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The next winter storm takes aim at the South, while the Northeast digs out of last week’s blizzard

<i>CNN Weather</i><br/>Forecast rain (in green)
CNN Weather
Forecast rain (in green)

By Jennifer Gray, CNN meteorologist

‘Tis the season for winter storms to line up like parade floats at Mardi Gras. Last week’s storm would have won the prize for a winter wonderland float and this week’s storm would be topped with icicles.

The historic blizzard which slammed the Northeast and New England last weekend dumped more than 2 feet of snow in some locations. Boston tied its biggest snowfall ever on any single day on Saturday, after 23.6 inches fell.

If you missed the big Northeast storm, read more about it here or see images from the historic storm here.

The next winter storm takes aim at the South

Now the next winter storm is on deck to strike the South and mid-South the hardest.

Places like Dallas and Memphis; I’m looking at you for this one because of the ice impact.

Anyone from the Great Plains to the Great Lakes and even the Northeast will see its effects, but there’s still not enough confidence in the forecast to know what exactly the effects will be.

The storm will start making an impact Tuesday across the northern and central states and will not exit the East Coast until Friday night.

Track the storm as it develops here.

“The data continues to favor a winter storm impacting the region Wednesday night into Thursday; however, it is still not a ‘slam dunk’ forecast,” said the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Dallas/Ft Worth. “A faster progression of the cold air would mean a more significant winter precip event while delayed cold air would lead to mainly minor impacts.”

This Arctic air is potent. It’s dropping out of Canada and will bring winter precipitation and freezing temperatures with it.

There are already winter storm watches up for portions of the central Plains, stretching north into Michigan. More than half a foot of snow could fall across the Plains, with amounts as high as a foot possible for southern Michigan.

In Springfield, Missouri, the potential for freezing rain and sleet could disrupt travel and cause power outages Wednesday into Thursday as the storm sweeps through.

Not another Texas-sized ice storm

As the front travels south, places like Dallas could see ice as well.

“It appears that the highest ice accumulation will occur to the northeast of the Metroplex,” NWS Dallas/Ft Worth said. Ice amounts of about a quarter inch are possible, with additional snow and sleet expected. “Any sleet and snow that falls will accumulate easily as it settles on a layer of ice,” the Dallas/Ft Worth NWS office explained.

Ice will most likely accumulate on power lines and winds will be gusting up to 35 mph. This makes power outages a huge concern.

Temperatures will fall into the teens and single digits Friday and Saturday mornings, with wind chill values below zero.

The last time Dallas recorded a high temperature at or below freezing, which is the forecast for Thursday, was last year during the week long deep freeze in February.

While this cold snap is not expected to last as long as last year, it will still be a dangerous situation for anyone who loses power. Dallas will rebound to highs back in the 40s by the weekend.

Areas around Paducah, Kentucky could see up to an inch of ice.

“The most critical time period for ice accumulation appears to be between midnight Wednesday night through noon on Thursday,” the NWS office in Paducah said.

Models are even hinting at a shot of ice through portions of the Northeast. It’s still too early to tell what disruptions the Northeast might face, but it’s something to keep on your radar as we get closer to Friday.

Near hurricane-force wind gusts near San Francisco (AGAIN)

Another significant wind event is forecast for the Central Valley and Bay Area this week, and it is one worth watching.

This offshore wind event is expected to develop late on Monday night and is forecast to last through Thursday morning.

“High wind alerts have been issued ahead of this windstorm and include San Francisco, Oakland, and Sacramento,” said CNN meteorologist Haley Brink. Sustained, northerly winds up to 30 mph is the current forecast with gust up to 45 mph.

“There is potential for North Bay hills to have gusts peaking at 70+ mph,” the National Weather Service (NWS) office in San Francisco said.

The last time the weather models were forecasting such a strong, offshore wind event for this area was just 10 days ago on January 21 and 22.

This event brought hurricane force wind gusts to the region, which knocked down trees and power lines leading to power outages.

The Colorado Fire was also sparked during this event which burned over 650 acres, leading to evacuations and shutting down California’s historic Highway 1 for miles, north of Big Sur.

Now, NWS San Francisco is “not saying that same thing will happen again, but it’s possible and something that we’ll be watching closely in the coming days.”

The day meteorologists get replaced by a large ground squirrel: Groundhog Day

If I had a quarter for all the times I’ve heard people say “meteorologists are the only profession who can be wrong all the time and still have a job,” well, while I obviously disagree with that statement, the groundhog surely has us beat.

Millions tune in to see what the furry little rodent will do on Wednesday. Will he see his shadow? Will there be six more weeks of winter?

Well, spoiler alert, he sees his shadow the vast majority of the time (104 times vs 20 times of not seeing it). I have to wonder if it’s because of the big TV lights that illuminate the stage he is on, but that’s a whole different story for another day.

According to the NWS, Phil has been correct 50% of the time in the last 10 years. Which is pretty much the same as a coin flip.

The forecast in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania Wednesday morning is mostly cloudy with a temperature right around freezing.

So, according to the forecast, Punxsutawney Phil may not be seeing his shadow which would mean an early spring. But we will have to wait to see what the prognosticator says about it.

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