Disruptive Winter Storm May Hit the Interior South

January 22, 2011; 11:13 AM ET
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Play video This video has more details on the forecast for the South early next week.

Some snow, sleet and freezing rain could hit interior portions of the South next week before the big winter storm unfolds in the Northeast.

A storm will develop in the western Gulf of Mexico late Monday or Monday night. It will then move up the Eastern Seaboard by Tuesday night and Wednesday, strengthening as it moves northward.

The storm track and the supply of cold air will be key players in who gets disruptive wintry weather and who gets rain. The extent of the cold air and wintry weather is far from set in stone.

It appears that a wintry mix of snow and rain will overspread the Tennessee Valley on Monday, while snow falls along the Ohio River Valley.

Nashville and Knoxville, Tenn., among other cities and towns along the I-40 corridor, are expected to lie in the wintry mix zone early in the week.

Cincinnati will be in the path of light snow with accumulations of a coating to a couple of inches possible.

Northern Mississippi and northern Alabama may also get a mix of snow and rain, depending on how far south the cold air penetrates.

Eastern Kentucky, eastern Tennessee and the mountains of the Carolinas seem most likely at this time to get substantial snowfall from the expected storm track. Several inches of snow could result in travel nightmares there early in the week.

The foothills of North Carolina and northern and central portions of the state may be in line for a slippery wintry mix of snow, sleet and perhaps freezing rain on Tuesday.

Motorists in Raleigh may run into slick conditions.

Travel could also become dangerous with a wintry mix falling for a time along the I-85 corridor from Georgia to North Carolina. Atlanta and Charlotte lie in this region.

This is not likely the news that residents of Atlanta want to hear after a major winter storm struck earlier in the month, shutting down the city and even highways in the area for several days.

It is not out of the question that there will be enough wintry weather with this next storm to cause flight and school delays and cancellations across portions of the interior South.

However, the worst of the storm will spare the South and hit portions of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Some communities in the Northeast could be buried by very heavy snow, while others get hit by a treacherous ice storm.

Dangerous cold will first lay the groundwork for the winter storm in the Northeast.

Meanwhile, heavy rain is in store for the central and southern portions of the Gulf States and portions of Florida, where it will be too mild for wintry weather. Much of this region is being gripped by a drought, so the rain will be welcome.

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