Snow, ice to slam parts of Northeast this week, rain storm out west

The Sierras are getting a break today from snow over the weekend, and tens of thousands of people in Seattle are still waiting for their electricity to be restored after strong winds hit the Jet City late Saturday night. This week more snow, ice, wind, and heavy rain are coming to other parts of the U.S., giving truckers trouble in the Northeast and West regions of the country.

Tonight and Tuesday

Light accumulations of sleet and freezing rain will make roads just icy enough to cause problems across areas of New York, mainly west of Albany, as well as central and northeastern Pennsylvania. It may end up only as a glaze of ice, but this is sometimes all it takes for drivers to lose control.

A number of major interstates could be target areas, including but not limited to the following: 80, 81, 84, 86, 88, and 90. Truckers will need to be extra careful on routes through Allentown, Altoona, Buffalo, Elmira, Erie, Gettysburg, Harrisburg, Hershey, Ithaca, Oneida, Reading, Scranton, State College, Syracuse, Utica, Williamsport, and Wilkes-Barre. Winter Weather Advisories have been issued by the National Weather Service for these areas.

Also, light snow will develop across western and central New York, along with wind gusts of 35 to 45 mph. Blowing snow could reduce visibility at times, and winds could knock down tree limbs and power lines which may block some important secondary routes like US-62, US-219, NY-16, NY-19, and NY-39.

Much heavier snow will fall across parts of Maine late tonight and Tuesday, with three to five inches in the forecast for the western two-thirds of the state. Drivers could run into at least minor delays on US-1, US-2, US-201, ME-27, and I-95 through Augusta and Portland.

Check chain laws here for the latest updates on winter driving.

Tuesday and Wednesday

Heavy rain and strong winds will batter northern California, with rock slides and power outages possible from the coast to the mountains. Rain totals of one to three inches will cause ponding on some valley roads, with locally higher amounts in the high elevations. Wind gusts of 55 to 65 mph could blow down tree limbs and power lines, so at least scattered electricity failures can’t be ruled out. High Wind Warnings have been issued; and drivers may run into police roadblocks along the I-5 and US-101 corridors because of high water or downed power lines. The most populated areas that could see minor flooding and/or wind damage are Crescent City and Eureka.

The one silver lining is that debris flows aren’t likely. The rain will fall in areas where several wildfires burned last year, but William Iwasko, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Eureka, California, tells FreightWaves that the rain won’t be quite heavy enough to force debris from the burn scar areas down the mountain slopes.

“For this to happen the rainfall rate needs to be around one inch per hour,” says Iwasko. “We expect the rainfall rates with this storm to be a half-inch per hour or less.”

No Flood Watches have been issued yet, but look for updated alerts here.

Thursday and Friday

Thursday looks to be relatively quiet, but heavy rain could return to parts of California on Friday, as well as central Texas. Look for updates from FreightWaves throughout the week!

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Nick Austin, Director of Weather Analytics and Senior Meteorologist

In his 17 years of weather forecasting experience, Nick worked on air at WBBJ-TV and WRCB-TV, including time spent doing weather analysis and field reporting. He received his Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Florida State University as well as a Bachelor of Science in Management from Georgia Institute of Technology. Nick is also a member of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association. As a member of the weather team at WBBJ-TV in Jackson, Tennessee, Nick was nominated for a Mid-South Emmy for live coverage of a major tornado outbreak in 2008. As part of the weather team at WRCB-TV in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Nick shared the Chattanooga Times-Free Press Best of the Best award for “Best Weather Team” for eight consecutive years. Nick earned his National Weather Association Broadcasting Seal in 2005.