'Major winter storm' forecast to hit much of country this weekend

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By Phil Helsel

Authorities in several states have issued advisories or announced preparations in advance of what forecasters say is a major storm that will affect much of the country this weekend.

The National Weather Service said the “major winter storm with an array of hazards” is expected to hit California, the Great Basin and the central Rocky Mountains on Saturday and could bring heavy rain to lower elevations.

“The storm will then quickly shift across the eastern half of the U.S. Sunday with areas of heavy snow, heavy rain and severe thunderstorms,” the weather service said.

Kansas officials urged residents with travel plans this weekend to delay or change them. The storm was expected to enter that state Saturday and continue through Sunday, bringing with it frigid temperatures and sub-zero wind chills that could remain until Monday, officials said.

Boston’s mayor on Friday announced preparations for two storms this weekend, the first of which was expected to hit after midnight early Saturday and the second of which was expected to hit Sunday evening. Snow accumulations between 6 and 7 inches were possible, Mayor Marty Walsh said in a statement.

Boston Public Schools canceled all activities Saturday because of travel conditions, and it’s possible that the storms could affect classes Monday, the mayor’s office said, but a snow emergency in the northeastern city was not in effect.

“We are encouraging residents to use caution when traveling, assist older neighbors and those who are disabled, and keep up with the shoveling of their property throughout the storm,” Walsh said.

New York City also issued a snow alert Friday, the city’s department of sanitation said.

Eastern Pennsylvania, including parts of the Poconos and northern New Jersey could see between 2 and 4 inches of snow in the the first round of storms, and the second in the area could be a “potentially significant storm” Sunday and Sunday night. The weather service cautioned that timing and precipitation remained uncertain.

In Southern California, the weather service forecast moderate to locally heavy rains, with storm totals of around 0.75 to 1.25 inches through Saturday.

As of Friday night there were winter storm warnings in parts of Colorado and winter weather advisories stretching from the eastern part of that state, as well as in central Nebraska and parts of Kansas — where parts of the state were under a winter weather warning — and there were also winter weather advisories in Wisconsin, according to the weather service.

The weather service in Denver forecast that 3 to 8 inches of snow could be seen in the “urban corridor” of Interstate 25, the highway that runs south to north through that city and its suburbs. Six to 14 inches of snow could be seen in the foothills, according to the weather service.

In Nebraska, where winter weather late last month was called a factor in a crash involving several semis that killed a 29-year-old man in a Jeep near Aurora, the weather service said that the far northern part of the state could see 4 to 6 inches of snow.

The winter weather in February in Wisconsin was a punishing one, with the state patrol handling more than 5,800 calls for motorist assists — 1,648 of which were “slide-offs” and 1,274 of which were crashes, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation tweeted Friday.

source: nbcnews.com