A significant winter storm is expected to batter the Southern Plains up to the Ohio Valley on Thursday and then move over the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions in the evening and on Friday, creating dangerous travel conditions and raising the risk of widespread power outages, meteorologists said.
More than 100 million people from Texas to New England were under a winter storm warning or a winter weather advisory on Thursday afternoon. About seven million people along the Tennessee and Ohio Valleys were under a flood watch because of expected heavy rain from the same weather system.
James Connolly, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in New York, said on Thursday that the system would bring a mixed bag of weather over the New York region.
“The snow will be a concern initially, and then it’ll change over into a wintry mix, and then it’ll change over to rain,” he said, adding that the areas along the coast could see the least amount of snow. About three inches of snow was expected in the New York City area, while parts of Connecticut and the Lower Hudson Valley could see up to six inches, he said.
The forecast was more severe farther north. Heavy snow, at a rate of an inch an hour, was predicted for upstate New York and most of New England on Friday, the National Weather Service said. The Albany, N.Y., region could see up to one foot of snow, while similar totals were expected around Boston and Burlington, Vt.
Before moving into the Northeast, the storm was expected to bring heavy ice to the Southern Plains, parts of the Mississippi Valley and portions of the Mid-Atlantic through Thursday night, paving the way for possible widespread power outages, tree damage and dangerous travel conditions. Ice glazing greater than a quarter of an inch was likely across the Ozarks and southeast Missouri, forecasters said. Locally, about half an inch of damaging ice was possible while freezing rain was forecast from the eastern Ohio Valley through the Mid-Atlantic. Significant ice accumulation was possible in pockets of Maryland and Pennsylvania, where the National Weather Service in Pittsburgh issued an ice storm warning at noon on Thursday.
Freezing rain was also expected from the eastern Ohio Valley through the Mid-Atlantic States.
Weather conditions appeared to be relatively calm for Thursday in other parts of the country, with the Northern Plains under a wind chill advisory and the Southeast under a dense fog advisory.
The East Coast has been under an active weather pattern this winter.
In early January, back-to-back storms created perilous driving conditions for the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, including one weather system that stranded hundreds of drivers on Interstate 95 in Virginia for more than 24 hours. The storm trapped truckers, students, families and every stripe of commuter, including Senator Tim Kaine.
In mid-January, another storm slammed the South, killing at least two people and leaving thousands without power before moving north and dropping heavy snow over parts of the Northeast and Canada. Another January storm swept through the East Coast, prompting thousands of flight cancellations and pushing governors of New York and New Jersey to declare states of emergency. That storm dropped more than 30 inches of snow in parts of Massachusetts.
While some may be hoping that Thursday and Friday’s storm could finish off the winter season, Mr. Connolly warned people not to put away their shovels.
“March tends to be quite stormy,” he said. “We couldn’t say this is the last one.”
Alyssa Lukpat contributed reporting.