The first of three storm systems expected to pound wide swaths of the country over the next week was leaving the Northeast on Monday night after dumping several inches of thick snow, snarling traffic, and shuttering schools.
The system forced government offices, courts and schools to close in parts of Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Cars came to a grinding halt as speed limits were reduced on many major highways throughout the region.
In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie declared a state of emergency with travel conditions hazardous, and nonessential government employees were sent home early.
As much of the country shovels out from Monday’s snowfall, forecasters warned more than a foot of fresh snow could fall from the Plains to New England through Wednesday, NBC News reported.
“Across the U.S. we’re going to have a very snowy situation, with at least three winter storms over the next week—and these are high-impact storms” said Guy Walton, a forecaster with The Weather Channel. “There is a very active storm pattern across the country.”
“It’s another one of these significant snow storms, covering a large swath of the country,” said The Weather Channel’s Kevin Roth. “There may be more than 12 inches from central New York into New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts overnight Tuesday.”
The second storm is expected to slam the Midwest and Ohio Valley Tuesday, dumping up to 10 inches of snow in Kansas and between 3 and 6 inches in Chicago and Detroit. By early Wednesday the northeast will be shivering again, as freezing rain, snow and sleet are expected to blanket the streets, rattling the morning commute.
Freezing rain warnings have been issued for large parts of Virginia and the Washington metropolitan area, where trees, power lines and roads could be coated by early Wednesday.
After enduring a recent record-breaking snow, new Yorkers could get a mix of snow and sleet beginning Tuesday night that could encrust the city with nearly half an inch of ice by Wednesday.
But the nightmare may come sooner elsewhere.
In Arkansas, the prospect of freezing rain spurred Gov. Mike Beebe on Tuesday morning to tell nonessential state employees to stay home. The weather service issued a storm warning, predicting up to half an inch of ice for much of the state, including the capital of Little Rock.
A third winter storm could also have a high impact on the Rockies on Friday, with a wintry mix across the Tennessee Valley, Walton said.
“We don’t know the orientation or the path of the storm,” he added. “There will likely be high impacts from the Midwest into the Northeast and perhaps even the south Saturday and Sunday.
Millions in the U.S. have already suffered from an unforgiving winter, especially through the month of January. And last week, Southern states like Georgia and Alabama were caught flat-footed by just a few inches of snow.
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