A winter storm expected to batter every state east of the Mississippi River pushed east early Wednesday, bringing snow, ice, school cancellations and vehicle restrictions.
While the Central Plains was set to see the bulk of its snow in the overnight hours, cities including Detroit, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York and Washington should get the worst of the storm on Wednesday, AccuWeather meteorologist Brett Edwards said. The winter storm is expected to end Thursday.
“Significant ice threat is also expected across the spine of the Appalachian Mountains all the way from far southwestern North Carolina up and through Pennsylvania and into parts of far southern New York,” Edwards said. “Ice secretion of over a half-inch can be expected in parts of West Virginia and Virginia that can lead to downed power lines, tree branches falling down and very icy road conditions.”
Both Minneapolis Public Schools and St. Paul Public Schools cancelled classes and activities Wednesday, anticipating an inch of snow per hour during the morning commute. Officials scheduled vehicle restrictions on Pennsylvania highways early Wednesday, urging people to monitor snow and ice.
A quarter-inch of ice weighed down branches and power lines in Boone County, Arkansas, knocking out power for 2,000 households on Tuesday night. Car accidents and road closures occurred throughout Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and Iowa on Tuesday night, AccuWeather said.
More than 1,200 flights had already been cancelled Wednesday, flight tracking service FlightAware counted as of 2 a.m. EST.
On Wednesday, 4 to 8 inches of snow is expected from eastern Nebraska into eastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin. Temperatures will be below freezing from the Dakotas into the Upper Mississippi Valley through Thursday, the National Weather Service said.
The Mid-Atlantic will see snow change to sleet and freezing rain, followed by rain. Areas near the central Appalachians may see 4 to 8 inches of snow and ice accumulations up to 0.25 inches.
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In the South, an additional 1 to 3 inches of heavy rain will fall on already saturated grounds through Wednesday afternoon. The National Weather service has issued flood and flash flood watches from the Lower Mississippi Valley into portions of the Ohio Valley.
West of the Rocky Mountains, the National Weather Service said high temperatures will be 10 to 20 degrees below average through Thursday. More than a foot of snow is expected through Thursday night in some of the major mountain ranges from Washington and Oregon into Arizona and southwestern Colorado.