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Ice, severe weather and blizzard conditions to slam southern US into Friday

By By Brett Rathbun, Meteorologist
January 24, 2016, 5:13:48 AM EST

For live updates on the storm, click here.

While the amount of snow and wind will pale in comparison to that of the mid-Atlantic states, the storm will hit travel and daily activities hard in parts of the South through Friday.


Flights heading to and from the mid-Atlantic region will be affected. Local airline operations can face significant disruptions as the storm system swings through, before reaching the East. The storm will create also dangerous conditions on area roadways.

Snowstorm to extend from Mississippi Valley to southern Appalachians

On the northern edge of this storm, precipitation began as a wintry mix and ice during Thursday night before changing to snow as colder air advanced southward.

A period of accumulating snow will extend from eastern Arkansas and southeastern Missouri to Tennessee, Kentucky and the southern parts of Illinois, Indiana and Ohio through Friday.

First winter storm sweeps through Tennessee


Enough snow will fall across some of these locations what will require a shovel or a snowplow to clear away the snow.

Up to a foot of snow can fall, especially from western Tennessee into western and eastern Kentucky. Slippery roads and travel disruptions are to be expected in this swath.

Blizzard conditions will unfold from northwestern Mississippi into southwestern Kentucky during into Friday afternoon. This includes the cities of Memphis, Tennessee, and Clarksdale, Mississippi, to Paducah and Murray, Kentucky.


Strong winds combined with heavy snow will lead to a period of near-zero visibility and blowing and drifting snow, making travel nearly impossible across portions of interstates 24, 40 and 55.

Close to and over much of the southern Appalachians, the snowstorm will be more intense.

"The area of heavy snow, gusty winds, blowing and drifting snow with the potential for road closures will extend from western North Carolina and northeastern Tennessee to much of West Virginia and western and northern Virginia," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.


"Part of the southern Appalachians will receive 1-2 feet of snow and blizzard conditions at times," Sosnowski said.

Southeast regional radar
AccuWeather winter weather center
AccuWeather severe weather center

As the storm pulls more cold air southward, a bit of snow will reach much of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina during Friday night, reaching the cities of Atlanta, Greenville, South Carolina, and Charlotte, North Carolina.

Freeze-up, ice to make for treacherous travel over interior South

Icy conditions will continue across portions of Kentucky into Friday before precipitation changes over to snow.

Travel will become hazardous on Interstate 64 in Kentucky and I-40 in Tennessee with areas of freezing rain.

As the precipitation from the storm first spills over the southern Appalachians, a swath of freezing rain will also develop in part of the I-85 corridor.


A period of freezing rain and sleet will continue from upstate South Carolina to central North Carolina and south-central Virginia into Friday night. Enough ice could accumulate on trees to raise the risk of sporadic power outages.

Motorists and pedestrians in Greenville, South Carolina, and Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina, should be prepared for dangerous conditions due to a nearly invisible glaze of ice.

"Communities that receive more sleet instead of freezing rain from the storm may be able to manage with fewer problems during and after the event," AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams said. "Sleet will not adhere to trees and power lines."

Strong thunderstorms to sweep Florida

Severe thunderstorms erupted across portions of the Deep South during Thursday night and will progress across Florida and southern Georgia through Friday.

“A warm, humid air mass spreading northward from the Gulf of Mexico will fuel strong to severe thunderstorms ahead of a cold front across Florida into Friday night,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Dan Pydynowski said.

Thunderstorms developed late on Wednesday night from east-central Texas into northern Louisiana and track eastward across eastern Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama during Thursday and Thursday night.

“Storms impacted cities such as New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Gulfport, Mississippi, early Thursday night,” Pydynowski said.

A tornado touched down near Hattiesburg, Mississippi during Thursday evening.

The storms will bring the potential for damaging wind gusts, hail, flash flooding and a couple of isolated tornadoes through Friday.

Florida aerials show destruction from tornadoes


Those traveling on I-10 from Tallahassee to Jacksonville, Florida, will need to be on alert for damaging storms.

The threat area includes some areas in Florida that were recently hit hard with tornadoes and damaging winds.

The severe weather will be in the form of a squall line by the time it reaches Florida and Georgia. However, any thunderstorms ahead of the main line could spin a tornado. Motorists, boaters and pedestrians should be on the lookout for rapidly changing weather conditions.

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