Wet, messy weather to hit eastern U.S.

Posted on: 8:04 pm, February 23, 2013, by

Snow coats Highway 33 West in West Virginia as Hurricane Sandy batters the eastern seaboard, and a cold weather system blankets most of the high elevations in West Virginia on Monday, Oct. 29, 2012. As the systems meet, blizzard conditions are in effect across multiple counties in West Virginia, Virginia and Pennsylvania. (AP Photo/Robert Ray)

(CNN) — It will be a messy weekend in the Northeast and the Deep South as the massive weather system that walloped 20 states with a snowstorm rolls off toward the Atlantic Ocean.

A winter storm is expected to deposit up to 10 inches of snow in isolated pockets of western Massachusetts, and 6 inches to a foot in parts of southern Vermont and New Hampshire, and central Maine.

This is not the same storm that blanketed the Great Plains, said CNN Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri, although it is part of the same overall system that spans the country from north to south.

It will be much less intense, he said, and it should not affect the places hardest hit by the blizzard that plastered the Northeast two weeks ago, knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of customers.

Boston will likely see a slushy mix of rain and snow that could lead to downed branches and power lines, Javaheri said.

Rain will continue to soak the eastern United States from Washington, D.C., on down, especially Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

“Across the Southeast, some of the rainfall totals are going to be staggering,” said CNN Meteorologist Karen McGinnis. Parts of the central Southeast should get 4 — 6 inches of rainfall.

Some snow records

The outgoing system will have made its mark on virtually the entire country from the southwest corner of California to central Maine, leaving its deepest imprint on Kansas.

Wichita saw its second-highest storm snowfall total on record with 14.2 inches over two days, the National Weather Service said.

The town of Russell in the state’s middle lay under a 22 inch layer of white by the time the storm roared by.

Missouri was not far behind, with accumulations of around a foot in some places.

The snow set a record at Kansas City International Airport, with 9 inches falling in a single day. The old record was 5.1 inches set in 2010.

Some businesses and universities shut down Thursday as state officials urged residents to stay off the roads.

The white blanket emptied out the streets of Kansas City.

Silver lining

The snowstorm turned out to be a welcome one to many Kansans and many others throughout the Great Plains, who have been suffering a drought for a third straight year.

Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri and a host of other farm-heavy states have seen crop losses as a result.

The Kansas Department of Agriculture expects those conditions to continue into April, but near-record levels of snowfall will ease the problem and could accelerate the drought’s end.

“It snows so infrequently here. Now we’ve been in a really bad drought for several years; really, really hot summer and just no moisture. So we’re thrilled to see snow or ice — whatever moisture we can get,” Wichita resident Kristen Woodburn said.

Ranchers embraced the storm, even though bitter cold snow can be deadly during calving season.

Frank Harper, a Kansas rancher from Sedgwick and the immediate past president of the Kansas Livestock Association, said the storm caused more work for him because he had to bring his calves inside to warm them up.

But he called the snowstorm a blessing for bringing good moisture to the winter wheat.

Credit: CNN.

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