After hammering California with rain and snow, a “blockbuster” winter storm is taking aim at the East, where as much as 40 inches of snow could fall over the weekend. Road travel may become impossible in the heavy snow, and flight delays and cancellations are likely.
After the storm heads offshore Sunday, the intense cold will be the main weather story as air straight from the Arctic will roar in, bringing below-freezing temperatures to 200 million Americans.
“Freezing rain, heavy snow and heavy rain are expected through the central and eastern U.S. over the next few days,” the National Weather Service warned.
Friday, the heaviest snow will hit South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Kansas, Missouri and Iowa, AccuWeather said.
Then, the storm will roar into the Northeast and New England on Saturday and Sunday, where the heaviest snow will fall.
AccuWeather said 40 inches is possible in parts of northern New England, and close to 30 inches of snow may fall on parts of central and northern New York state and the northern tier of Pennsylvania. Snowfall rates could reach 2-3 inches per hour.
The storm “will be a blockbuster in terms of impact and dangerous conditions,” AccuWeather meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.
Snowfall of 12-24 inches is likely to be more common in the heaviest band from the storm, according to the AccuWeather forecast. Blowing and drifting at the height and conclusion of the storm could cause the snow depth to vary by several feet.