One-two punch of storms to bring rounds of rain, snow and storms to millions

Kathryn Prociv
A man clears snow from his car on February 02, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois.
Scott Olson | Getty Images

On Tuesday morning, parts of 41 states were under some kind of weather alert ahead of duel storm systems that will produce everything from snow and ice to flooding rain and isolated tornadoes.

Locations from Dallas to Chicago to Boston were forecast to experience long periods of wintry weather. The blast of arctic cold is also expected to be the longest-duration cold outbreak of the winter season so far.

The first storm will affect the Midwest and Mississippi Valley to New England through Wednesday.

On Tuesday, this storm system will produce heavy snow and wind on the northern side across the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes, and severe thunderstorms and flooding rainfall on the southern side across the Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee Valleys to the Southeast.

By Tuesday night, a wintry mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain will move into parts of New England. All rain is expected for the I-95 corridor including for New York City.

Snow on Tuesday will be heaviest across parts of Minnesota as well northern Wisconsin and northern Michigan. Additional snowfall of up to 6 inches will be possible, bringing storm totals of 1 to 2 feet in some areas. The snow, combined with wind gusts up to 30 mph, will lead to dangerous travel conditions.

An ice storm warning was also in effect for parts of Central Michigan, where up to 0.4 inches of ice was possible.

In terms of rainfall, a widespread 1 to 3 inches of rain, locally up to 4 inches or more, was forecast to fall across the Ohio, Tennessee and Mississippi Valleys through Wednesday.

The greatest risks for flooding will be across western Kentucky and northern Alabama. Nearly 100 river gauges were also expected to rise into minor to major flood stage, with the highest concentration along the Ohio River.

In addition to the snow and flooding rainfall, severe storms are also a concern for Tuesday with 11 million people under the threat for severe thunderstorms across parts of the Southeast. The greatest risk will be damaging winds up to 75 mph followed by isolated tornadoes. Cities to watch include Memphis and Nashville in Tennessee and Louisville, Kentucky.

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The second storm system will affect the West Coast to the Northeast, starting on Tuesday and lasting through Friday.

On Tuesday, the storm was out on the West Coast bringing light rain and snow. Rain and snow accumulations were expected to be minimal but still welcome after an exceptionally dry period the last several weeks.

On Wednesday, snow will fall over the Central Rockies as an icy mix breaks out across parts of the Southern Plains.

On Thursday, more heavy rain and strong thunderstorms will be possible across the South while snow and an icy mix spread across the Midwest and into the southern Great Lakes.

By Friday, the storm system reaches the East Coast bringing mostly snow to New England, from Boston and northward), and an icy mix and cold rain to the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. New York City could experience all types of precipitation, including rain, sleet, freezing rain and some snow.

As of Tuesday morning, a good amount of uncertainty remained in the snow and ice amounts associated with this storm system as they will depend on the track of the storm.

As of now, cities that could see an icy mix include Dallas, Little Rock, Arkansas, Cincinnati, Philadelphia and New York.

Cities that are most likely to see accumulating snow include Chicago, Detroit, Albany, New York, Burlington, Vermont and Boston.