By Jennifer Gray | CNN
Despite the fact spring is showing up early this yearwe must remember that winter is not over yet.
A major winter storm will hit millions of people from coast to coast this week, bringing heavy snowfall, dangerous winds, possible blizzards and the coldest temperatures of the season for some.
What to expect this week:
- Widespread heavy snowfall
- Strong wind
- Blizzard conditions
- Snow and sleet
- Severe thunderstorms
- Heavy rain
- Record low and high temperatures
The storm is already showing signs of life along the West Coast as snow and rain are already falling over the Pacific Northwest, adding to their already great snow season.
“Total snowfall from the storm will likely be measured in feet for many of the mountain ranges to the west,” the Weather Prediction Center said.
The Cascade Mountains could see as much as a foot of snow at the highest elevations through Tuesday, while winds in the Pacific Northwest have the potential to blow up to 60 mph. Seas just offshore will be as high as 20 feet, bringing large, breaking waves to coastal areas, causing beach erosion.
By Tuesday, the storm will expand into California and the Great Basin, bringing rain, snow and gusty winds, which could lead to power outages.
“The coldest storm of the season, and possibly in recent years, is expected to hit the Southwest (California) Wednesday-Friday or Saturday with showers over coasts and valleys with mostly snow over the mountains and deserts,” the National Weather Service said. office Los Angeles tweeted on Sunday. “Snow or drizzle may even occur in some elevated valleys!” Graupel refers to snow pellets that resemble soft hail.
Parts of California could receive as much as five to seven inches of rain and up to three feet of snow through Wednesday, which could lead to travel headaches in some of the most densely populated areas.
“This amount of snow will require the passes to be closed for a period of time, which will impact traffic to and from Los Angeles,” the National Weather Service’s office in Hanford, California, said.
The heavy snowfall and extreme cold will also move to the Rockies and the Midwest, where the storm could have the greatest impact.
Blizzard warnings are in effect for southern Wyoming, where nearly two feet of snow and wind gusts in excess of 70 mph will create blinding conditions. The weather service also warns of chills down to 25 degrees below zero.
The storm unleashes its fury in the Midwest Tuesday through Thursday, with two snowflakes. The first round on Tuesday will bring 10 to 15 centimeters of snow in much of the region.
The big issues come in Wednesday night on Thursday for the second round. Here we could see up to two feet of snow in the Midwest, along with 50 mph wind gusts. Travel will be almost impossible during this period.
With the storm still a few days away, the weather service is still fine-tuning the details.
“If this forecast is correct, blizzard warnings are likely for the second half of the storm. As for when and exactly where the threat transitions from snow load/poor roads to poor visibility and inability to travel, that will come as we get closer,” the Twin Cities weather service office explained.
Thursday also brings a streak of icy weather for several major cities, including Chicago. Ice could also be a problem for parts of the Ohio Valley, but pinpointing exactly where it will occur this far is a challenge. Keep an eye on the weather forecast if you live in these areas, as freezing rain and sleet can get in the way of your travel plans and even cause power outages.
While the northern half of the storm will be all snow, the southern half will be heavy rainfall. We could see strong storms developing for places like Dallas, Little Rock, Shreveport and Memphis on Wednesday. The Storm Prediction Center has marked the area as having the potential for large hail, damaging winds and possible tornadoes.
The storm will reach the Northeast and New England by the end of the week. As of now, it looks like New York City is once again being let out of the snow, but Boston could gain a few inches.
Things may change between now and then, but as of right now, much of the snowfall appears to be exclusive to the inland northeast and much of New England.
This week’s wild temperature swing
The winter portion of this storm system is getting the most attention this week, but the temperature swing across the country cannot be ignored.
We could set more than 130 high temperature records in the Southeast from Tuesday through Friday, with potentially more than 40 low temperatures in the Northwest.
On Wednesday and Thursday, temperatures will be 30 to 40 degrees below normal for the northern Rockies and northern plains, while temperatures will be 20 to 30 degrees above normal for the Southeast and mid-Atlantic.
On Thursday, there could be a 100-degree temperature spread from North Dakota to Florida.
Whether you’re buried under a foot of snow and experiencing frigid temperatures or basking in sunshine and record heat, this week will be ravaging almost every corner of the country with savage weather.