About 11 million people were under winter weather alerts Thursday, stretching from western Illinois to parts of Utah and Arizona.
“Significant impacts due to heavy snow rates and accumulations are possible from the Tennessee Valley through the Central Appalachians and into much of the interior Northeast.”
Up to 8 inches of snow is expected in Kansas City, Kansas, where conditions will likely peak between 5 a.m. and 3 p.m., according to CNN Meteorologist Robert Shackelford. Meanwhile, Columbia, Missouri, can expect to see up to 4 inches of snow, he said.
The NWS in Kansas City warned that due to snowy weather, the commute Thursday will be messy.
In anticipation of those conditions, schools in Kansas City, Missouri, announced they would close Thursday.
Parts of Nebraska and Flagstaff, Arizona, could see up to 3 inches of snow, Shackelford said.
The storm is also expected to deliver heavy rain and possible thunderstorms to areas in the South, including Atlanta, Birmingham, Alabama, and Charleston, South Carolina, as it moves in Friday night to Saturday morning.
A wintery mix and snow will come into play in some areas as temperatures plummet well below average. Forecasts show parts of Alabama and Mississippi could see snow, while some flakes could also mix with Louisiana’s rain.
The weekend in the Northeast
As the storm travels to the east, it’s expected to strengthen into a bomb cyclone.
Strong winds and snow are in store for the Northeast as the cyclone reaches hurricane-level strength off the Atlantic coast.
Concerns in the interior areas of the Northeast include blizzard-like conditions and widespread wind damage.
“All model guidance has surface wave (the storm) rapidly intensifying as it tracks somewhere between the I-95 corridor to Cape Cod, then along or just off the Maine coast as a sub 970 mb low,” the National Weather Service in Boston said .
A 970 millibar low would be equivalent to a Category 2 hurricane.
CNN’s Caitlin Kaiser and Jennifer Gray contributed to this report.