Quick-hitting snowfall to blanket areas from Midwest to South as meteorological winter ends

Alex Sosnowski

A weak storm will spread snow across portions of the middle Mississippi and lower Ohio valleys and southern Appalachians as the last days of February wind down. The storm can bring enough wintry precipitation to produce slippery travel in some areas.

The storm is forecast to move eastward into a batch of cold air that will be entrenched across eastern half of the United States. The cold outbreak will coincide with the end of meteorological winter, which spans the typically three coldest months of the year: December, January and February.

"The storm is forecast to race to south-central Virginia and north-central North Carolina by Friday night," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson said.

Precipitation from the storm system is coming in two batches, roughly four to eight hours apart. Snow is likely to extend a bit to the north, south and east of the system's center.

"Fast movement of the storm will limit accumulation," Anderson stated.

The storm is expected to bring a general coating to an inch or two, mainly on non-paved surfaces, but a moderate amount of snow on the order of a few inches can accumulate over the mountains of West Virginia, western Virginia, western North Carolina and the eastern parts of Tennessee and Kentucky.

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"While warm road surface temperatures will minimize the amount of snow that accumulates on the pavement, some slushy and slippery conditions can develop," Anderson said.

Cities and towns that may receive a light covering of snow at the tail end of February include Louisville, Kentucky; Crossville, Tennessee; Beckley, West Virginia; Wytheville, Virginia; and Boone, North Carolina.

These conditions will be most common but not limited to bridges, overpasses and areas that do not receive direct sunlight during the daytime.

Motorists and pedestrians should be especially careful when traveling during the nighttime, late afternoon and early morning hours, when slushy areas and black ice will be most common.

By the time the storm pushes east of the Appalachians, the air will be a bit less cold and not quite as moist and may support a mixture of rain and wet snowflakes or non-accumulating snow from portions of the North Carolina and Virginia piedmont during Friday night to the Chesapeake Bay region, including the Delmarva Peninsula, by Saturday.

Time is running out for snow this season, especially in the South and along the mid-Atlantic coast, which has been experiencing a snow drought this year. However, March can be a fickle month. Even though December, January and February are the coldest months of the year, and March brings a significant increase in average daily temperatures, it is the period from January through March that is the snowiest in many locations east of the Rockies.

The combined seasonal snowfall in Washington, D.C.Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York City is a mere 7.5 inches for this winter, compared to an average of 70.3 inches for the season to date as of Feb. 26. The winter of 1972-73 is the benchmark for lean snowfall for much of this corridor. For example, that winter brought less than 0.1 of an inch of snow to Philadelphia.

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