A storm will intensify across the southern United States later in the week, bringing snow, rain and the potential for severe weather.
This storm is then expected to track northeastward along the East Coast and bring a significant snowstorm to the mid-Atlantic states and New England.
According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Dan Pydynowski, "A developing storm that may eventually bring a major snowstorm to parts of the Northeast and mid-Atlantic will begin to strengthen as it taps into moisture from the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday."
Snow, freeze-up to slick travel from Arkansas to Kentucky
On the northern edge of this storm, precipitation is likely to begin as a wintry mix before changing to snow as colder air advances southward during Thursday night into Friday.
A steady snow is likely to fall from Arkansas to Kentucky. The track of this storm will determine where the heaviest accumulation of snow will occur.
Some locations could receive between 1 and 6 inches of snow, leading to travel disruptions. Cities in the path for accumulating snow include Jonesboro, Arkansas, and Paducah, Louisville, and Lexington, Kentucky. Snow will also fall across portions of southern Missouri, southern Indiana and Ohio as well as across the southern Appalachians.
Low temperatures will fall below freezing as far south as central Arkansas to Kentucky during Thursday night. Any wet or slushy spots on untreated roads or bridges will freeze, leading to hazardous travel, especially on the Western Kentucky Parkway. Low temperatures on Friday night will be even colder with much of Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky in the 20s F.
As the storm tracks to the east on Friday, rain will soak Tennessee during Thursday and Thursday night before changing over to snow as temperatures fall through the 30s on Friday. Snow could fall heavily enough to produce an inch or two of wet snow.
"Roads will become slippery once temperatures fall below freezing at night," AccuWeather Meteorologist Michael Doll said.
Snow may even make a presence as far south as Atlanta during Friday night.
Anyone traveling on Interstate 40 across Tennessee should be allow extra time as wet roads could begin to freeze later Friday into Friday night.
Rain may renew flood threat across lower Mississippi Valley
Abundant moisture surging northward from the Gulf of Mexico will lead to areas of heavy rain and the potential for localized flooding, especially across the lower Mississippi Valley.
Some gauges along the Mississippi River in Louisiana and Mississippi are still registering moderate to major flood levels as floodwaters continue to trickle downstream following torrential late-December rainfall. Locally heavy rain during Thursday into Thursday night may cause small streams to rise and may slow the recession of floodwaters or cause rises along larger rivers.
The Mississippi River at Vicksburg, Mississippi, crested at major flood stage last weekend and has since fallen to moderate stage this week, according to the National Weather Service River Forecast Center. Enough rain could cause it to rise to major flood stage again.
The Mississippi River near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has been in major flood stage since last week and major flooding is likely to continue through at least this weekend.
Outside of areas around the Mississippi River, between 1 and 3 inches of rain can fall in a short period of time across parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee, which can lead to localized flooding problems, especially in low-lying and poor-drainage areas.
Louisiana to Florida on alert for severe thunderstorms
As the storm tracks across the South, strong to severe thunderstorms may erupt.
"This warm and humid air mass spreading northward from the Gulf of Mexico could fuel strong to severe thunderstorms ahead of a cold front across the lower Mississippi Valley on Thursday," Pydynowski said.
Thunderstorms are expected to develop late Wednesday night from east-central Texas into northern Louisiana and track eastward during Thursday.
"Storms may impact cities such as Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana, and Gulfport, Mississippi, on Thursday," Pydynowski said.
"Thunderstorms across the lower Mississippi Valley could contain damaging winds and hail, along with heavy rainfall," Doll said.
An isolated tornado cannot be ruled out with the strongest storms.
The severe threat will advance eastward and impact areas from Mississippi to the Florida Panhandle during Thursday night. Those traveling on Interstate 10 from Biloxi, Mississippi, to Tallahassee, Florida, will need to be on alert for damaging storms.
By Friday, the severe weather threat will then focus on portions of central and South Florida, where some areas were recently hit hard with tornadoes and damaging winds.