Weather

A winter storm is hitting the Rockies and temperatures are about to plunge

Posted February 3, 2020 1:23 p.m. EST

— A storm system taking shape across the western US will usher winter conditions back to central and eastern parts of the country this week.

Proving once again that the famous groundhog likely got his forecast wrong.

The storm system is already unleashing a variety of wild weather across the West; A massive temperature swing, near hurricane-force wind gusts and the return of winter precipitation.

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Almost 25 million people are under a wind warning or advisory, including residents of Los Angeles and Las Vegas, where winds of up to 70 mph are possible in the mountains.

Winds are leading to high-surf on the West Coast with 8-12 foot waves and dangerous rip currents.

As the winds begin to ease throughout the day, the cold will settle in. What were unseasonably warm temperatures Sunday will give way to a chilly change.

"Las Vegas set a record high of 77 yesterday, but will struggle to hit 50 today," said CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen.

Farther east, a daily record high temperature of 74 degrees was set in Denver on Sunday. Monday into Tuesday, they could see 6 to 8 inches of snow.

Widespread snow is being generated across parts of Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado, where winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories are in effect.

"The heaviest snow is expected to fall across the higher terrain of central Wyoming and north-central Colorado, with up to a foot of accumulation possible," the Weather Prediction Center said.

A swath of snow from Texas to New England

By Tuesday, the storm will shift east, dropping temperatures in places like Dallas and delivering wintry weather from Texas to New England.

Snow could fall in cities like Oklahoma City, St Louis, Chicago, Detroit, Buffalo and Boston.

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Four to 6 inches of snow could fall in Oklahoma City Tuesday into Wednesday after a plunge of more than 30 degrees from Monday to Tuesday.

From St. Louis to Boston, the snow will be slightly less with only a couple of inches forecast Wednesday into Thursday.

Severe storms in the South

As warmer temperatures interact with this storm system, a wintry mix of freezing rain, sleet and snow could fall across Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut Thursday.

In the South, widespread rainfall of 3 to 5 inches is possible this week.

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With this much rain, flooding is likely.

Farther south, "severe storms are possible Tuesday in east Texas into Louisiana and Arkansas, and then over much of the Southeast on Wednesday," Hennen said.

Looks like winter isn't quite over. But hey, one could always hope for next week.

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