Blinding Blizzards Hit Plains; Rain Expected for Northeast

Enjoli Francis
Blinding Blizzards Hit Plains; Rain Expected for Northeast (ABC News)

Image credit: Felicia Fonseca/AP Photo

As residents of several states in the southern Plains woke up today to a White Christmas several days early, forecasters urged those in the snowstorm's path to take a break from the holiday shopping and stay home.

"Don't venture out," Tom Kines, a senior meteorologist for Accuweather, said today. "Wait till Wednesday to get it. You shouldn't be traveling."

According to Accuweather, the southern Plains - New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and Kansas - are under a blizzard warning starting today as rains change to snow this evening.

KOAT-TV, ABC News affiliate in Albuquerque, N.M., on its website reported whiteout conditions and icy roads.

Kines said that some areas in the southern Plains could get six to 12 inches while others could get as much as 18 as the system moved east.

"It is going to be very bad, especially tonight," he told ABC News. "It's a nasty storm."

Vicki Roberts, a bed and breakfast owner in Kenton, Okla., said the storm had dropped about 1.5 inches of snow outside her place in an hour. Her area was expected to get up to 16.

"It's a blizzard. I can't even see the mesa [the highest point in Oklahoma]," she told The Associated Press.

Kines said the combination of snow and wind would cause extreme blowing, drifting and zero visibility. Accuweather said more than 70 m.p.h. winds, tornadoes and damaging hail also should be expected.

The snow will change to rain once it hits the Northeast though Kines said parts of central and western Pennsylvania and cities in the Northeast interior like Albany, N.Y., could get frozen precipitation and experience some icy roads.

Of course, those on the East Coast shouldn't give up on getting a bit of that cold, white stuff Sunday.

Accuweather experts are keeping an eye on another system that could arrive Saturday.

Kines said interior parts of the Northeast had a shot at snow while cities like New York, Boston and Philadelphia would likely get a mix of rain and snow.