Exceptional winter storm to bring travel woes as it wallops central and eastern US

By Allison Chinchar and Elizabeth Wolfe, CNN

(CNN) — A whirlwind of heavy winter weather is in store Monday as a potent storm brings heavy snowfall and blizzard conditions across the central US and threatens flash flooding, heavy rain and possible tornadoes across the Southeast.

The exceptionally powerful storm is packing nearly every winter weather threat imaginable as it trails from the Southwest to the Northeast through midweek, including strong winds, possible tornadoes, serious flooding, snow and blizzard conditions.

Already, the system is leaving travel woes in its wake. As the storm made its way through the Four Corners region on Sunday, treacherous road conditions and weather-related crashes in Arizona triggered the closure of several portions of I-40, and officials warned against non-essential travel.

The center of the storm still hovered over the Four Corners early Monday, where snowfall was ongoing. The system will strengthen as it moves into the Southern Plains throughout the morning, where ferocious blizzard and whiteout conditions are expected in some areas.

Starting Monday afternoon and into Tuesday, the storm’s impacts will also be felt in the Gulf Coast and Southeast, where nearly 70 million people are at risk for severe weather, including tornadoes, severe wind and flooding rain.

Cities like New Orleans, Louisiana, Gulfport, Mississippi, and Mobile, Alabama, will be impacted as the storm blows through Monday afternoon and overnight, likely whipping up a few tornadoes.

The fast-moving system will cover over 1,800 miles in 72 hours, producing notable snowfall across more than half a dozen states.

The winter weather comes on the heels of another powerful storm that dumped more than a foot of snow over the Northeast over the weekend and brought rain, snow, ice and a tornado as it carved a path from the Gulf Coast to Maine. Snowfall totals reached as high as 18 inches in some areas, including Salem, New Hampshire, and Milton, New York.

The series of storms are contributing to a mounting number of flight delays and cancelations, which have also been caused by the mandatory grounding of certain Boeing jets after a section of one of the planes blew off midair on an Alaska Airlines flight last week.

More than 6,000 flights into, out of, or within the United States were delayed and at least 828 US flights were canceled Sunday, according to tracking website FlightAware.

Some airports have reported significant operational disruptions. Near Hartford, Connecticut, Bradley International Airport, announced 20% of its flights had been canceled Sunday as snow removal operations were underway.

Here’s what to expect in the coming days.

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