Snowfall alert issued for parts of the South

AccuWeather meteorologists are keeping an eye on a storm that will emerge from the northern Rockies during the middle of the week. Not only does the system have the potential to bring accumulating snow to parts of the South, but it might also take a northward jog along the Atlantic coast this weekend.

Despite a lack of Arctic air across the Lower 48 states during the first full week of the new year, storms will continue to brew and cause trouble in the form of snow -- and not just across northern areas.

AccuWeather meteorologists are keeping an eye on a storm that will emerge from the northern Rockies during the middle of the week. Not only does the system have the potential to bring accumulating snow to parts of the South, but it might also take a northward jog along the Atlantic coast this weekend.

The overall weather pattern this week will resemble a March setup rather than one typical of early January, according to AccuWeather forecasters. During March, storms can produce snow without a great deal of cold air.

Similarly, the air may be just cold enough for snow from parts of Kentucky and Tennessee to portions of the Carolinas, Virginia and perhaps northern Georgia during the second half of this week.

"Following several inches of snow in a narrow north-to-south zone from parts of the Dakotas to northern Missouri from Tuesday night to Wednesday night, the storm will reorganize farther south and begin to strengthen," AccuWeather Meteorologist ReneƩ Duff said.

How much snow will fall from Wednesday night to Thursday night from southern Missouri and northern Arkansas to the middle portions of Kentucky and Tennessee will depend on how quickly the storm strengthens and begins to manufacture its own cold air. This process is fairly common during storms in March and can deliver snow to areas surprisingly far south even with no Arctic air present at the onset.

The storm is forecast to spread rain along the northeastern Gulf and southern Atlantic coasts from Thursday to Friday.

"An area of high pressure over the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley is likely to block the storm's northward progression and force it to take a more southern track," Duff said.

Farther inland across the region, the atmosphere is likely to become cold enough to produce not only a mixture of rain, sleet and snow, but also also the risk of accumulating snow across portions of eastern Tennessee to northern Georgia, northern and western North Carolina and southern and eastern Virginia.

The strength of the storm will dictate how heavily the snow comes down and how cold the air becomes as a result.

A weak storm may only result in light precipitation and marginal temperatures. Much of the snow may melt as it falls in areas outside of the southern Appalachians if the storm remains weak. On the other hand, should the storm become potent, the rate of precipitation can be heavy, causing the atmosphere to cool down enough to bring an accumulation to grassy areas, roads and sidewalks well away from the mountains, including in lower elevations and perhaps even to the coast.

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