A large, slow-moving storm may affect the Southern and Eastern states next week with snow, ice and rain. However, the storm may ultimately be a pattern changer.
Into the first part of next week, dry air will work to inhibit snow in the Northern states, but in the South, a storm forecast to brew could cause major problems.
According to Southern Weather Expert Dan Kottlowski, "Lingering cold air and plenty of moisture could lead to an extended period of snow and ice in portions of the South next week."
The setup could bring several days of precipitation over the Gulf Coast states to Tennessee and the Carolinas. Some of that precipitation will fall as snow and ice over the interior.
"A number of communities over the interior South may have more significant, longer-lasting ice and snow when compared to the storm from late January," Kottlowski said.
The details will unfold over the next several days on exactly where and how long the snow, ice and rain will occur.
"People inland of the coast in the Carolinas, Tennessee and the northern parts of Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi should keep an eye on the situation," Kottlowski said.
Where wintry precipitation persists, there is the potential for travel disruptions and power outages.
The southern storm will eventually reach the coast and turn northward. How quickly that storm moves up and attacks the cold air is the key to how extensive snow and ice problems will be in the Northeast.
According to Northeastern Weather Expert Dave Dombek, "If the storm is delayed until late in the week, the air will have more of a chance to warm up and fewer problems with snow and ice are likely, at least in coastal areas."
The storm may hold one of the keys to unlock springlike weather for a time in the East and South.
If the storm is indeed the caboose in the recent train of storms affecting the area, the door will be opened for a pattern change.
According to Long Range Senior Meteorologist Mark Paquette, "Once the storm around Valentine's Day is done affecting the East and South with its own pocket of cold air, look for milder air to build out from the Southwest to the South Central states and make it all the way to the Atlantic."
Above-average temperatures are expected to move into the East after Feb. 17.
"In the I-95 corridor, with millions of people having a major case of cabin fever, relief from the stormy and cold weather pattern will be experienced," Paquette said.
AccuWeather's long-range team is cautious about suggesting an end to winter with the pattern change.
The reprieve later in February is likely to be only a temporary one with stretches of chilly weather and a couple of winter storms likely to return from the Great Lakes to the Northeast in March.
"This upcoming March will be rather typical in the Northeast, with wide swings in temperature and weather conditions," Paquette said.