A potent winter storm is forecast to wallop tens of millions of people across the central, southern and eastern USA with snow, ice, wind and rain over the next few days.
"Get ready, a major snowstorm is coming," AccuWeather meteorologist Bernie Rayno warned.
The Weather Channel, which named the sprawling storm Izzy, said it is likely to produce "major travel headaches" from North Dakota down to northern Georgia and up to Maine.
The first area to see snow Friday will be the upper Midwest, where winter storm warnings, watches and weather advisories were issued by the National Weather Service. A wide swath of 6 to 12 inches of snowfall is expected to encompass the eastern Dakotas to western Minnesota and Iowa, AccuWeather said.
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"There will be a band of heavy snow that generally extends from the eastern Dakotas and Minnesota southward to at least much of Missouri and maybe the Ozarks in Arkansas," said AccuWeather meteorologist Matt Benz. Minneapolis, Des Moines, St. Louis and Kansas City are all in the path of the storm.
On Friday and into Saturday, "difficult driving conditions are likely throughout this region as roads become snow covered," according to the weather service.
Southern states face dangerous ice storm
From there, the storm should bring a blast of wintry weather to the South, including accumulating snowfall and the potential for a dangerous ice storm.
“While much is going to be said about the snow across much of the central and eastern part of the country with our latest winter storm," AccuWeather chief meteorologist Jonathan Porter said, "I want to make sure we don’t lose track of the significant ice storm risk."
"Parts of North and South Carolina, as well as portions of Virginia where amounts could easily exceed half an inch of ice” could face the biggest threat from icy precipitation, he said.
The ice could contribute to power outages and tree damage, Porter said.
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Atlanta is in the path of the storm, which could end the city's nearly four-year streak without measurable snow.
Up to 18 inches of snow forecast for Northeast
The storm’s last stops will be the mid-Atlantic and Northeast after it takes a sharp turn to the north-northeast along the Eastern Seaboard on Sunday and into Monday.
Heavy snow is forecast to paste portions of the region – especially the Appalachians and interior Northeast – with as much as 18 inches of snow by the time the storm winds down late Monday. The best chance for heavy snow is expected to be north and west of the Boston-Washington Interstate 95 corridor, from parts of Northern Virginia to Maine, Weather.com said.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Winter storm warning: Snow to hit Midwest, East; South to get ice