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Winter Storm Moves East, With 'Copious Amounts' Of Snow Expected In Northeast

Residents of Wheeling, Ill, shovel snow in front of their house, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021, in Wheeling, Ill. The winter storm may leave more than 1 foot of snow in the Chicago area.
Nam Y. Huh
Residents of Wheeling, Ill, shovel snow in front of their house, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021, in Wheeling, Ill. The winter storm may leave more than 1 foot of snow in the Chicago area.

Updated at 5:49 p.m. ET Sunday

The winter storm system that blanketed California's mountaintops and brought heavy rains that caused mudslides throughout the state moved through the Midwest over the weekend, dumping snow in areas and triggering advisories for nearly 100 million in the central U.S.

On Sunday forecasters said the storm is moving east, where it will "pass the baton off to a new coastal storm forming near the Mid-Atlantic coast," bringing heavy snow to large parts of the East Coast.

Forecasters with the National Weather Service predicted the storm would move across the Central High Plains and to the northeastern United States by Monday, with snow and heavy rain extending from the Mississippi Valley to the Great Lakes along the way.

The weather service had issued advisories and warnings for large swaths of the Midwest, including Chicago, which saw snow totals of more than 10 inches in some areas by Sunday afternoon.

The NWS Chicago office predicted that bursts of heavier snow would taper off Sunday evening, though some areas could reach 12 inches of snowfall.

"Breezy northeasterly winds gusting to near 30 mph over Lake Michigan will result in minor lake shore flooding for the northeast Illinois shore," NWS Chicago said Sunday afternoon.

By Monday, snow will be accumulating in "copious amounts" along the East Coast from eastern Pennsylvania to southern New England, forecasters said.

The "long duration winter storm calls for over a foot of snow across a large portion of eastern Pennsylvania, northern New Jersey, southern New York, and into southern New England with totals over in excess of 20 inches in some locations," the NWS forecast Sunday afternoon.

Forecasters warned of gusty winds hindering visibility and "treacherous" travel conditions in the Northeast through Tuesday.

Before moving on from California, the storm had produced more than 6 feet of snow in parts of the Sierra Nevada mountains. The storm had also produced wind gusts of 60 mph or morein several parts of the state. Gusts of 120 mph were reported in Lake Tahoe.

The storm also brought heavy rains to areas made vulnerable to mudslides by wildfires.

The Weather Channel notes that a section of Highway 1 — or the Pacific Coast Highway — near Big Sur collapsed during the rainfall.

The winter storm is also the second major snowfall to hit parts of the Midwest in a week. This past week, The Associated Press reported a storm system had dropped between 12 and 15 inches of snow in parts of Nebraska and Iowa.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

James Doubek is an associate editor and reporter for NPR. He frequently covers breaking news for NPR.org and NPR's hourly newscast. In 2018, he reported feature stories for NPR's business desk on topics including electric scooters, cryptocurrency, and small business owners who lost out when Amazon made a deal with Apple.
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