More than 90 million Americans are in the path of a cross-country storm system set to unleash heavy snow, ice, and even severe thunderstorms on Groundhog day from the Rockies to northern New England. We told readers to monitor the system on Sunday as forecasts would become more concrete.
"We're closely monitoring the major winter storm impacting a large swath of the U.S. from New Mexico, northeast into New England. It's a complex forecast from winter precipitation types, to amounts, and more," the National Weather Service (NWS) tweeted Tuesday morning.
Fox News Senior Meteorologist Janice Dean sheds more color on the upcoming storm that will "bring a widespread mess of hazards: heavy snow, flooding rain and accumulating ice from Texas to the Northeast." In a series of tweets, she outlines the future track of the system, potential snow totals, and ice forecasts -- even pinpointing areas that are considered high impact zones.
Columbia, Missouri; Peoria, Illinois; Fort Wayne, Indiana; Detroit, Michigan; and Toledo, Ohio, could all receive more than a foot of snow. Toronto, Montreal, and Quebec City could pick up 12-18 inches.
"The winter storm traversing the country this week has a chance at breaking into the top-five heaviest snowstorms to ever occur in Detroit. If the city records more than 14 inches, it will rank in the top five snowstorms," AccuWeather said.
There's also an ice component of the storm in the areas listed below.
Dean said "another blast of arctic air will settle" into the western half of the country by the end of the week.
AccuWeather Meteorologist Matt Benz said the "arctic air will produce some of the coldest air of the season for places like North Dakota and northern Minnesota by Thursday morning." We noted Monday that Texas' power grid was at risk due to colder weather trends. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott warned Tuesday that power demand would be the highest on Friday morning. The governor said that the primary grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), will be ready for increasing power usage due to soaring heating demand.
Are Abbott and ERCOT ready for two shots of arctic air?
Meanwhile, March natural gas futures have risen 33.5% in the last two weeks on colder weather and numerous snowstorms as heating demand increases. Prices have retraced a little more than 50% of the down move from late October's high to December's low.
Also, the famous market trade known as the "widowmaker" (natgas March-April 22 futures spread) has rebounded from a low in the last two weeks as speculators bet on colder weather.
Forecasts are becoming more locked as the massive winter storm is about to begin. We do expect air travel disruptions this week.