More than 90 million Americans are bracing for a wave of severe weather as forecasts feature everything from blinding blizzards to violent thunderstorms and coast-to-coast tornado warnings.
Heavy snow and strong winds will move across the southwestern states, bringing gusts of 45 mph and up to eight inches of snow, before moving north into the Rockies and into the Pacific Northwest and upper Midwest on Friday.
They follow the historic blizzards that hit California this week, burying people in more than six feet of snow and prompting Governor Gavin Newsom to declare a state of emergency to help with recovery.
And as the west freezes, an unseasonably warm patch of air is expected to settle over the southern plains and move eastward, bringing with it a cell of severe storms that could bring baseball-sized hail, and conditions ripe for dangerous tornadoes.
In the Northeast, New York is expected to see snow turn into an icy wintry mix, and parts of New England could be buried under up to 12 inches of snow.
Several Angelenos were blown away by the rare sighting and posted photos of snow hitting near the famous Hollywood sign
A man blows snow outside his home in Running Springs, California on March 1
The Golden State turned white this week after rarely-seen blizzards blanketed parts of the state in snow, with flakes even falling over Disneyland and covering the hills of the Hollywood sign.
Governor Newsom on Wednesday deployed the National Guard to help residents, especially in San Bernardino County, where some have been trapped in their homes for days.
Wind, freeze and winter storm warnings were issued by the National Weather Service throughout the sunny state, in effect until Thursday, when temperatures dipped below freezing to 26 degrees Fahrenheit in certain areas.
According to the governor’s office, the National Guard is working with local law enforcement to open shelters for residents and deliver food and water to those trapped.
Mountain ranges in Southern California were hit by several feet of snow and residents pleaded with the governor for help clearing the roads as food and water supplies ran out.
Snow in California from this week’s storm. The governor declared a state of emergency
Several people across the state appeared to be trapped by the storm, including workers at the Sugar Bowl Resort in Norden, California – east of Sacramento
“Roofs are collapsing everywhere, people need help and rescue. All stores are running out of food and water. The gas stations are barely out of gas,” Lake Arrowhead resident Miyah Nelson told KTLA.
“We need to clear our roads so people can leave their homes. They’re all trapped.’
The counties named in the emergency declaration are Amador, Kern, Los Angeles, Madera, Mariposa, Mono, Nevada, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Sierra, Sonoma and Tulare.
Some areas not included in the statement were not ordered to evacuate, including residents of Olympic Valley, east of Sacramento.
An avalanche hit an apartment building in the area around 7 p.m. Tuesday, according to the Sierra Sun, and numerous photos from across the state showed people snowbound with white walls climbing above doors and up to second-story windows.
Snow on the mountains and plants overlooking Phoenix Arizona on March 2
Severe thunderstorms are moving across the south
The storm that ravaged California began moving west on Wednesday and is expected to turn into severe thunderstorms across the southern plains on Thursday before moving further east and south.
Storms will begin to develop over eastern Texas, southern Arkansas and northern Louisiana, with winds of up to 80 miles per hour and massive hail.
Conditions will be ripe for tornadoes, and forecasts predict those that form could be EF-2 strength and bring winds of 111 miles per hour, according to CNN.
Such storms have the power to blow roofs off buildings, demolish mobile homes and pull trees from the ground.
Earlier this week, parts of the region were hit by similar storms that tossed cars and destroyed homes.
As the storm moves east, it will bring violent weather to Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, northern Florida, and North and South Carolina.
National Weather Service meteorologists warned that Thursday’s storms “will not be just another ‘ordinary’ severe weather threat,” and advised people in affected regions to remain alert.
The storms will be preceded by record-breaking winter warmth in some areas, with temperatures reaching 88 degrees Fahrenheit in San Antonio, Houston and Baton Rouge.
By Friday, rain from the storm poses a risk of dangerous flooding in parts of Missouri, Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas.
Flood watches have been set for those regions through Friday, with up to six inches of rain on Thursday night.
A overturned car from a tornado that struck Oklahoma on Feb. 27. Similar weather is expected to sweep the region on Thursday
A home destroyed by tornadoes in Oklahoma this week. More storms are expected in the region
New York and New England
Although New York and New England will see unusually warm weather on Thursday, temperatures will drop quickly overnight and drizzle will turn to snow by evening on Friday.
In New York City, that snow will turn to rain, and in other parts of the state, snowmelt from this week’s storms could melt and cause flash flooding.
In New Jersey, into the Hudson Valley and through Connecticut, that snow could turn into heavy sleet and freezing rain, according to NBC 4, causing chaos on roads and highways overnight.
The Hudson Valley could see up to two inches of snow fall, parts of Connecticut could see up to eight inches of snow. New York City and Long Island will see less than an inch of accumulation.
By Sunday, the weather will have cleared from the tri-state area and sunshine and temperatures of around 40 degrees will make their appearance.
In Massachusetts and New England, snow and wind will move in Friday evening before turning into a heavy wintry mix Saturday morning.
Up to a foot of accumulation could be seen in inland Massachusetts.
A man shovels snow from the sidewalk in front of a church in Providence, Rhode Island
A man walks a dog in New York City after snowfall this week
A woman walking her dog in Boston after the city filled with snow this week