The major winter storm destined to eventually reach the central East Coast states will first dump substantial snow and ice across the southern Plains starting on Thursday. Residents should prepare for severe disruptions to travel and daily routines.
Rain will develop across Texas and Oklahoma late tonight as the storm begins to take shape. A bit of ice or snow will be found along the rain's northern fringe.
As the winter storm hits, upload your storm photos on our Facebook PageIt will not be until Thursday into Thursday night that heavy snow stretches eastward from northeastern New Mexico to southern Missouri and northern Arkansas.
Before the snow winds down on Friday, accumulations of up to a foot are expected for Amarillo, Texas; Tulsa, Okla., and Springfield, Mo.
For many, the snow will follow a period of sleet and freezing rain. The combination of the snow and ice will make untreated roads and sidewalks extremely treacherous.
Where the freezing rain persists for an extended period of time, the ice may down tree limbs and power lines. Winds gusting between 30 and 40 mph will put added stress on the power lines, leading to more power outages.
The winds will also blow and drift the heavy snow around, further making travel hazardous.
Motorists should prepare for possible road closures due to either the poor conditions or any accidents that occur. Cancellation of flights, school and other activities will also likely result.
South of the heavy snow and ice, rain may end as a bit of snow or freezing drizzle in Dallas and Abilene on Thursday night. As temperatures drop below freezing, any wet spots may turn icy on untreated surfaces.
On Friday into Saturday, the winter storm will spread its substantial snow and ice eastward across Kentucky, Tennessee and the central East Coast states. The AccuWeather.com East Regional News story has more information.