Immobilizing storm to bury Carolinas, southern Virginia in snow and ice
December 06, 2018; 1:23 PM
A cross-country storm will crawl through the southern United States with a swath of debilitating snow, damaging ice and flooding rain into early next week.
Rain, thunderstorms and a wintry mix are scheduled to slowly overspread the southeastern U.S. on Saturday.
Download the free AccuWeather app to see the snowfall or ice forecast for your location.
Major winter storm eyes interior Southeast
While the storm may pack a punch in the South Central states this weekend, it may hit like a sledge hammer over portions of the Southeast states from Saturday night to Monday.
"In areas from central and western North Carolina to parts of southern West Virginia and southwestern and south-central Virginia, this will be a major storm with the potential for a foot or more of snow," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brian Wimer.
Shipping originating from, passing through or ending up in this swath may be adversely affected.
An AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 2 feet of snow is forecast where sleet and freezing rain do not mix in over the heavy snow area.
A heavy snowfall is likely to sneak into part of upstate South Carolina and the northeastern corner of Georgia.
A wintry mix is in store in areas from northeastern Georgia and easternmost Tennessee to part of the South Carolina midlands, a portion of eastern North Carolina, much of southeastern Virginia and southern portions of the Delmarva peninsula.
Where the storm switches over to sleet and freezing rain, the amount of snow will be lower.
Sleet and freezing rain can be difficult to remove and dangerous to drive on, and an accumulation of ice can also greatly weigh down trees and power lines.
Where heavy wet snow and/or freezing rain fall, widespread power outages are anticipated.
Expect major disruptions to daily activities. Schools may be forced to close on Monday and perhaps longer due to the scope of cleanup operations and power outages.
Travel along a large portion of I-26, I-40, I-64, I-77, I-81 and I-85 in the region may be dangerous to impossible as the storm ramps up and for a while after the storm departs.
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Many fight cancellations are likely at the smaller hubs in the region. Expect major airline delays and flight cancellations in Charlotte, North Carolina, Atlanta and potentially Nashville, Tennessee, and Washington-Dulles Airport. These are likely to stem directly from weather at the airport locations or displaced aircraft and crews from the smaller hubs in the path of the storm from the southern Plains to the Southeast.
Cities such as Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh, North Carolina, may have great difficulty in handling a winter storm of this magnitude.
People are urged to stay off the roads during the event in these cities and others to allow the limited number of crews to battle the storm without vehicles blocking the way.
Risk of flooding, locally severe storms to focus on Deep South
In the I-10 and I-20 corridors of the Southeast, as well as in the coastal areas of the Carolinas and the southeastern corner of Virginia, enough rain may fall to cause urban and small stream flooding.
Torrential downpours and gusty winds in thunderstorms may be limited to the I-10 corridor of the Southeast on Sunday. Locally severe thunderstorms may focus over part of the Florida Peninsula from late Sunday to Sunday night as cooler air approaches.
Sharp northern edge of storm likely to set up in lower part of mid-Atlantic
AccuWeather meteorologists now believe the storm will stay south of much of the Northeast states.
"This is not the type of storm where snow will continue to advance northward to northern New England," Wimer said.
Keep checking back with AccuWeather for the latest on the storm and more details on snow amounts.
Chilly air to linger in wake of storm
While the storm is forecast to wind down on Monday, temperatures will not significantly rebound through the middle days of the week.
While sunshine during the day will melt a small amount of snow, the snow and ice cover is not likely to rapidly disappear.
At least Tuesday, Wednesday and part of Thursday should be free of precipitation in the region for storm cleanup operations.