An outbreak of violent thunderstorms will impact more than a dozen states on Friday, with several tornadoes a near certainty.
More than 65 million people in at least 15 states – from Texas to Alabama in the South all the way up north to Wisconsin and Michigan – are at risk from the “explosive” storms.
“This storm has far-reaching effects and a number of different weather elements that will wreak havoc, and that’s going to be the big story,” said Bob Larson, senior meteorologist at AccuWeather.
Meanwhile, heavy snow and strong winds could produce blizzard conditions from the Dakotas to northern Michigan.
Here’s what you need to know about Friday’s weather:
The storm that will slam into the Midwest and South will impact Mississippi, where tornadoes left 26 dead and dozens injured after they tore through several towns last week.
Larson said to expect a “more potent” storm this time around. “That doesn’t mean that it’ll be worse in terms of tornado outbreaks, but I do think there’ll be a larger area affected than what we had last week,” Larson said.
“Both north and south, really any direction, over several hundred miles removed from the storm center is going to be a large area of high winds that can cause problems,” he added.
Locations including Wichita and Kansas City, Kansas; Oklahoma City; St. Louis; and Chicago are likely to experience 50- to 60-mph wind gusts throughout Friday, according to Larson.
By Friday night, the storm will move eastward into Tennessee, including Memphis and Nashville. On Saturday, it’ll move east from Ohio through all of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and part of New York state.
Some of those areas will be slammed with 60- to 70-mph wind gusts, Larson said.
President Joe Biden planned Friday to visit areas severely damaged by tornadoes last week. Rolling Fork and nearby Silver City, Mississippi, lost around 300 homes and businesses, with hundreds of other buildings badly damaged.
The president and first lady Jill Biden will survey tornado damage, meet with affected homeowners and first responders and receive an operational briefing from federal and state officials.
They’re expected to be joined by Gov. Tate Reeves, Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith and Rep. Bennie Thompson.
Biden is expected to announce that the federal government will cover the total cost of the state’s emergency measures for the next 30 days, including overtime for first responders and debris cleanup.
The same storm system is expected to produce a band of heavy snow, with blizzard conditions possible from the central Plains to the upper Great Lakes region from Friday to Saturday, Larson said.
The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning from Friday afternoon through Saturday morning for a large swath of Nebraska and neighboring states. An ice storm warning will be in effect in the area through Friday afternoon.
About 2 to 4 inches of snow are expected, with winds gusting as high as 55 mph.
“Power outages and tree damage are likely due to the ice,” the weather service said. “Travel could be nearly impossible. Patchy blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening commute.”
The weather service urged drivers who must travel to bring flashlights, food and water in case they get stuck.
Meanwhile in parts of Oregon and Washington, a winter storm warning goes into effect at 5 p.m. Friday and will last through late Sunday.
Snow accumulations could reach up to 48 inches at higher elevations in the Cascades, and winds are expected to reach 40 mph.
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