The low pressure system currently in place in the Central Plains begins diving into the lower Mississippi Valley region by Friday night. On Saturday, this depression slowly meanders across the southeast before turning north along the east coast.
Rain, sleet, sleet, or freezing rain – how about all of those in a 24-hour time period? This will be the case in some states this weekend.
The storm will move through parts of the Midwest and the central Mississippi Valley on Friday, dropping one foot of snow.
Winds will also blow through these areas, causing snow and poor visibility.
Heavy snow will fall across parts of Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota with 6 to 12 inches of snow expected.
From there, the system dives deep south heading to Missouri, Arkansas, and Kansas.
Southeast gets a mix of everything
For much of the Southeast, this system begins as rain on a Saturday.
As temperatures drop, this rain changes to freezing rain, sleet and eventually snow in many locations.
Predicting winter weather in the Southeast is never easy, as timings are often set.
“These different types of winter rain are very sensitive to small changes,” said Kyle Thiem, a meteorologist with the NWS office in Atlanta. “A change of just a degree or two can mean a difference from relatively harmless precipitation to very impressive accumulations of ice and snow.”
However, it is the slow forward speed of this system that provides the setting for a crippling ice storm that could wipe out millions of energy.
The Carolinas will be the region most likely to experience ice, with cities like Charlotte and Columbia picking up up to half an inch of ice, which, along with strong winds, will bring down trees and power lines.
In the southern Appalachian Mountains, snow total will rise at the same speed as altitude. Asheville, North Carolina, for example, is expected to rise 8 to 12 inches, but it can reach 20 inches at elevations of more than 4,000 feet.
Mid-Atlantic and Northeast
The storm will head to the East Coast on Sunday and Monday, with more than a foot of heavy snow expected in some locations.
Some snow will fall in the major metro areas of Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York, and Boston, but a change in rain will affect the accumulations.
Inland cities like Charleston, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Syracuse and Burlington, Vermont, will see the heaviest snowfall.
What helps the Northeast is that long before the bulk of the snow arrives, freezing air and dangerous wind chills will be in place.
Wind chill alerts are in effect for more than 20 million people on Friday and Saturday, when feel-like temperatures can dip to minus 40 to 45 degrees below zero across much of inner New England.
CNN meteorologists Chad Myers, Dave Henin, and Monica Jarrett contributed to this story.