Winter Storm Leon, Way Down South In Dixie

UPDATE — 2:15p.m. Tuesday — UPDATE

An INCH or less of snow already covering the highways around Atlanta. That part of Georgia is spinning its wheels in bumper-to-bumper traffic, verging on total gridlock in below freezing temps. Waiting for the freezing rain along the South Carolina coast. So it goes. Here in Maryland, in the suburbs north of Washington, we had such a modest goal for today. 20 degrees. Is that too much to ask? Nope, not going to see 20 today. But Maryland might see snow flurries tonite.


What did we do to make Canada mad at US?

Picking up where we left off last week, we have another Alberta Clipper attacking from the north. Last Tuesday and Wednesday, Winter Storm Janus thrashed the MidAtlantic and New England.

This week it’s Winter Storm Leon, and he’s planning to march through the South. It might be the worst disaster to hit Georgia since Gen. Sherman’s March to the Sea in 1864.

Draw a straight line connecting the following cities on the map.

  1. New Orleans, Louisiana
  2. Mobile, Alabama
  3. Atlanta, Georgia
  4. Charleston, South Carolina
  5. Raleigh, North Carolina
  6. Norfolk, Virginia

There you have the expected path of Gen. Storm Leon, attacking at dawn Tuesday. Leon will even cross into my state, Maryland, if the course holds true, hitting the Lower Eastern Shore before blowing northeast into the Atlantic Ocean.

About 40 million people across the South will be afflicted with winter weather rarely seen in the region. Freezing temperatures, wind, rain, freezing rain, sleet, and snow, according to The Weather Channel.

This is what happens when you have a Canadian COLD front driving into the deep South, mixing with warm, wet air in the Gulf of Mexico. Did somebody say driving? Best advice, y’all, Don’t drive if you don’t have to Tuesday afternoon and evening, in that part of the country.

The most treacherous part of the storm will be a belt of freezing rain, maybe heavy at times, in parts of Alabama, Georgia, / South Carolina, and North Carolina. Not much snow accumulation in the far South, maybe one to three inches. The amount of snow is expected to increase sharply going north from Atlanta, with up to eight inches in North Carolina. As much as a foot of snow is reported possible in the northeast corner of North Carolina into Virginia.

With freezing rain, the possibility of serious power outages is great. Heavy ice coats tree limbs and power lines, and gravity does the rest. The unusual cold is expected to linger in the South, creating dangerous living conditions for people who lose power and heat.

Meanwhile, miserable, dangerously low temperatures continue all across the North. Wind chills below zero in many places.

How bad is it in the North? I hear schools will be closed in many places Tuesday, including Chicago and the whole state of Wisconsin.

And here in my part of central Maryland? We’re expecting a low temperature of seven degrees and windy overnight. But cheer up. The high might hit 20, even 21, during the day.

Southerners remember, as we say in summer, “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.”

This week, in North and South, “It’s not the cold, it’s the wind chill.”

Be careful out there. Bring the dogs and cats inside.

— John Hayden

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