Snow, sleet to spread across portions of southern US as cold air arrives

By Faith Eherts, AccuWeather meteorologist
December 08, 2017, 6:11:38 AM EST

As cold air settles in, snow and sleet could lead to slippery travel across the southern United States through Friday night.

"Unlike many cool air bursts so far during astronomical autumn, which have only lasted a couple of days, cold air will sweep in and then build," AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams said.

Late-week temperatures have been slashed by up to 20 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit compared to the first couple days of the week. Temperatures will settle at below-average levels for this weekend and beyond.

Moisture is forecast to linger across the Deep South as temperatures fall to within a few degrees of freezing.

A band of heavy snow slowly moved over Austin and San Antonio, Texas on Thursday evening and night, eventually reaching Houston and Corpus Christi.

The wintry weather will expand to the east and north as the week comes to a close.

"Sleet, snow or a wintry combination is in the cards from parts of central Louisiana to southeastern Virginia as the storm moves along on Friday," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.

South Snow Map 12.8 AM

The area from Mississippi and Alabama to part of the Carolinas and southeastern Virginia will be at risk for wintry precipitation through Friday night.

Despite prior warm conditions, the snow may fall at a quick enough pace to cause icy spots on roads and sidewalks.

"Conditions may change quickly, especially where snow and/or sleet occurs late in the day and at night as road surfaces cool," Sosnowski warned.

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The Friday evening commute may be affected from Atlanta to Greenville and Spartanburg, South Carolina; Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina; and Richmond, Virginia. Motorists should travel with care, plan for extra travel time and be sure to have plenty of gas before heading out.

Up to a few inches of snow may cover some non-paved surfaces with a slushy coating on some colder roads and sidewalks. Most susceptible would be bridges and overpasses, or areas that are shaded from the direct rays of the sun.

The same storm could trigger locally severe thunderstorms across the Florida Peninsula on Friday night into Saturday. Damaging winds will be the primary risk, but it is not out of the question for an isolated tornado or two to spin up.

By contrast, the forecast for the southern United States calls for dry, sunny and chilly weather to sweep in this weekend.

A much larger swath of the South will be at risk of a frost or freeze this weekend when compared to the cold snaps in November.

"Freezing temperatures may dip as far to the south as parts of the upper Texas coast, the Mississippi Delta and central Florida," Sosnowski said.

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