Feb. 23 (UPI) -- As February enters its final week, AccuWeather forecasters are eyeing two storms -- one weakening, the other strengthening -- that have the potential to dump snow on areas from the central Plains and middle Mississippi Valley to the Great Lakes region and the interior Northeast.
Parts of the I-95 corridor, which have received well-below-average snowfall so far this season, will continue to miss out on any snow that develops, AccuWeather meteorologists say.
The first storm began in Southern California and the Desert Southwest over the weekend bringing rain and high-elevation snow, before moving into the southern Rockies.
As the storm moves east early Monday, it's forecast to reach peak intensity over the southern Plains before weakening while traveling northeastward toward the Great Lakes into Tuesday.
This storm will clash with the spring-like warmth holding over the eastern half of the country the moved in for the weekend, preventing most places from experiencing snow.
However, the northern fringe of the storm will collide with marginally cold enough air to threaten some snow.
"The storm still has the potential to produce a light to moderate snowfall from southern Iowa to the central part of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan and part of central Ontario during the first part of the coming week," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson said.
Cities that could pick up anywhere from a coating to a few inches of snow from the first storm include Topeka, Kan.; Kansas City, Mo.; Davenport, Iowa; Rockford, Ill.; Milwaukee, Wis.; and Grand Rapids, Mich.
The first storm will tend to push colder air a bit farther to the east, which can lead to wintry trouble for cities such as St. Louis, Chicago, Indianapolis, Detroit and Cleveland. Across the border in Canada, cities like Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal could experience some wintry conditions, too.
This storm will send rain showers into the Northeast, with perhaps some wet snow mixing with rain in far northern New England.
The second weather maker is forecast to move into the United States late this weekend, first impacting Northwestern United States. The region will be blasted with gusty winds, heavy rain in the valleys and heavy snow at pass levels.
This storm will break the stretch of dry weather the Northwest has enjoyed recently.
This storm will move east, creating some light snow for the northern Rockies, and perhaps the northern Plains, into Tuesday before rapidly strengthening mid-to-late week in the East.
This second storm, merging with the colder air introduced by the first storm in the east, may produce snow from the Midwest into interior parts of the Northeast from Wednesday through Thursday.
The potential exists for a swath of significant snow to develop on the storm's colder, northwest flank, which will mostly be in Canada and in northern New England. In these areas, 6-12 inches of accumulation is possible with an AccuWeather Local StormMax of 15 inches.
For portions of the eastern Ohio Valley and western slopes of the Appalachians, such as Pittsburgh, a rain-changing-to-snow scenario may occur.
How much rain mixes with snow, and exactly where the heaviest swath of snow ends up will depend on the track of the storm.
"Precipitation will change over from rain to snow as the storm and the cold air moves eastward across central New York and northern New England," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alan Reppert said.
AccuWeather Chief Broadcast Meteorologist Bernie Rayno said the behavior of the jet stream will be critical in the storm's development and the track it takes. A high pressure off the East Coast, meaning the I-95 corridor, will dodge the snow threat from this weather system.
"Areas where it [snowfall] is very unlikely," Rayno said, "is where we've seen a snow drought all winter: Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C."
The same areas that have been in a snow drought this winter, namely along the I-95 corridor from Connecticut to Maryland, are once again likely to miss out, much to the dismay of snow lovers.
Washington, D.C., has picked up 0.6 of an inch of snow this season. Typically, by this point the nation's capital has received 12.9 inches. Farther north, Philadelphia has recorded just 0.3 of an inch of snow or 2 percent of normal so far this season and New York City has picked up only 4.8 inches of snow so far this season, a mere 26 percent of its normal snowfall.
The storm, at this time, seems unlikely to bring heavy snow to this region of the East Coast, but is likely to generate strong winds in this area.
"While the storm during the middle part of next week would bring rain to the coastal Northeast and even a large part of the central Appalachians, it is likely to be an effective wind producer," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Dombek.
Wind gusts of 30-40 mph are possible, particularly on Wednesday night and Thursday across the Great Lakes and the Northeast. Even higher gusts are likely along the coasts of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.
Airline passengers should anticipate delays and turbulence related to wind from the Ohio Valley and mid-Atlantic to the Great Lakes and New England spanning Wednesday and Thursday. There is potential for flight disruptions in the mega airline hubs of Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta and New York City from wind, in addition to or instead of heavy precipitation.
Rainfall amounts of 0.5 of an inch to 1 inch are possible on the milder, southern side of the storm Wednesday through Wednesday night.