After a snowy Tuesday in the Plains, a winter storm will dump snow in a 1,200-mile stretch from Missouri to Maine from Wednesday into Thursday, causing travel disruptions and school closings.
In Kansas on Tuesday, one person died and a section of Interstate 70 was closed for several hours after heavy snowfall caused multiple accidents, officials said. Snow was also reported in portions of South Dakota, Nebraska and eastern Colorado.
As the system moves east, winter weather advisories and winter storm watches have been issued by the National Weather Service from the central Plains to northern New England. More than 25 million people live where there is some level of a winter weather alert.
Cities such as Chicago and Detroit are in the path of the storm.
However, Chicago may not see as much snow as had been forecast, with amounts of 2 to 5 inches now likely, primarily overnight Tuesday and into Wednesday, the National Weather Service said. Chicago is still in the running for enough snow to make roads slippery, AccuWeather warned.
"The corridor where 6-12 inches of snow can fall has shifted south of Chicago but may be centered on Detroit; Champaign, Illinois; Fort Wayne, Indiana; and Toledo, Ohio," AccuWeather senior meteorologist Dan Pydynowski said.
A more significant weather story in Chicago will likely be howling winds and big waves along Lake Michigan: “The winds and large battering waves combined with record-high lake levels will exacerbate already significant beach and shoreline erosion,” said the weather service in Chicago.
By Thursday, the heaviest snow will paste areas of northern New York state and northern New England, AccuWeather said. Heavy lake-effect snow will develop in the typical Great Lakes snowbelts as the system pulls away Thursday through Saturday, the Weather Channel said.
After the storm moves through, bitter cold and blustery winds will be the main weather story across much of the East.
"A much cooler air mass will settle in behind the cold front across the East Coast region by Thursday, signaling a cold end to February," the weather service said.
Winds could be strong enough to result in sporadic power outages, AccuWeather said.