Winter weather warnings have spread across the eastern United States – up to 1,400 miles from Mississippi to Maine – and CNN meteorologists say the storm could affect up to 80 million people.
“I’m particularly concerned about snowstorms affecting the interior of South and North Carolina.
“It’s definitely windy at 40 mph, which will cut off electricity in the area,” he said.
Forecasters said Charlotte and Raleigh in Greenville, South Carolina and North Carolina were on winter storm warning. One foot of snow falls near the edge of Blue Ridge Mountain in Greenville and 20 inches of snow accumulates over 4,000 feet in that area. Even a tenth of an inch of snow is possible.
The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a blizzard warning for parts of South Carolina that will be in effect from early Monday and temperatures will remain frozen until early next week.
Up to a foot of snow and half an inch of ice can be found in the foothills of Charlotte. Raleigh will have 2 inches of snow and a quarter of an inch of snow, forecasters said.
“The most significant hailstones are expected on Carolinas this morning. Significant impacts are expected to travel across these regions,” the NWS said.
The governors of Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia declared a state of emergency, allowing resources to stabilize before the storm arrived.
The National Weather Service in Atlanta said strong winds are expected in parts of northern and central Georgia on Sunday.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has ordered the state Department of Defense to prepare 1,000 National Guard troops to respond to the storm.
Mid-Atlantic and Northeast
On Sundays and Mondays the storm will turn northeast toward the east coast.
Some snow will fall in key metro areas, but a change to rain will prevent accumulations. Washington can get 2-4 inches, Philadelphia 1-2 inches. New York and Boston are expected to get one inch each.
Heavy snow is expected in other places and above one foot in some places.
The intensity of snowfall in the region could be significant enough to avoid significant frosts, but the NWS warned that untreated surfaces could still accumulate ice and lead to dangerous travel conditions.
Most of the snowfall will occur from Sunday afternoon to Monday morning.
Inland cities such as Charleston, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Syracuse and Burlington, Vermont will experience heavy snowfall.
Forecasters said the region will experience cold temperatures and dangerous wind gusts in the Northeast before snowfall.
Coastal flooding is also expected
With the possibility of snowfall, strong winds from the east associated with the storm system could cause large coastal floods of up to 3 feet off the ground in some areas of the northeast coast during high tide.
Forecasters said parts of New York City, Long Island and parts of Connecticut were under coastal flood warning.
The timing of the wind blowing from the east to the south will largely determine the intensity of the flood, and moderate flooding is possible if the wind changes before the high tide.
“Extreme levels of flood danger were announced in at least three places, including roads, parking lots, parks, lawns and homes and businesses,” the NWS said Saturday in New York.
Floods can cause road closures and structural damage along the Atlantic coast.
CNN meteorologists Alison Cinsor, Chad Myers, Dave Hennan, Monica Garrett and Haley Bring contributed to the story.