of the snow. Freezing rain and snow are expected in southern Indiana, southern Illinois, Kentucky and Missouri.

The latest round of weather misery will start as rain late Sunday afternoon and evening and change to freezing rain overnight. "That will transition over to snow sometime after midnight in the mid-Atlantic region," Sullivan said.

Because of unusually cold temperatures, a quick melt is not expected. "We don't expect any melting during the day because temperatures will plummet during the day Monday," Sullivan said.

New York could see 2-4 inches of snow and none is expected for New England.

Freezing rain is expected in Arkansas, Tennessee and northern Mississippi.

The storm was already hitting the central section of the USA, causing treacherous driving conditions and impacting air travel. A pileup involving more than 100 vehicles Saturday on Interstate 25 in Denver left one person dead and 30 injured.

TODAY IN THE SKY: Airlines pre-emptively cancel 1,100 Monday flights

The Indiana Department of Transportation was monitoring the storm, expecting more than 6 inches of snow in northern Indiana and a combination of rain, ice and snow in the south. INDOT "strongly encouraged" drivers to avoid optional travel so they don't hamper state highway crews working to keep the roads clear.

At Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, 170 flights had been canceled Sunday, according to FlightStats.

Meanwhile, storms that brought sorely needed rain to drought-plagued California were winding down after sending mudslides down foothills communities, flooding roadways and opening sinkholes.

Evacuation orders remained in effect for hundreds of homes in Los Angeles County foothills communities where recent wildfires have burned away vegetation that holds soil in place, and bursts of rain caused occasional debris flows.

The storm marked a sharp departure from many months of drought that has grown to crisis proportions for the state's vast farming industry. However, such storms would have to be much more frequent to make major headway against the drought, weather forecasters say.

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