What to Know About the Snowstorm Hitting the Midwest and East Coast

A winter storm hitting much of the Midwest and the East Coast on Wednesday could cause large amounts of precipitation and dangerous conditions for the affected areas.

The storm will bring snow, sleet, ice and rain to cities like Detroit, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and New York City throughout Wednesday, after it moved through the central part of the country over Tuesday night. The storm is expected to end Thursday.

Officials are warning that the danger of the storm is in the changing weather conditions; though those affected will likely see snow early in the day, the precipitation will then change to more dangerous sleet and freezing rain.

“Snow will be prevalent across the northern Mid-Atlantic region Wednesday morning with several inches of accumulation likely,” the National Weather Service reported. “With strong warm air advection aloft expected during the afternoon and evening hours, a transition to sleet and then rain is expected for areas near and east of Interstate 95.”

The south will see heavy rainfall as a result of the storm: “Rainfall amounts on the order of 1 to 3 inches are expected through Friday morning across much of the Deep South as multiple rounds of rain fall over the same areas, and widespread flash flood watches are in effect,” the NWS said. Additional snow is also expected in the western half of the country, where the storm began.

According to NBC News’ meteorologist Dylan Dreyer, the Midwest could see up to 6 inches of snow, and New York, New Jersey and Washington could see up to 4 inches.

By 8:30 a.m. ET Wednesday morning, almost 700 flights had been delayed and over 1,000 flights had been cancelled in airports across the United States, according to flight tracker website FlightAware.

New Jersey governor Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency, effective 5 a.m. Wednesday, urging residents to drive with caution through the snow and freezing rain.

New York City’s Emergency Management Department issued a travel advisory for Wednesday afternoon through Thursday morning.

“Light to moderate snow moves into the area Wednesday afternoon, then transitions to a wintry mix of snow and sleet Wednesday evening,” the advisory read. “A trace of freezing rain is also possible. The heaviest period of snowfall is expected during the Wednesday evening commute, between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. The wintry mix is forecast to change over to rain late Wednesday night, and will taper off Thursday morning.”

The department urged New Yorkers to use public transportation and to expect “slippery roads and limited visibility” if driving.

Tom Wolf, the Pennsylvania governor, advised residents to exercise caution. “Snow should arrive in the morning and is expected to turn into an icy mix,” he said. “Please stay off the roads if you can, and use extreme caution if you must travel.”

The Virginia Department of Transportation, too, urged Virginians to be prepared for a “range” of weather.

“Forecasts vary by location, but include a range of rain, sleet, snow and ice,” the advisory read. “Motorists are urged to plan travel around the storm, not during the storm.”

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