Heavy Snow, Ice Target I-10 and I-95 in South
By By Kristina Pydynowski, senior meteorologist
January 29, 2014, 11:33:12 PM EST
The latest polar blast that settled over the East and South set the stage for snow and ice, and caused tremendous travel disruptions across the Southeast and mid-Atlantic.
The amount of snow and ice (whether falling as sleet or freezing rain) was quite substantial, and led to school closures, extremely treacherous travel and thousands of flight cancellations.
The storm system traveled through the South, tapping into moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and unloaded snow and ice from central Texas to the eastern Carolinas much of Tuesday into early Wednesday.
Houston and Austin, Texas; New Orleans; Mobile, Ala.; Jackson, Miss.; Pensacola and Tallahassee, Fla.; Savannah, Atlanta and Macon, Ga.; Charleston, Myrtle Beach and Columbia, S.C.; Norfolk, Va.; and Raleigh, Wilmington and the Outer Banks of North Carolina were all within this zone.
This was a major winter storm for a large portion of the I-10 corridor and part of the I-95 corridor.
In recent years, comparable events for this storm and the general area of concern include Jan. 10, 2011. According to National Weather Service Meteorologist Emily Timte, "The storm of 2011 clobbered parts of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina with between 0.50 and 1.00 inch of ice."
A snowstorm spanning Feb. 11 to 13, 2010, captured part of the same area getting hit by the system Wednesday. The storm during 2010 reached from Longview, Texas, to Cape Hatteras, N.C., where it put down a swath of 4 to 8 inches of snow along much of the way.
Greatest January One-Day Snowfall Records
With subfreezing temperatures lingering, residents and travelers should prepare for more travel disruptions. This includes motorists planning to travel on Interstates 10, 26, 40, 45, 65, 75, 85 and 95.
Snow totals are expected to top 3 inches from east central Alabama to eastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia. This zone stretches across Montgomery, Ala., and Augusta, Ga., and lies just east of Raleigh.
A small area in part of the Carolinas to the Virginia capes is forecast to receive between 6 and 10 inches of snow from this storm, including Fayetteville, N.C., and Columbia, S.C.
Portions of the southern Appalachians will also pick up a couple of inches of snow.
In between the snow and plain rain across the Florida Peninsula will be substantial sleet and freezing rain. Power outages are a serious concern, especially where most of the precipitation falls as freezing rain.
The storm has the potential to rival damage and the number of outages from the southern ice storm of Feb. 10-11, 1994.
According to the New York Times, the storm in 1994 reached from the lower Mississippi Valley to the Southeast and knocked out power to 800,000 people.
The current storm impacting the South has focused more toward the Gulf and southern Atlantic coasts.
The storm is expected to track northward slightly on Wednesday, grazing parts of the Northeast. The arctic blast and very dry air will push the majority of storm track to the east of the I-95 corridor in the Northeast. A dusting to an inch of of snow can occur in parts of the Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City and Boston metro areas.
However, a few inches snow are forecast to fall over Delmarva, part of southern New Jersey and Cape Cod, Mass.
Expert Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski contributed content to this story.
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