A full-fledged winter storm is in the cards this weekend for the Upper Midwest, while drenching rains will pound the South, threatening localized flooding and tornadoes, forecasters said.
As the storm that delivered record snowfall to Las Vegas and Arizona pushes east, winter storm watches have been posted from the Plains into the Great Lakes, with 6 to 12 inches possible late Saturday into Sunday, CNN senior meteorologist Dave Hennen said.
Meantime, more than 20 million people from Arkansas to Ohio are under some kind of flood alert, he said Friday.
Flood-prone residents should prep to evacuate
With much of the Southeast already saturated, another 2 to 4 inches of rain over the next few days could spell trouble.
Cities including Little Rock, Arkansas; Memphis; Birmingham, Alabama; Nashville; Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky; and Charleston, West Virginia, are all under flood watches Friday.
“Life-threatening” flooding could threaten Nashville through Friday, the National Weather Service’s local office warned.
“This is a serious situation,” the weather service said. “Residents in flood-prone areas should prepare to evacuate, just in case water approaches your home. Do not even think about driving across flooded roadways.”
Tornadoes could strike the Mississippi Valley
Strong to severe storms — with the possibility of tornadoes — are forecast Saturday afternoon and evening for parts of the Mississippi Valley.
The storm threat is greatest from Texas to Tennessee, with parts of eastern Arkansas, northern Mississippi and western Tennessee also at risk, Hennen said.
Large hail and damaging winds also are possible across the region, he said.
More snow where you least expect it
Winter storm warnings and advisories continue Friday for much of the Southwest, where vacation destinations this week already have been turned into snowy wonderlands.
A winter storm warning is in effect for much of eastern Arizona, and commuters in Tucson can expect a wet and snowy morning drive, forecasters said.
More snow, some heavy, also is expected through Friday night in Flagstaff, Arizona, which a day earlier set a record of nearly 3 feet of snow in one day, the weather service said. Drivers are encouraged to packed emergency supplies, a charged cell phone and a full tank of gas.
Las Vegas also broke a snow record Wednesday, with a half inch of snow. Sin City has gotten snow on five days this month, breaking a record set in 1949.