The storm that brought damp weather and mountain snow to the Southwest will burst onto the southern Plains today. Disruptive swaths of snow, ice and rain will spread over the southern Plains as the day progresses.
For much of the region, the snow will follow a period of rain, sleet and freezing rain. The combination of the wintry precipitation and in some cases plunging temperatures following the rain will make untreated roads and sidewalks extremely treacherous.
Travel will quickly come to a standstill today as heavy snow and ice spreads eastward from northeastern New Mexico through Oklahoma. Enough snow or ice falling along the I-40 corridor could force officials to close the highway.
Those planning on flying to or from cities including Wichita, Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Springfield, Mo., will not fare much better. Flight delays and cancellations will persist until the storm moves away late Friday.
Until then, a foot of snow, with locally higher amounts, will bury a swath from the Texas Panhandle through northern Oklahoma. Meanwhile, an inch of ice could accrue on trees and power lines in or near Oklahoma City.
Ice building up on surfaces combined with gusty winds from the Texas Panhandle through northern Arkansas into tonight will down trees and power lines as well. Lengthy power outages could ensue.
Little Rock, Cape Girardeau, Memphis and Nashville will fall within the area bearing the brunt of the vicious winter storm Friday. Substantial snow and ice can be expected in these areas as well.
Late Friday into Saturday, the snow will advance eastward into the southern Middle Atlantic, blanketing parts of North Carolina and Virginia with as much as a foot of snow.