Storm packing heavy ice, snow bears down on large swath of U.S.

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A view of buildings and a street covered in snow in Nantucket, Massachusetts, U.S. January 29, 2022 in this picture obtained from social media. Picture taken January 29, 2022. Chad Pierre Photography/via REUTERS

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Feb 1 (Reuters) - A major winter storm is expected to wallop much of the central United States and stretch to parts of the Northeast this week, bringing heaving snow, freezing rain, and ice, the National Weather Service (NWS) said.

The system, which is set to begin Tuesday night and last through Thursday, could dump 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 cm) of snow over portions of the southern Rockies and central Plains, with record snowfall possible in the Midwest as well.

"While typical in terms of the time of year that you might expect something like this, potentially atypical in terms of some of the snowfall amounts we may see in parts of the Midwest," said Greg Carbin, the forecast operations branch chief for the NWS Weather Prediction Center.

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Snow could blanket Detroit in amounts not seen in years, Carbin added, while icy roads and bridges threatened to make travel "nearly impossible." Power outages are also possible.

A "corridor of heavy ice accumulation" will stretch from the Ohio River Valley down to Texas, according to the forecast.

Winter weather advisories, storm watches and warnings are in effect in many of the areas in the storm's path.

In Texas, where a deadly deep freeze last year crippled the state's electric grid, leaving millions without power in freezing temperatures, Governor Greg Abbott sought to reassure residents on Tuesday, saying the grid was prepared.

"We're all mindful of what happened last February in Texas," said Carbin, the NWS meteorologist. "The event coming up is going to introduce a shot of cold air and it's a mixed winter precipitation at this time, it looks nothing like what we saw last February in terms of both intensity and duration."

Extremely cold air caused by Arctic high pressure that is forecast to descend over the Plains on Wednesday will send temperatures plummeting 10 to 15 degrees below average in some areas, the NWS added.

The storm threat comes days after fierce winter weather engulfed the northeastern part of the United States, dropping more than 2 feet (60 cm) of snow on some areas and packing high winds, prompting thousands of flight cancellations and curtailing access to the roads in some states. read more

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Reporting by Maria Caspani in New York; additional reporting by Khaniska Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Matthew Lewis and Rosalba O'Brien

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