Winter Storm Leon will hammer the southeastern United States Tuesday, bringing snow, sleet and freezing rain to a 1,300-mile area from Texas to the beaches of Virginia, The Weather Channel predicts.
“Some areas in this part of the Southeast haven’t seen this kind of wintry weather in 25 years,” said Weather Channel winter weather expert Tom Niziol.
Schools have already announced closings through much of the southeast in anticipation of Winter Storm Leon. Delta Airlines alone has already canceled 1,850 flights, airline spokesperson Betsy Talton said Monday night.
The National Weather Service has put out a winter storm warning for Galveston County in eastern Texas, according to The Galveston Daily News. Winter Storm Leon also prompted warnings for New Orleans, Mobile, Virginia Beach and areas in between, according to The Washington Post.
Leon could dump six inches of snow on many areas unaccustomed to getting any — and double-digit snowfalls in areas of the Carolinas. The southeast has been experiencing freezing temperatures and bitter wind chills for the past several days.
As many as 20 states had wind chill advisories or warning by Monday night. Chicago’s temperatures were expected to hit a five-year low Tuesday. The Arctic blast extends all the way to the northern midwest where a low of 25 below zero was expected in Grand Forks, North Dakota, Tuesday morning.
Portions of North Carolina will see one of the largest snowfalls on record, according to NWS meteorologist Karen Goodall. Throughout the southeast residents and municipalities are being advised to prepare for power outages due to icy weather carried in by Winter Storm Leon.
“Now is the time to prepare for the ice and snow impacts that this winter storm will deliver Tuesday into Wednesday from the Gulf Coast to the Carolinas,” cautioned Weather.com forecaster Chris Dolce. “Locations that see the most serious ice accumulations from freezing rain should prepare for possibility of lengthy power outages. This includes areas not used to seeing ice storms such as Charleston, S.C. and Savannah, Ga.”
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley has already declared a state of emergency to cope with Winter storm Leon, as has Escambia County, the farthest-west county in Florida. The same is true in Louisiana where Governor Bobby Jindal has also declared an emergency.