A massive winter storm took aim at the Northeast on Thursday evening after the weather system canceled thousands of flights, knocked out power in parts of six states and spawned what was being called a deadly tornado in Alabama.
A foot or more of snow could fall by Saturday morning across a swath of the Northeast from Maine to portions of western Pennsylvania, according to the National Weather Service. Farther south, a band of ice accumulation is expected to stretch more than 1,000 miles from New England to west of Tennessee.
The heaviest snow – as much as two inches per hour – is expected overnight and into Friday morning, the Weather Service said.
Forecasters also warned of strong thunderstorms along the storm’s warmer side in Mississippi and Alabama. In western Alabama, a tornado that hit a rural area Thursday afternoon killed one person, a female he found under rubble, and critically injured three others, Hale County Emergency Management Director Russell Weeden told WBRC-TV.
More than 5,000 flights were canceled Thursday, according to the tracker Flightaware.com. More than 250,000 customers in Texas, Arkansas, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia and Tennessee lost power, according to Poweroutage.us. The storm has already dumped more than a foot of snow in parts of the Midwest, even bringing rare measurable snowfall to parts of Texas.
“It is a slow-moving storm,” AccuWeather senior meteorologist Dan Pydynowski told USA TODAY. “Such a long duration storm not only makes travel difficult over a long period of time, but it also allows the freezing rain to accumulate up to around 1 inch in some areas, which can cause power outages.”