(Updated Feb. 1, 2022 at 11:00 AM ET with new details on the storm)
A major winter storm could soon spread dangerous weather across the U.S., dumping snow, sleet, freezing rain, and ice across a huge strip of the country from Tuesday afternoon through Friday.
Winter Storm Landon is the result of a cold front that is moving into the Midwest and central U.S, backed by freezing Arctic air. When it meets the jet stream moving south, that will spread moisture through the cold air, creating ideal conditions for serious weather.
Storm watch warnings are currently in effect covering about 1,000 miles of the U.S., extending diagonally northeast from Colorado Springs, Colorado, and parts of northern Texas to Chicago and Detroit. Over the course of the week, Landon could impact residents from Texas to Maine.
The storm is still forming, so predicting what’s going to happen still involves a lot of guesswork —conditions could change significantly in the next 48 hours. But preliminary forecasts show a pretty gross set of conditions in several different states beginning Tuesday night, when snow and rain—a wintry mix—is expected to start in an area spanning from the Rocky Mountains to parts of the Great Lakes. This weather is expected to last through Wednesday, which is Groundhog Day, into Thursday. Parts of Colorado could see up to a foot of snow, while snow is even possible in parts of northern Texas.
The National Weather Service shows portions of 15 states from New Mexico to New Hampshire are under a winter storm watch—not as serious as an advisory or a warning, defined as conditions that are “favorable” for a storm event to develop. A chunk of the middle of the country—stretching from parts of New Mexico and Colorado, through Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois, over to parts of Indiana, Michigan and Ohio—are as of Wednesday under a winter storm warning, the most serious classification, which projects heavy snow and ice and possible blizzard conditions. Parts of Illinois and Missouri, which are almost entirely under winter storm warnings, could see a foot of snow or more.
What’s in store for places farther east depends on how the storm develops, but forecasters say heavy snow is possible in New York Thursday, while “rain, snow, freezing rain, sleet are all on the table” for parts of Ohio and Pennsylvania, according to the National Weather Service in Pittsburgh. Portions of the Northeast could see some of this icy, snowy weather at the tail end of this week, but warmer winds will probably change a lot of the snow to rain by the time the storm hits the mid-Atlantic and New England.
Forecasters say travel will probably be difficult to impossible in some places. The Federal Aviation Administration, which does not cancel individual flights, advised travelers in a tweet Monday to keep an eye on their flights and listen for announcements from airlines about their specific flights.