Southeast, Midwest Brace for Weekend Wintry Mess

Winter Storm Hunter is making a rather messy trail of snow and ice across a large swath of the Tennessee Valley and Ohio Valley and will eventually become a Northeast headache Friday night into Saturday.

By Friday evening and night, the storm system will pick up lots of moisture from the Gulf Coast and the Atlantic Ocean, which will strengthen the storm, dumping heavy snow and ice for the interior Northeast.

Along the coast, a flood watch is in place from just north of New York City to Hartford, Connecticut, into Boston and Maine for as much as two to three inches of rain on top of the already-melting snow, a combination that could produce flooding of local rivers and streams.

Over the course of Friday morning and afternoon, precipitation will change from rain to freezing rain to sleet then snow from the Great Lakes to the Ohio Valley and lower Mississippi Valley as the cold front marches eastward.

Roads in eastern Arkansas, western Tennessee, northern Mississippi, northern Louisiana and western Kentucky have seen sleet accumulating over one inch, with Cape Girardeau County, Missouri, picking up two to four inches of sleet over an inch of ice.

Up to a foot of snow has already fallen in parts of southern Wyoming and blizzard conditions with up to six inches of snow have been reported in North Dakota.

On the southern side of the storm, winds gusted to 68 mph in Midland, Texas, producing a dust storm and reducing visibility close to zero.

Forecast timing: Friday

  • The band of snow, sleet and freezing rain will head east through the Tennessee Valley, Ohio Valley and eastern Great Lakes.
  • Any precipitation that starts as rain early Friday could change to freezing rain, sleet and/or snow from west to east in this zone., which could lead to a dangerous afternoon commute.

Forecast timing: Friday night

  • Precipitation in the Ohio Valley and near the eastern Great Lakes should transition to snow or sleet from west to east.
  • Freezing rain may persist in a narrow band from parts of West Virginia, Pennsylvania, central and upstate New York to northern New England.
  • Much of the rest of the Northeast, even as far north as southern Maine, should see rain.

Forecast timing: Saturday

  • Snow will linger in central and upstate New York state and far northern New England.
  • A band of sleet and freezing rain may persist from the Poconos, Catskills and the Hudson Valley north of New York City into parts of western and northern New England.

Photo credit: Twitter / @weatherchannel