A major snowstorm may be brewing over the central and eastern U.S. in the days before Christmas with the potential to complicate holiday travel.
The likelihood of a "potential blockbuster system" hitting before Christmas is increasing, AccuWeather forecasters said, although high-confidence forecasts for Christmas Day are still several days away.
The storm is also expected to coincide with an outbreak of Arctic air forecast to drop temperatures to "bone-chilling levels," according to AccuWeather. The National Weather Service forecast below-average temperatures in the days before Christmas throughout most of the country, including the East Coast, South and Midwest, as the Arctic airmass heads toward the Midwest and Ohio.
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BRRRR! Very cold Arctic airmass looks to make its way into the Midwest and Ohio Valley next week. Here is the Climate Prediction Center outlook for days 6 through 10. Get your winter gear ready! #INwx #OHwx #MIwx pic.twitter.com/pyqTvoyBfa
— NWS Northern Indiana (@NWSIWX) December 15, 2022
Snow forecast for days before Christmas
From Dec. 22 to 24, snow may extend from the southern Plains to the Midwest, Northeast, and possibly interior Southeast states, according to AccuWeather. Snow, falling temperatures and strong winds may lead to slippery travel conditions from parts of the lower Mississippi Valley to the Midwest and Northeast states.
"This storm will likely become intense, feeding on the extremely sharp variation between the surging arctic air arriving from the Central states and relatively warm air across the Southeastern U.S.," AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Jon Porter said.
Forecasters will have a clearer picture of the storm's path and where may receive the heaviest snow as Christmas approaches.
Nor'easter to dump heavy snow on Maine
Meanwhile, a nor'easter may dump up to two feet of snow on parts of Maine on Saturday.
Winter weather warnings are in effect through Saturday in parts of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York, which may see dangerous travel conditions and scattered power outages, according to the National Weather Service.
The winter weather is part of a powerful storm system that has spanned a week. Friday, over 5 million people in the Northeast United States faced winter storm warnings while blizzard conditions slammed the upper Midwest.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: White Christmas? Major snowstorm may hit swath of US before holiday