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Groundhog Day storm could affect more than 100 million people

The event is being dubbed the 'Groundhog Day storm.'
The event is being dubbed the 'Groundhog Day storm.'

Jill Colton, staff writer

January 30, 2011 — A colossal winter storm developing over Texas could cause serious problems for more than 100 million people throughout Canada and the United States.

The charge that is sparking the huge storm.
The charge that is sparking the huge storm.

Start bracing yourself for a burgeoning winter storm.

“If it develops to its full potential we're looking at the storm engulfing the interior west to the Atlantic coast in the U.S. and up into Ontario through Quebec and Atlantic Canada, and this vast area equates to a substantial amount of people,” explains Gerald Cheng, a meteorologist here at The Weather Network.

The system is being called the Groundhog Day storm, as it will likely severely impact ground travel, lead to flight cancellations and delays and force school closures all throughout the United States and Canada. “Energy from the heavy snow in Calgary is sinking south to Colorado. This will eventually join forces with the warm air out of the Gulf, which could give the storm even more power.”

“On Monday, we'll see the storm start to develop over Texas and essentially it's the cold air clashing with the warm conditions over the state. By Tuesday, the system will start to take shape, but there will be snow ahead of the low. But the radar suggests the storm's full potential really revs up on Wednesday (Groundhog Day),” notes Cheng.

The usually snow-free City of Toronto will likely be impacted by upwards of 10 cm. Additionally, temperatures will be hovering below seasonal. If the projections are correct, and this much snow gets on the ground, motorists will have a lot to contend with on the roads. It's a good idea to start thinking ahead if you're planning on travelling. A winter survival kit is recommended and topping up windshield wiper fluid is essential for safe driving.

Meteorologists are keeping a close eye on this system.
Meteorologists are keeping a close eye on this system.

“Places to the extreme southwest of the province will be looking at a minimum of 20 cm based on the forecast track.” Meanwhile, Georgian Bay communities will face the same storm system as well as lake-effect snow behind the low.

At this point, what's the likelihood of this massive storm unfolding? “At this point, we're projecting snow totals based on the forecast track. It could change slightly before Wednesday and this would vary the amounts. That being said, the temperature in Canada is forecast to stay below zero, which is ideal conditions for snow,” explains Cheng.

As the storm tracks east, cities like Ottawa and Montreal are directly in the snow path and eventually, the system will creep into Atlantic Canada.

With files from AccuWeather.

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