Winter storms: The Climate Prediction Center's precipitation outlook for winter 2015–16 in the United States.

Winter Storm ‘Olympia’: Snow & Ice To Hit Midwest, South, Northeast Through Tuesday

Winter Storm Olympia, so named by The Weather Channel, is a large system that is projected to bring snow and ice to the Midwest, the South, and the Northeast through this coming Tuesday. The National Weather Service issued winter storm warnings stretching from central Kentucky to western Virginia this weekend. Therefore, on Sunday morning, The Weather Channel made the decision to name the storm, marking Winter Storm Olympia just the latest installment in the implementation of their controversial policy of naming winter storms that result in warnings which affect more than 2 million people.

Winter Storm Olympia has also been responsible for plenty of winter weather advisories, winter storm watches, and freezing rain advisories across a large swath of the United States, “extending from Wisconsin and Missouri to Virginia, North Carolina and northeastward into New York and parts of New England,” according to The Weather Channel. The Washington Post confirms that the Washington, D.C. region can expect snow as early as Monday morning that will change to freezing rain in the evening and to rain overnight. Icy conditions may still affect the Tuesday morning commute for the D.C. metro area.

Also on Monday, the unusually frigid temperatures — some of which have broken decades-old records — that the East Coast has experienced over the Presidents’ Day weekend will give way to a more typical average high of ~30 degrees Fahrenheit (thus lowering the barometric pressure and allowing for the winter storm). Then, Tuesday’s high temperature will bring back the El Niño-influenced unusually warm temperatures that have underscored most of the East Coast’s experience this winter, with highs in the 50s for the New York City tristate area, though the tristate is also looking at a rather nasty Tuesday morning commute before that freezing rain turns to rain.

Winter Storm Olympia’s effect on the southern region is twofold, as snow accumulating as much as six inches is predicted for “a swath from Kentucky to Tennessee and the Appalachians,” according to The Weather Channel, with a winter storm watch for Raleigh, and freezing rain advisories causing potentially dangerous driving conditions in the Charlotte metro area and in parts of eastern Virginia. There is also a winter storm watch for northeast Georgia, issued by the National Weather Service.

However, Winter Storm Olympia is also having an interesting effect on the much warmer Gulf Coast of the United States, with a significant swath of thunderstorms predicted. Severe thunderstorm warnings have been issued for most of the state of Louisiana, southern Mississippi, southwestern Alabama including the Mobile metro area, and the western Florida panhandle.

The midwestern region has been dealing with the effects of Winter Storm Olympia throughout the day and evening Sunday, and most areas in the Midwest are not expected to accumulate more than six inches of total snowfall — parts of South Dakota have already accumulated six inches or more. The potential for sleet and freezing rain still exists Sunday night into Monday for parts of the Midwest, including southern Missouri and western Kentucky, but Sunday evening sees most of the midwestern impact of Winter Storm Olympia come and gone as the storm moves eastward toward the Ohio Valley, the Appalachians, and Virginia before it moves up the coast later in the evening on Monday, which is Presidents’ Day in the United States.

[Image courtesy of Climate Prediction Center (Public domain), via Wikimedia Commons]

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