By Savannah Pointer
A powerful storm that has developed in the Rockies could bring snow to more than 20 states.
Through midweek, the storm will bring a number of weather threats to the central and southern United States. According to AccuWeather analysts, the sizable system that intensified as it moved across the Rocky Mountains will leave a trail of heavy snow in its wake, reaching as far south as northern Texas.
AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alyson Hoegg told The Epoch Times that the primary concern is that, as the storm begins to intensify early on Jan. 24 and moves across Texas and through the mid-Mississippi Valley, the heavy snowfall rates could cause dangerous conditions. Hoegg said the snow rates over a narrow corridor from North Texas and portions of Oklahoma will stretch up to the Indianapolis area and through Ohio. This snowfall could intensify to one to two inches per hour and might cause travel hazards.
“During the day Jan. 24, the snow will be seen from the Texas panhandle up through central local Oklahoma for the evening commute … anyone out and about traveling will experience reduced visibility,” Hoegg said. “Snow will quickly accumulate on roads making them slippery and dangerous to travel on. So that’s definitely, again, a concern in that corridor.
“By the time you get into Jan. 25, in the morning we’re looking at again these heavy snowfall rates stretching from near the St. Louis area up through Indianapolis and up into Southeastern Michigan, and northwest Ohio as well.”
Where the Storm is Headed
The storm is expected to start to draw in moisture from the Gulf of Mexico as it moves across the southern and central parts of the United States. Even some regions that don’t experience excessive winter weather could see snowfall totals of up to 6 inches. For instance, Oklahoma City only receives an average of 6.7 inches on average each year. But this storm system could bring the equivalent of that average to the city in just 12 to 24 hours, according to AccuWeather’s forecast.
The Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex will likely experience mostly rain from the storm farther south, while it’s possible that some snowflakes will mix in later on Jan. 24. As snow accumulates and visibility is considerably diminished, travel will become challenging. Even a light coating on highways can create slippery conditions, significantly impeding movement in addition to impaired visibility.
Due to the wet, heavy snow, power disruptions may also be a problem in the area. Power lines and tree limbs that dangle above power wires can both be weighed down by heavier, stickier snow. The snow’s weight could cause these branches to snap, possibly falling on the power lines. This snow is also heavier to shovel.
“The other concern is on the southern side of this storm, while we’re not expecting snow all the way down to the Gulf Coast, we are expecting severe weather. So places from central Texas during the day Jan. 24 all the way out along the Gulf Coast through the Houston Metro area over to New Orleans and out into the far western Florida panhandle, we’re concerned about severe weather and we expect a line of severe thunderstorms to develop during the day Jan. 24, and these will produce damaging wind,” Hoegg said. “There can be isolated tornadoes.
“So it’s not just snow with this storm, but severe weather along the Gulf Coast is also a concern.”
Additional Concerns as Snow Fall Increases
Forecasters also said that as the storm moves toward the Ohio Valley, the situation becomes a little more complicated. A storm with this much energy can be sent farther north or south by little adjustments in the jet stream, which would significantly affect the amount of snowfall. On the southeastern edge of the storm, drizzle or rain can be anticipated, which could reduce the amount of snow that falls.
The biggest possibility for heavy snow is currently in the region from Springfield, Missouri, all the way up to northern Maine and Atlantic Canada, according to AccuWeather meteorologists.
Several large cities, including St. Louis, Chicago, and Detroit, could experience disruptive snow as the storm moves toward the northeast, according to AccuWeather. While the precise snowfall totals for these cities are still uncertain, there is no reason to worry that a protracted period of mixed precipitation will reduce their snowfall totals because they are on the cooler northwestern side of the storm track.
More snow may fall in the interior and possibly even closer to the Interstate 95 corridor once the storm moves towards the Northeast. Although nothing is definitive at this time, it appears that New York City and Philadelphia will continue to experience a lack of snow.
The AccuWeather meteorologist also cited concern for those tasked with removing snow, due to it being a “heavy, wet” snowfall.
“So the other hazard we’re concerned about is shoveling,” Hoegg said. “People out and about, or getting out and shoveling. It’s going to take some effort to shovel the snow off of sidewalks and driveways.”