ARLINGTON, Va. — Sleet, snow and bitter cold temperatures continued to sweep across a wide swath of the South and East on Thursday as the weather-battered region prepared for more travel chaos.
"The arrival of a cold and frigid arctic air mass will set the stage for a winter-weather threat from south Texas to the Carolinas on Friday into Saturday," the National Weather Service said in an alert. "An extensive zone of frozen precipitation of ice, sleet and snow is expected, which will result in dangerous travel conditions."
Much of the region has been slammed by a series of snow and ice events in the last three weeks, sometimes dumping more than a foot of snow in areas that often don't see that much all year.
Winter storm warnings and advisories remained in effect for more than 25 million Americans, the vast majority in the South.
Thursday night could bring temperatures close to the lowest of the season to date. Washington was forecast to reach a low of 19 degrees, while Central Park in New York was forecast to see 13.
A wide range of cities including Buffalo, Pittsburgh and Nashville, as well as a host of cities in North Carolina including Charlotte, Raleigh, and Asheville also were threatened with blustery, wintry weather.
WHAT IS WIND CHILL? Understanding the wind chill index and how it's calculated
Outside Washington, the Arlington and sprawling Fairfax County school districts in Virginia were among schools to close Thursday. Most of the area dodged a weather nightmare, however, when the rain stopped before the temperatures drew close to freezing.
Ice and snow as far south as North Carolina could result in localized slick roads Thursday night, the National Weather Service warned.
"Black ice is possible area-wide Thursday night and early Friday morning as cold air pours into central NC," the weather service said in a briefing.
A wintry mix was expected from the Ohio Valley into the mid-Atlantic and southern New England, the weather service said. Waves of low pressure tracking east along this front will likely bring areas of heavy snow and significant ice from south Texas into the Carolinas on Thursday night into Saturday morning, the agency warned.
The storm is the latest in a series of dangerous winter weather systems to sweep across the region. Over the recent holiday weekend, a storm dropped more than foot of snow across parts of Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York, and heavy snowfall totals were recorded as far south as Mississippi. Tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and heavy winds added to the weather havoc.
Earlier this month, a storm pounded the mid-Atlantic region with up to a foot of snow, closing schools for a week in some districts.
Contributing: Nicholas Katzban, NorthJersey.com; The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Winter weather advisory closes schools, brings sleet and snow to East