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Accumulating snow may be headed for parts of the South
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Accumulating snow may be headed for parts of the South
The South has been flooded with rounds of heavy rain and severe thunderstorms as springlike warmth has returned at times in recent weeks. However, a change is coming that can have wintry consequences in some locations prior to the end of this week.Just enough cold air will sink southward from the Midwest and the Northeast to cause some trouble from Arkansas Wednesday night to North Carolina on Thursday and Thursday night.A storm will move eastward along a north-to-south temperature boundary. Warm air will hold on over the Interstate 10 corridor, while cold air will take root along the I-40 corridor. West of the Appalachians, I-40 will roughly represent the southernmost extend where a rain and snow mix can occur from Wednesday night to Thursday. This includes central portions of Oklahoma, Arkansas and Tennessee. Enough snow could fall to cover grassy areas and make some roads, especially elevated surfaces, slippery.Farther to the east, the area where wintry precipitation can occur will broaden north and south of I-40 during Thursday to Thursday night, including across northern Georgia, eastern Tennessee, southern Virginia, upstate South Carolina and much of North Carolina. Cities that are likely to have some wet snowflakes mixed in at the very least include Charlotte, Raleigh, Fayetteville and Greensboro, North Carolina; Greenville, South Carolina; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Danville and Norfolk, Virginia; and Rome, Georgia. It would not take much for more than a few snowflakes in these areas, which typically experience accumulating snow once each winter season.CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE ACCUWEATHER APPSeveral factors will affect whether snow accumulates, including the warm ground, fast movement of the strengthening storm and how much dry air will be in place. "Even though the storm will be strengthening as it approaches the Atlantic coast, it will be moving fast," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Rob Miller said."The strengthening part can lead to several inches of snow in some areas, while the fast-moving part should keep that limited to a few pockets," Miller added. On the northern edge of the storm, too much dry air may prevent much more than a few flurries. A motorist driving south on I-81, I-85 or I-95 may go from dry weather to flurries to snow and slippery conditions in a matter of a coupe of dozen miles or less.Around Atlanta; Columbia, South Carolina; Muscle Shoals, Alabama; Nashville, Tennessee; and Richmond, Virginia, a few snowflakes cannot be ruled out from the storm toward the tail end, but no accumulation is expected at this time. Only if the storm were to shift its track might there be a period of snow and perhaps a slushy accumulation.Roads' surface temperatures are rather warm in the South as there have been multiple days with temperatures reaching the 60s and 70s in recent weeks. Temperatures will be in the 50s and 60s on Tuesday and Wednesday in some areas. But colder air will drill in Wednesday night and Thursday with temperatures mainly in the 30s over much of the I-40 corridor.The warm pavement will cause much of the snow to melt as it falls, but if the snow falls at a heavy rate, then it can cool the surfaces to the point where slush forms and then snow begins to build up.The conditions will lead to more snow accumulation on grassy areas and elevated surfaces, such as car tops, versus roads, parking lots and sidewalks. However, even a small, slushy accumulation can lead to slippery and dangerous travel for motorists and pedestrians who are not accustomed to negotiating winter conditions.In the wake of the storm, roads and sidewalks may still be slushy and slippery in some areas on Friday morning. Even though the day will remain chilly, the warm ground and the late-February sun will melt much of, if not all, the snow that was able to stick.Keep checking back on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.
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