One storm after another will affect much of the eastern half of the nation over the next couple of weeks and will unleash multiple rounds of travel problems and disruptions to daily activities. However, which areas are most likely to be hit with snow, ice and rain will vary with the track of the storm.
In the wake of a train of Alberta Clipper storms, a new train of storms has begun and will last into the middle of February. Unlike the clippers, which originate from western Canada and have little moisture to work with, the upcoming storms will be originating from the South and Southwest. They will be able to tap into a great amount of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean as they move along.
The latest information reveals that most of the storms will take a path toward the Great Lakes, which often yields a very complex precipitation pattern, especially in the Northeast.
Such a track would focus multiple rounds of heavy snow toward the Upper Midwest. At the end of the siege of storms, parts of the Upper Midwest could be buried under a few feet of snow.
One or more of the storm systems may be strong enough to bring severe weather to parts of the South.
In the mid-Atlantic and southern New England, when storms systems track in this manner, a period of snow and/or ice is often followed by rain. However, for interior areas, where cold air is trapped, there could be an extended period of ice. Heavy snow could still fall over the northern tier of the Northeast.
Cold air will briefly push southward and eastward in the wake of each storm, which will set the stage for snow and ice problems for following storms.
Warmer air ushered northward during the storms along the Atlantic Seaboard could raise concerns for ice jams on some major rivers over time.
The weakest and perhaps the sneakiest storm of the bunch is forecast to track from the southern Plains on Sunday to the mid-Atlantic coast on Monday. This storm will buck the trend so to speak.
Along the northern fringe of the storm will be a swath of generally light snow and ice originating from portions of New Mexico, Oklahoma and northern Texas on Sunday. The swath will continue to travel to the east Sunday night over northern Arkansas, southeastern Missouri and portions of Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia.
As this storm nears the mid-Atlantic coast, it could strengthen slightly, turn more to the northeast and grab more moisture. Snow could become heavier and shift northward and inland in this scenario on Monday.
A stronger storm spanning Tuesday and Wednesday will likely be one of the storms that tracks toward the Great Lakes.
This storm is forecast to bring wind-driven snow from portions of the central and southern Plains to the middle part of the Great Lakes.
Mostly rain will fall in the I-95 corridor of the mid-Atlantic, but a period of snow and/or ice is likely at the onset Wednesday, especially in New England and the interior Northeast.
The storm could bring enough rain to yield flash and urban flooding problems from the Ohio Valley to parts of the Northeast.
Strong to severe thunderstorms may develop over the lower Mississippi and Tennessee valleys late Tuesday. Some of the storms may cross the southern Appalachians Wednesday.
The track and intensity of the much-speculated storm toward next weekend is very questionable at this point.
One scenario has a modest storm tracking off the mid-Atlantic coast.
However, the storm next weekend could take a path similar to the Tuesday-Wednesday storm. As a result, similar concerns for snow, ice, rain and thunderstorms in relatively the same areas would follow suit.
According to AccuWeather.com Long Range Meteorologist Mark Paquette, "A frequent storm track toward the Great Lakes fits into the long-range plan into mid-February, where the most persistent and coldest air gets huddled over the North Central states and brief surges of mild air are pushed northward along the Atlantic Seaboard."
Storms that often track toward the Great Lakes attempt to re-form along the mid-Atlantic coast at the last minute. How quickly this occurs will determine whether or not rain changes back to snow along the mid-Atlantic and New England coasts and if temperatures fail to get above the freezing mark over some of the interior locations throughout the storm.
"At least for snow-weary folks in the South, the pattern does not favor snow and ice along I-10 and much of the I-20 corridor," Pacquette said.