AccuWeather.com reports the first in a series of winter storms will reach from Colorado, Kansas and Oklahoma to major hubs in the Midwest and southeastern Canada spanning Friday into Saturday.
A push of cold air coinciding with a storm moving up from the Southwest will trigger a zone of moderate to heavy snow on its northern and western fringe with a zone of ice hugging the southeastern fringe of the snow area.
The snow and ice will hinder travel on the highways from the central Plains to the Midwest and can lead to flight delays and cancellations, not only in the same area, but also reaching out to other parts of the nation.
While winds will be light with the storm and ground blizzards are not expected, enough snow to plow will fall along much of I-70 over the Rockies and Plains and along I-80 in the Midwest.
According to AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Mark Mancuso, "Snow will fall on major metropolitan areas from Denver to Kansas City, Chicago, Detroit, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City."
A shallow push of cold air southeast of the snow area will lead to a zone of sleet and its more dangerous and disruptive cousin, freezing rain.
"Ice and/or a wintry mix will glaze surfaces from near Oklahoma City and Wichita, Kan., to St. Louis, Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Cleveland," Mancuso said.
Farther south and east, warmer air will win the battle with only a brief and spotty, light wintry mix forecast in parts of northern Arkansas, Kentucky, West Virginia and much of the mid-Atlantic and southern New England. In these areas, most of the precipitation produced by the storm will be light rain or drizzle and includes the metro areas of Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Charlotte, N.C., and Atlanta.
A train of storms will follow from the South and Southwest well into February. The track of each storm will vary with some reaching toward the Great Lakes, some aiming for the mid-Atlantic and perhaps one or two causing wintry trouble in the South.
In the wake of each storm, colder air will sag southward, but not to the extreme experienced during the middle and latter part of January.
Earlier in the month, temperatures plunged below zero with high winds. At least with the cold settling in Sunday into Monday, winds will be much lighter in comparison then the coldest air is around. For example around Chicago, high temperatures will be within a few degrees of 10 F as opposed to highs near to slightly below zero during several episodes earlier during January. RealFeel® temperatures at the time had plunged to between minus 40 to minus 20 F.
However, just enough cold air will be laid down by each storm to cause a variety of freezing and frozen precipitation that could yield sizable snow and ice accumulation.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was written by Alex Sosnowski, expert senior Meteorologist for AccuWeather.com.