A severe winter storm caused snow in parts of North Dakota early Friday and is expected to bring snow and ice south on Saturday before turning towards the east coast, where forecasters say rain and snow are likely on Sunday or Monday.
Details of which East Coast cities will experience snowfall and how much snow fall remain unclear. But some airports and transport departments were already bracing for potential travel issues.
David Roth, senior forecaster for the National Weather Service, said on Thursday evening that meteorologists expect forecasts to change.
“There is more uncertainty than usual,” Mr. Roth said. “When we’re dealing with the difference between rain and sleet, freezing rain and snow, small changes make a big difference.”
By Friday morning, snow had fallen in central and eastern North Dakota. Bismarck Weather Service. Road conditions were already rapidly deteriorating, they said. Several cities were under a winter storm warning until Friday, and parts of that state could see a swath of heavy snow, more than eight inches in total, according to meteorologists.
“This snow will combine with gusty winds, resulting in slippery snow-covered roads and a significant reduction in visibility,” the weather service said. Twitter. “From time to time, travel is likely to become dangerous.”
The storm is expected to move southeast toward Iowa on Friday, where many cities will have a winter storm warning in effect from Friday through early Saturday. Six to 10 inches of snow is possible in northern and central Iowa, according to the Met Office.
Southwest Airlines warned Thursday that passengers transiting through or from Des Moines International Airport could experience delayed, diverted or canceled flights. Other cities the airline recommends traveling to include St. Louis, Kansas City, Missouri, and Omaha, Nebraska. American Airlines and Delta have made similar weather-related announcements.
The storm could bring wintry weather to parts of western Kentucky and southeastern Missouri by Friday evening, with up to four inches of possible snowfall, according to the Met Office in Paducah, Kentucky.
On Saturday, the storm system is expected to continue moving southeastward toward northern South Carolina, northeastern Georgia and western North Carolina. Dozens of cities in the region will be under surveillance for the winter storm from Saturday evening to Monday morning. The weather service said that mixed precipitation is possible in the area, up to 10 inches of snow is possible, as well as possible ice accumulations.
Dave Nadler, a meteorologist at the Met Office in Peachtree, Georgia, said at a briefing that some ice accumulation in northern Georgia could be significant.
“We are considering the possibility of a severe winter storm,” Mr. Nadler said. “The look of it and the confidence in it is starting to grow.”
The storm system will then head northeast toward the east coast, Mr. Roth said. Winter weather will be possible in several cities, including Washington, Philadelphia and New York, but details about how much and how much precipitation will fall are unclear.
“We will be in a transition zone where it can start to snow, then it will rain, and then it will snow again,” Mr. Roth said.
Forecast uncertainties may unnerve those who live along Interstate 95 in Virginia after a snowstorm earlier this month left hundreds of drivers stuck in their vehicles for more than 24 hours.
Despite forecast uncertainties along the I-95 corridor and to the east, the heaviest impacts and heaviest snowfall of all are expected west of this area. weather service.
However, the Virginia Department of Transportation took no chances, and on Thursday its crews began spraying sections of I-95 with a solution of salt and brine, which helps prevent ice from sticking to the roadway.
“On Sunday, drivers should avoid unnecessary travel due to the potential for hazardous weather and road conditions during or even after the storm,” the department said in a statement. “Even with pre-treatment, conditions from icy to slush remain possible.”
Finally, by the end of Sunday and Monday, the system could bring snow to New York. Parts of the upstate could see up to six inches or more of snow, but New York likely won’t see significant snowfall. weather service said.