US braces for winter storms from coast to coast

As the weekend approaches, travel conditions are expected to become hazardous.

    As the weekend approaches travel conditions are expected to become hazardous [EPA]
    As the weekend approaches travel conditions are expected to become hazardous [EPA]

    The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued widespread warnings for snow, sleet and freezing rain across central regions of the United States.

    Travel conditions are forecast to deteriorate on Thursday from Missouri up to Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois, as snow spreads across the region. In the face of the band of snow, the rain will turn to a dangerous mix of sleet and freezing rain as it hits the colder air over the central Appalachians.

    The snow is set to fall steadily for several days throughout the Midwest, with many areas accumulating close to 15 centimetres (6 inches) by Sunday.

    Meanwhile, to the south, heavy rain beginning on Thursday could lead to localised flooding from Louisiana to Alabama.

    The system bringing the rain and snow will move slowly east on Friday and begin to affect major cities, such as Washington, DC, New York City and Boston.

    For the beginning of the weekend, the northeast will see the rain changing to sleet and freezing rain, with as much as 1cm (0.4 inches) of ice accumulating in parts of New Hampshire and Maine, producing dangerous travel conditions.

    On the opposite side of the country, heavy rain and strong winds will continue for the Pacific Northwest, with the possibility of flooding along coastal areas.

    As the rain heads further inland, it too will turn to snow across the Cascades, the Olympic Mountains and the northern Rockies.

    The northern Cascades could see as much as 75cm (29.5 inches) of new snow in the coming days, with up to 25cm (10 inches) further south along the mountain range in central Oregon.

    Parts of the Midwest will also see heavy snow, with areas of Missouri and Illinois also picking up about 25cm by the end of the weekend.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies