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Back-to-back winter storms begin a punishing week of extreme weather to come in the US


By Eric Zerkel, CNN

(CNN) — A winter storm is on a collision course with the mid-Atlantic and Northeast Saturday, and there’s another stronger one nipping at its heels.

The first storm is tracking into the regions where it will unleash up to a foot of snow and significant ice through Sunday that could cause travel disruptions for the millions currently under winter storm alerts.

Transportation crews started prepping roads across the region on Friday.

In central and northern parts of Pennsylvania, where forecast snow totals of 6 inches were widespread, transportation crews treated roads and vowed to maintain them through the storm with the goal to “keep roads passable, not completely free of ice and snow,” a Pennsylvania DOT statement said.

Parts of Pennsylvania will see some of the storm’s worst, along with parts of the Appalachians and the interior Northeast and New England, including just to the west of Boston.

Major disruptions were less likely in the major cities of Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York and Washington, DC, in the snow-starved I-95 corridor. The storm’s track and insufficient cold air combined to limit snow chances to little, if any.

But other cities, especially in New England, have higher snow chances. Several inches of snow were forecast in Boston. That may not live up to Boston’s notorious snowstorm past, but it could still be the city’s biggest snow from a single storm since February 25, 2022, when 8 inches fell.

And if forecasts in Hartford, Connecticut, come to pass, the storm would be the city’s biggest snowstorm since February 1, 2021, when 11 inches fell.

Crews in Boston also prepped streets, which were expected to remain open. They put drivers and and up to 800 pieces of equipment on standby should the need arise.

“Our goal will just be to keep on top of the storm as it is happening to keep streets clear and passable,” Boston Chief of Streets Jascha Franklin-Hodge said at a Friday news conference.

“In general though, when there is weather like this, we ask that people use caution if they are going out that they drive carefully.”

An even more powerful and menacing storm

Another bigger and more potent storm will follow the first storm’s through midweek with all hazards: snow, ice, strong winds, tornadoes and flooding rainfall.

It will begin to strengthen rapidly Monday as it cuts through the Central US toward the Great Lakes, delivering snow and potential blizzard conditions to colder areas to its north along its path.

Exactly where and how much snow falls will likely change with the storm’s track, which is still uncertain, but the highest chances for heavy snow are in parts of the Plains, the Great Lakes, Midwest and interior Northeast.

The storm will be tapping into warmer, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico to its south, raising the risk of severe storms, including a few strong tornadoes and damaging winds, and flooding rainfall near the Gulf Coast. The severe storm risk will be greatest Monday and Tuesday in southern portions of the Southeast, including Florida.

As the storm moves northeast, rain and strong wind gusts will spread over much of the eastern half of the US. Flooding and power outages will be serious concerns.

Widespread heavy rain will fall on top of areas just doused and snowed on by the first storm.

Heavy rain on its own could cause flooding, but rain on top of snow amplifies the risk, as warmer rain melts the snow and injects its water quickly into watersheds.

This same, destructive story played out in December, when a potent storm caused deadly flooding in parts of interior New England after its heavy rain melted snow.

CNN’s Amy Simonson contributed to this report.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN-Weather/Environment

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