Mil­lions brace for weather mis­ery

Snow, ice, wind, rain will pound most of USA

USA TODAY US Edition - - FRONT PAGE - Doyle Rice

A pow­er­ful storm that be­gan its jour­ney Sun­day in Cal­i­for­nia will roar across the coun­try over the next two to three days, spread­ing heavy snow, tor­ren­tial rain and crip­pling ice to more than 200 mil­lion Amer­i­cans.

That’s about 60 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion, Ac­cuWeather said. “Parts of 39 of the 48 con­tigu­ous United States will be touched by the mas­sive storm, in­clud­ing every state east of the Mis­sis­sippi River,” Ac­cuWeather me­te­o­rol­o­gist Faith Eherts said.

On Mon­day, the storm aimed its fury on the south­ern Rock­ies. As much as a foot of snow fell in Ari­zona, Colorado and New Mex­ico.

By Tues­day, the storm will spread heavy snow and strong winds into the cen­tral United States, the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice said.

Late Tues­day and into Wed­nes­day, the threat for heavy snow, ice and danger­ous travel will ex­pand across the Mid­west, Ohio Val­ley, Mid-At­lantic and the North­east.

“Kansas City, Omaha, Des Moines, Min­neapo­lis and Du­luth could all re­ceive sev­eral inches of snow,” Ac­cuWeather me­te­o­rol­o­gist Tyler Roys said.

The Weather Chan­nel warned that the Wash­ing­ton, Bal­ti­more and Philadel­phia metro ar­eas will see ac­cu­mu­lat­ing snow to start be­fore pre­cip­i­ta­tion changes to a mix of sleet, freez­ing rain and then rain. That could make the Wed­nes­day morn­ing com­mute in those cities haz­ardous.

Freez­ing rain and ice will be es­pe­cially danger­ous in the moun­tains of West Vir­ginia, Vir­ginia and North Carolina, caus­ing tree dam­age and scat­tered power out­ages, said.

Lighter amounts of ice were fore­cast for por­tions of In­di­ana, Ohio and Penn­syl­va­nia.

In the South, sev­eral rounds of heavy, flood­ing rain­fall and even some se­vere thun­der­storms were ex­pected Tues­day and Wed­nes­day.

Up to half a foot of rain could swamp much of north­ern Mis­sis­sippi, north­ern Alabama and Ten­nessee, where flood watches and warn­ings have been posted.

Sum­mer will con­tinue to pay an early visit to Florida on Tues­day as tem­per­a­tures soar into the 80s. Sev­eral Florida cities set record highs Mon­day, in­clud­ing Vero Beach, which tied an all-time Fe­bru­ary record high of 89 de­grees. The un­usual warmth was ex­pected to con­tinue for most of the week.

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