A fast-paced winter storm referred to as a “Saskatchewan screamer” is expected to whip up parts of the Northern Plains, Midwest, Southeast and Tennessee Valley. The storm system, which originates from the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, is set to begin Thursday night and last all weekend, possibly even early next week.
The incoming weather system is expected to move through a series of actions, according to AccuWeather’s chief meteorologist Jonathan Porter. The Northern Plains and Upper Midwest are first in the expected tracks of the storm, with several inches of snow expected to fall overnight Thursday and Friday morning.
Sections of Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois are under warnings of winter storms that begin late Thursday night. Mottled, windy winds and gusts of up to 40 mph are possible, according to the National Weather Service forecast. In South Dakota, gusts could reach up to 60 mph, the NWS said.
Areas north of Fargo, North Dakota, and south of Des Moines, Iowa, could look up to a foot of snow, while other parts of North Dakota, Illinois and Missouri risk looking up to six inches, Porter said. Areas of Minnesota and North and South Dakota could see up to 10 inches of accumulated snow.
“Difficult driving conditions are likely throughout this region as the roads become snow-covered,” the NWS said. “Significance will also be greatly reduced in heavy snowfalls with speeds of up to 1” / hour and during periods of strong winds. “
The storm will then find its way south and move as far as southeastern Oklahoma and Arkansas before turning toward Tennessee, Porter said. Parts of Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia are under winter storm guards over the weekend.
With the incoming storm system, Nashville may end up with more accumulated snow so far this winter season than both Milwaukee and Chicago. “It’s pretty impressive,” Porter said.
Meanwhile, Atlanta, which has not seen snow for the past four years, could potentially be affected by the winter storm, which begins Saturday and Sunday, Porter said. Men NWS said it was too early to say how much and what kind of precipitation the area could see.
“What we do know in the Atlanta area is that even a little bit of snow or ice can cause a big impact,” he said. “There are fewer plows, people are less experienced in handling and driving in snow in these areas. So we have rung the alarm bells about Atlanta.”
He also warned that ice could cover the Ohio and Tennessee valleys into western Virginia and stay for many hours.
“We’re going to talk about a very significant ice storm,” Porter said. “Cold air right near the ground, locked inside across parts of the Carolinas. The inner parts of the Carolinas are a recipe for rain to freeze on contact with cold surfaces.”
Significant wood damage with possible widespread power outages is possible in icy areas, he said.
Then the storm is expected to whip to the northeast with intense cold winds. Porter said snow and cold rain are possible for major cities like New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, DC, Saturday night to Monday.
The winter storm comes at a time when some areas need rainfall. According to meteorologist Stephanie Abrams of the Weather Channel, Des Moines is 8.6 inches below its average snowfall.
“We will potentially wipe out our entire deficit with this one system,” Abrams told CBS News.
But elsewhere, including Washington, DC, Virginia and Maryland, another storm awaits just a week after the last. Porter says these states in particular have been in an active storm track this winter as they set the boundary between much cooler air from the north.
“It’s a recipe for storms when you have those kinds of differences in the air masses,” he said.
Porter advises anyone heading into the winter storm to get ready for it now by rearranging travel plans and making sure important things like food and recipes are ready in the event of a power outage.
“Small changes in the storm track can have a big impact on how much snow or ice falls in different areas, so it’s a good idea to keep up to date with our updated forecasts,” he said. “It’s going to be very important to prepare.”