Jan. 25 -- A storm that first slammed the West Coast has emerged in the central United States and is poised to become the next disruptive weather maker for a 1,500-mile swath of the country through Tuesday.
On the southeastern periphery of the storm, rain and thunderstorms will soak the South Central states to the Ohio Valley early this week.
As the precipitation shifts north and east, it will meet with colder air that will result in a narrow zone of ice. Some frozen precipitation was beginning to take shape in the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles and southwestern Kansas during Sunday night.
During Monday morning, places along the Interstate 70 corridor, like Columbus, Ohio, Indianapolis, and Kansas City could all be dealing with some icy spots, especially on elevated surfaces. Untreated bridges and overpasses could become especially slick for early morning commuters. Luckily, most of these areas will change to just plain rain later in the day.
"Most areas from the Ohio Valley westward into the central Plains that see an icy mix will change over to plain rain during the day Monday as milder air arrives," explained AccuWeather Meteorologist Rob Richards.
"However, just to the north of these areas, the milder air may never make it, and a mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain may prevail throughout the storm."
Places like Akron, Ohio, Fort Wayne, Ind., and Peoria, Ill., are places that may need to be on alert for a prolonged icy mix for a time, with some snow and sleet accumulating as well as freezing rain.
Just a little farther north, a swath of heavy snow is expected to develop, and will also lead to travel disruptions across the central Plains and Midwest.
Portions of southern Nebraska, northern Kansas, northwestern Missouri, southern Iowa and northern Illinois could be buried under a foot of snowfall by the time the storm winds down.
Travel will be extremely treacherous on stretches of Interstates 29, 35, 70 and 80 through Monday night, with reduced visibility and snow-packed, slippery roadways. Omaha, Neb., and Des Moines, Iowa, are two cities that could be in line for some of the most significant accumulations from the storm, on the order of a foot or more.
Under the heaviest bands, the snow could be coming down at 2 inches per hour or more, making it difficult for road crews to keep up.
Chicago could be a location caught in the crosshairs for a sizable accumulation. AccuWeather forecasters say 4-8 inches of snow are expected there.
Chicago has received only about 50% of its normal snowfall so far this season, picking up 8.6 inches through Jan. 24. Following this storm, the city could be close to its normal snowfall levels for this season.
While this winter storm leaves its mark on the Midwest and begins to wind down for the region Monday night, it will just be getting started in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast Monday night.
"It will be a similar story from the central Appalachians eastward, as milder air battles colder air in place across the region, creating a zone of ice along the boundary of the clash, and more snow farther north," Richards said.
The major metropolitan areas along the Interstate 95 corridor from Washington, D.C., to New York City will all be targeted with this event Monday night into Tuesday.
"Precipitation will gradually spread from south to north through the mid-Atlantic Monday night into Tuesday," Richards explained. "The Monday evening commute could be at risk of becoming very messy around Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Travel Tuesday morning in areas New York City to Philadelphia could be delayed."
Farther south, the wintry precipitation will primarily take the form of sleet and freezing rain. Very little snow is expected in places like Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Wilmington, Del. Depending on the exact track of the storm, these places may also only briefly see an icy mix and then quickly change to a plain, cold rain instead.
Farther north, it will begin as some snow, before changing to a mix of sleet and perhaps some freezing rain.
"New York City might be far enough north where enough cold air remains in place to stay mainly snow. But if the storm tracks a little farther north, it could pull just enough milder air higher in the atmosphere northward to cause a change to sleet or perhaps even a little freezing rain," added Richards.
Farther inland, precipitation will arrive by Monday night, with the same south-to-north trend. An icy mix of sleet and freezing rain will prevail in the Appalachians of northern Virginia and West Virginia and southern Pennsylvania. Farther north, the storm will arrive initially as snow, before some areas then change over to a mix of sleet and freezing rain.
While the heaviest snow totals are expected to remain farther west in the Midwest, there could still be a small pocket of 3-6 inches in the Northeast as well, most likely in the mountains of northern Pennsylvania and portions of New York state.
Significant ice accumulation is likely in parts of the Appalachians as well. A thick glaze of ice up to 0.50-of-an-inch thick is possible in parts of the mountains from south-central Pennsylvania through the Shenandoah Valley in western Virginia.
"Cold air tends to get trapped in these parts of the mountains, while milder air rides over the top. This can lead to significant ice storms in these areas," Richards said.
The ice can add enough extra weight to snap tree limbs and cause power lines to topple. Residents in these areas should be prepared for treacherous travel as well as the possibility of power outages.
While parts of the Appalachians will experience the worst travel conditions Monday night and Tuesday, all over the Northeast, travel will at least be slowed down as this storm rolls through. Along with Interstate 95 as mentioned before, other major thoroughfares like Interstates 90, 81, 80, 76 and 70 could also see significant disruptions for a time. Airport hubs can also see widespread delays and cancellations.
Forecasters also warn that after this storm moves out later Tuesday, the focus could then turn to a potentially larger storm for some of the same areas, as well as locations farther south, later in the week.