A Winter Storm Once in a Generation


In Central Illinois, we are used to the many headaches that surface with winter weather's wrath. But many in the South are not used to dealing with winter weather, let alone a dangerous winter storm. It's called "Winter Storm Leon," and it's affecting millions of people in parts of the deep South and East Coast. Places known for their beaches, subtropical breezes, and hurricanes are currently covered in snow, sleet, and ice. 

The threat for the South and East all started from the combination of a bitterly cold Arctic air mass that plunged far South behind a sharp cold front, along with moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. As the Gulf moisture combines with the cold air behind the front, frozen precipitation will expand Northeast. Such a wintry mess has already caused major problems on the roads, forcing major highways to shut down.

As of Wednesday morning, January 29, places such as Birmingham and Atlanta have seen mostly snow with some sleet. Further South, there's been more of a mix with snow, sleet, and freezing rain. The precipitation should end from the Western Florida Panhandle by Wednesday afternoon, January 29th. Wintry precipitation will linger Wednesday morning from North-Central Florida to South Georgia and the Carolinas. 

With such a rare winter storm, how much snow is expected in the South and Eastern U.S.? Forecasting snowfall accumulation is difficult due to sleet and freezing rain hampering snow totals. Models have forecasted three to five inches over many parts of Georgia and South Carolina, with the heaviest amounts of eight to twelve and even up to eighteen inches just East of Raleigh, North Carolina and near the Norfolk, Virginia Area. 

Back at home, more snow is on the way, but nothing like this winter storm is expected here. Always keep it tuned with us for the latest weather updates!

Lauren Rainson

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