A storm forecast to deliver snow to the Southwest by New Year's Day will spread a swath of snow, ice, rain and potential travel problems from Chicago to Boston this weekend.
The storm will strengthen and take a track toward the lower Great Lakes this weekend.
The exact path the storm takes will determine the dividing line between all snow, a wintry mix and rain.
According to AccuWeather.com Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams, "There will be disruptive snow and ice north of the storm track."
Heavy snow, substantial ice and drenching rain will be associated with the storm, despite its fast movement. While travel problems will generally be limited to a day or so, areas that receive a heavy amount of ice or wet snow could have lengthy power outages.
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After depositing a swath of snow and ice over parts of the central and southern Plains to close out the week, a swath of snow will extend northeastward from northern and western Illinois to southern and eastern Wisconsin to a large part of Michigan and central Ontario during Saturday and Saturday night.
A swath of accumulating snow could stretch across the general area from north of St. Louis to Chicago, Milwaukee and Lansing, Michigan. The exact track of the storm will determine the dividing line between rain and snow.
People traveling in or through these locations should anticipate slippery roads, flight delays and possible flight cancellations.
Warm air would win the battle in most areas south and east of the storm track with the major form of precipitation being rain with some snow or wintry mix limited to the onset of the storm. Most of the storm will be rain in the Ohio Valley.
Gusty winds, lake-effect snow and snow showers may cause sporadic travel delays in the wake of the storm later Sunday.
Cold air will linger during the first part of the storm in a large portion of the Northeast, such as central and northern New England and the Interstate-81 corridor from Pennsylvania northward.
The storm will spread over the area from southwest to northeast spanning late Saturday into Saturday night.
A period of accumulating snow and ice will change to rain around Boston, Albany, New York City, Hartford, Connecticut, and State College, Pennsylvania.
According to AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Bernie Rayno, "Central and northern New England have the potential for a significant snow and/or ice event and multiple hours of slippery travel on the front side of the storm prior to any warmup."
"At this time, it appears most locations along the I-95 swath from Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia and New York City would still warm up quickly with all or mostly rain for the storm," Ranyo said.
The storm will then end from west to east on Sunday.
Similar to the Midwest, gusty winds may cause some flight delays Sunday into Monday with lake-effect snow and snow showers from the central Appalachians to the lower Great Lakes.
Rain, locally gusty wind and low cloud ceilings could still cause flight delays and problems for motorists in a large part of the South and in areas farther north that receive mostly rain this weekend.
Parts of the South may also have to contend with locally gusty thunderstorms as the storm's cold front swings eastward.
Storms may affect the lower Mississippi and Tennessee valleys on Saturday into Saturday night, then part of the southern Atlantic Seaboard on Sunday.