More than 100 million people in path of major winter storm's snow, ice from Texas to Midwest, Northeast
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A major winter storm with heavy snow and disruptive ice will impact more than 100 million people across a nearly 3,000-mile swath stretching from Texas and the Plains to the Midwest and Northeast through Friday.
Frigid arctic air has moved into the nation's heartland on Groundhog Day behind a cold front sweeping down across the Plains. Moisture from the Gulf of Mexico has surged northward ahead of the front.
That moisture is overlapping with the fresh supply of cold air, setting the stage for an expansive area of snow and ice impacting millions of Americans from the nation's southern border to its northern border.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the winter storm was producing snow and a narrow band of sleet and freezing rain over a large area from Colorado, New Mexico and northern Texas to parts of Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. This slug of wintry precipitation will only turn more widespread as colder air continues to filter in, causing rain to change over to snow and ice farther south along the storm's path.
More than 6 inches of snow has been reported in a stripe from northeastern Missouri to central and northern Illinois and northwestern Indiana, including the south side of Chicagoland. The highest snowfall total in the Midwest so far is 14.4 inches in Lewistown, Illinois.
Portions of the Denver metro area have also received 6 to 11 inches of snow. Up to 22 inches has fallen in the higher elevations southwest of Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Top snow reports as of 12 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022. (FOX Weather)
The National Weather Service has issued Winter Storm Warnings, Ice Storm Warnings, Winter Storm Watches and Winter Weather Advisories from parts of New Mexico and Texas northeastward to upstate New York and a large portion of New England.
Cities under Winter Storm Warnings include Dallas/Fort Worth and Austin in Texas, Oklahoma City and Tulsa in Oklahoma, St. Louis and Kansas City in Missouri, Chicago, Indianapolis, Detroit, Cleveland, Buffalo and Syracuse in New York and Burlington in Vermont.
The Ice Storm Warnings include Memphis in Tennessee, Louisville and Lexington in Kentucky and Evansville in Indiana.
Pittsburgh, Boston and Portland, Maine, are currently under Winter Storm Watches.
More than 100 million people are under Winter Storm Warnings, Ice Storm Warnings, Winter Storm Watches and Winter Weather Advisories. (FOX Weather)
Snow, sleet and/or freezing rain will make driving conditions hazardous in these regions on one or more days through the end of the workweek, so you're advised to postpone or cancel any travel plans along the path of this winter storm.
The blast of frigid air following in the storm's wake could cause roads to remain icy even after the precipitation ends.
BITTER COLD COMING TO TEXAS THIS WEEK BUT IT WON'T BE 2021 ALL OVER AGAIN
Here is our current outlook for the storm's timing, followed by the predicted snow and ice amounts. Be sure to download the FOX Weather app for the latest forecast and weather alerts for your exact location, plus the 24/7 livestream.
On Groundhog Day, snow, sleet and freezing rain will stretch from central and southern portions of the Rockies and Plains to parts of the Midwest and southern Great Lakes.
The snow could become heavy in some of these areas, and the sleet and freezing rain might reach as far south as Oklahoma and western Texas.
By Wednesday night, rain could change to freezing rain as far south as North and Central Texas, including the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. This would create a glaze of ice on many roads.
7 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT FREEZING RAIN
There may even be some snow, sleet or ice arriving in the interior Northeast and northern New England later Wednesday night. However, a warmer southerly breeze should allow for mainly rain in southern New England and the mid-Atlantic.
Forecast for Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022 (Groundhog Day). (FOX Weather)
An expansive area of snow, sleet and freezing rain is likely from as far south as Central and West Texas, Arkansas, northwestern Mississippi and West Tennessee to the Ohio Valley, Great Lakes, northwestern Pennsylvania, upstate New York and northern New England.
On the storm's warm side, a soaking rain is expected for much of the Northeast, including the Interstate 95 corridor from Boston to Washington.
Thursday night, the wintry mess of precipitation should gradually taper off in the Southern Plains and Ozarks, but snow, sleet and freezing rain will continue through the night from the mid-Mississippi and Ohio valleys to the interior Northeast.
Forecast for Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022. (FOX Weather)
This storm's cold front will finally reach the Northeast by Friday morning, which could usher in enough cold air to change the rain over to a period of snow, sleet or ice from southern New England to the New York City tri-state area.
Slick travel conditions are possible in at least parts of the Northeast on Friday where the rain is able to change to wintry precipitation.
This storm should finally exit off the Northeast coast on Friday night, with another blast of frigid air following in its wake this weekend.
ARCTIC AIR TO REMAIN IN PLACE AFTER POWERFUL STORM SYSTEM INVADES CENTRAL, EASTERN U.S.
Forecast for Friday, Feb. 4, 2022. (FOX Weather)
How much snow?
At least 6 inches of snow will likely pile up over a large area from the Central and Southern Plains and Rockies into the Midwest, southern Great Lakes, northwestern Pennsylvania, upstate New York and northern New England. Some of these areas could see more than a foot of snow.
Cities with the potential to pick up 6-plus inches of snow include St. Louis, Chicago (especially south Chicagoland), Indianapolis, Cleveland, Detroit, Buffalo and Syracuse in New York, Burlington in Vermont and Portland in Maine.
Light accumulations of snow are possible as far south as Central Texas.
Snow forecast through Friday, Feb. 4, 2022. (FOX Weather)
How much ice?
Ice accumulations from freezing rain are possible over an expansive area from North and Central Texas to southern and eastern Oklahoma, Arkansas, southern Missouri, West and Middle Tennessee, the Ohio Valley and the interior Northeast.
All locations that have a period of freezing rain should see at least a glaze of ice, which is sufficient to create icy roads and dangerous driving conditions. Scattered power outages and broken tree limbs are also not ruled out from North and Central Texas all the way into parts of Pennsylvania, the New York City tri-state area and New England.
Ice forecast through Friday, Feb. 4, 2022. (FOX Weather)
In some areas, the accretion of ice on tree branches and power lines could become heavy enough to cause more widespread power outages and tree damage.
HOW MUCH ICE IS NEEDED TO KNOCK OUT POWER, DAMAGE TREES?
The highest risk for this disruptive ice appears to be from the Ozarks of southern Missouri and northern Arkansas northeastward into West Tennessee, Kentucky, far southern Illinois, southern Indiana and possibly southern Ohio, especially where Ice Storm Warnings are in effect.
This zone of the highest threat for disruptive ice includes the cities of Memphis in Tennessee, Louisville and Lexington in Kentucky and Evansville in Indiana. One-quarter to one-half inch of ice is possible in some of these areas.
The threat for disruptive ice capable of tree damage and power outages. (FOX Weather)