More than 20 million people are in the path of major winter storm in the South

A major winter storm is threatening to deliver snow, ice and flooding across parts of the Southern United States over the next few days.

More than 20 million people are under winter storm watches and warnings from New Mexico to North Carolina, where authorities have declared a statewide emergency as some areas could get over a foot of snow.

“Snow may be beautiful but it can also be treacherous and I urge North Carolinians to take this storm seriously and get ready for it now,” Gov. Roy Cooper said in a statement.

As this multifaceted storm develops this weekend, here is what meteorologists are expecting, where and when:

Eastern Tennessee, Georgia and the Carolinas

Timing: Saturday morning through Monday morning

Precipitation creeps in early Saturday, with rain in Georgia and some light, wintry precipitation in the mountains. It picks up late Saturday when blizzard conditions are possible in the higher Appalachians, with larger accumulations Sunday into early Monday morning across the zone. The storm probably will move out to sea Monday, but it also could turn and climb up the East Coast, bringing heavy snow to major metro areas.

Impact: Record snow, blizzard conditions, wintry mix and heavy rain

Significant snow is expected — but not certain — across the mountains of northeast Georgia and the Carolinas.

Parts of North Carolina could see record snowfall, described by the National Weather Service as a “once-in-a-generation event.” The mountains and foothills west of Interstate 85, including in cities such as Winston-Salem, Asheville, Greensboro and Charlotte, could get a foot of snow.

However, those predictions sharply drop to 2 to 3 inches of snow in Raleigh and down to 1 inch in Greenville, South Carolina.

The flooding and winter precipitation may also affect Georgia. Heavy rain with 1 to 3 inches is projected Saturday, with “rates expected to be high at times, increasing the threat of flooding,” the weather service said.

About 1 to 2 inches of snow could fall in the higher elevations of North Georgia, with up to 5 inches on the highest ridges Sunday night into Monday. Possible freezing rain and dusting snow could also reach the I-85 corridor, including parts of the Atlanta area by Monday afternoon.

Arkansas and western Tennessee

Timing: Saturday

After seeing some precipitation Friday, Arkansans are expected to get some winter weather Saturday as the storm moves east toward Tennessee.

Impact: Flooding rains, wintry mix, mountain snow

North Arkansas will see up to 6 inches of snow and up to one-10th of an inch of ice.

The southern half of Arkansas faces up 4 to 5 inches of rain, with flash flooding possible. Central Arkansas looks to pick up, at most, 1 inch of snow. Meanwhile, the higher elevations of the Ozark Mountains will likely see 2 to 6 inches of snow on top of a glaze of ice up to a quarter of an inch.

Snow totals will be lower in northeastern Arkansas and northwestern Tennessee, where a trace to 1 inch of snow is possible.


Timing: Saturday morning through Saturday evening

Impact: Flooding

Precipitation began Friday in Central and North Texas, moving east overnight where fears of flash flooding will increase through Saturday. Up to 2 inches are possible hourly in coastal towns.

San Antonio and Houston could see flash flooding as rainfall totals could reach 3 to 6 inches, with as much as 10 inches in isolated spots. As of Friday evening, Austin had 2.95 inches of rain, and an area of East Texas saw 3.4 inches.

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