Big coast-to-coast storm to bring mis­ery to mil­lions

USA TODAY International Edition - - NEWS - Doyle Rice and Lindsay Sch­nell

A weather sys­tem that was gain­ing strength Wed­nes­day in Cal­i­for­nia will be­come a pow­er­ful six-day, coast-to­coast storm – one that’s forecast to roar all the way from the Southwest to the mid-At­lantic.

Along its 2,500-mile jour­ney, the storm will affect tens of mil­lions of peo­ple as it un­leashes heavy snow and ice, flood­ing rains and po­ten­tially a tor­nado or two, the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice warned.

At least a dozen states will see snow and more than 20 states will see rain from the pow­er­house storm. Wide­spread air and road travel headaches and sig­nificant power out­ages are likely.

Be­fore the storm makes its cross­coun­try ram­page, cold weather will con­tinue to be the main story for much of the na­tion. Early Wed­nes­day morn­ing, al­most 80 per­cent of the Lower 48 states shiv­ered with freez­ing or be­lowfreez­ing tem­per­a­tures, ac­cord­ing to weather.us me­te­o­rol­o­gist Ryan Maue.

Also on Wed­nes­day, a much weaker storm was forecast to spread light snow across the Ap­palachi­ans and mid-At­lantic through­out the day.

As much as 3 inches of snow was pos­si­ble in south­ern New Jer­sey from the weak storm, where officials planned ahead to avoid a re­peat of the snow­storm that belted the New York City metro area on Nov. 15, lead­ing to a chaotic and hellish com­mute home for thou­sands.

In Wash­ing­ton, D.C., for­mer Pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush’s state funeral was held Wed­nes­day un­der mostly cloudy skies.

Mean­while, the pow­er­house storm was al­ready start­ing to fire up in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, where com­mu­ni­ties were still re­cov­er­ing from catastrophic wildfires that swept across the state, killing dozens and de­stroy­ing thou­sands of struc­tures. Heavy rain­fall was ex­pected Wed­nes­day along with the pos­si­bil­ity of flash flood­ing, ac­cord­ing to the weather ser­vice.

Af­ter spread­ing some rain and snow across the Southwest on Thurs­day, the storm will in­ten­sify Fri­day as it wal­lops por­tions of north­ern Texas and Ok­la­homa with heavy snow and freez­ing rain. Up to a foot of snow is pos­si­ble in cities such as Amar­illo, Texas.

Ice ac­cu­mu­la­tions in some ar­eas may be heavy enough for tree dam­age and power out­ages, the Weather Chan­nel warned.

In south­ern Texas, heavy rain and thun­der­storms could lead to dan­ger­ous flash flood­ing. Some of the storms may be­come strong enough to pro­duce dam­ag­ing wind gusts and iso­lated tor­na­does, AccuWeather said.

On Satur­day, por­tions of Arkansas and Mis­souri will see the threat of ice. A huge chunk of the South from Texas to the Caroli­nas will see a soak­ing rain and a chance for flood­ing on Satur­day.

By Sun­day and Mon­day, the longlived storm will move into the Ap­palachi­ans, the mid-At­lantic states and po­ten­tially the North­east. Some of the heav­i­est snow is forecast for moun­tain­ous ar­eas of North Carolina, West Vir­ginia and Vir­ginia, where some fore­casts pre­dict 1 to 3 feet of snow.

The storm could have some im­pact on the big cities of the mid-At­lantic and North­east, but its ex­act track and po­ten­tial snow­fall amounts can­not be pre­dicted yet.

Peo­ple tired of shiv­er­ing could get a break next week, as warmer weather is ex­pected to move in, ac­cord­ing to Weather.com, es­pe­cially in the East.

JOHN MOORE/GETTY IM­AGES

A Nov. 15 storm caused flight can­cel­la­tions at Ne­wark Lib­erty In­ter­na­tional Air­port and in much of the North­east.

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