ORLANDO, Fla. – A massive winter storm will likely take shape across the southern U.S. this weekend. Snow, ice and severe weather will all be possible from the Southern Plains to the Northeast through early next week.
The developing storm will meet up with colder air Sunday, changing rain into snow and ice for areas as far south as north Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi.
Central Florida will initially be on the warmer side of the storm, which could fuel a round of strong thunderstorms Sunday afternoon. Timing will be one of the main factors in determining the strength of the storms in Florida Sunday. If the storms move through in the late afternoon, they will be able to take advantage of peak heating and have more energy to work with.
It will also turn very windy for most of the day Sunday, but especially in the afternoon. Gusts could push 40 mph at times through most of central and west Florida.
The rain and storms Sunday will develop along a strong cold front that will likely usher in the coldest air Central Florida has felt all season. Highs will likely be held in the 60s, if not even 50s Monday and Tuesday.
Monday morning will likely feature temperatures starting out in the 40s and 50s. The coldest morning of the next several days will be Tuesday with most of Central Florida in the 30s and 40s.
As the storm rides north, east of the Appalachian mountains Sunday, ice and heavy snow will spread through the Mid-Atlantic and interior Northeast.
More than a foot of snow could fall in places west of the Interstate 95. Brutally cold air will then spill in behind the storm for those same areas.
This looks to be the start of a very active and bitterly cold January for the eastern two-thirds of the country. The west looks to have above-normal temperatures during the same period.