A powerful winter storm that coated the deserts of the southwest in snow and ice is expected to do the same to much of the United States interior as it moves east.
The winter storm, which the Weather Channel has dubbed Winter Storm Q, brought 12-inch snowfalls and 60-mile-per-hour winds to parts of Arizona and New Mexico, according to the National Weather Service. As the storm moves eastward, it is forecast to bury a huge swath of the United States, from Colorado to the Mississippi River, in snow and ice.
"Snow, sleet, and freezing rain are spreading across a large area of the central and southern plains and into the lower Mississippi River Valley," the NWS warns.
The Service predicts several inches of snow to fall in Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas by the end of the day Thursday.
The heavy snow and high winds are expected to cause power outages and disrupt travel across the plains for the rest of the work week. By the weekend, Winter Storm Q is expected to bring its severe winter conditions to West Virginia, Ohio, and parts of western North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland, according to the Weather Channel.
The winter weather was most unexpected in the southwest. In Arizona the storm froze the Match Play Championship, a PGA Tour event, in place. Golfers, including current No. 1 ranked Rory McIlroy, were forced to wait out the winter weather.
Snow coming down heavy again! More like Alaska than Arizona!! twitter.com/McIlroyRory/st…— Rory Mcilroy (@McIlroyRory) February 20, 2013
Rain, wind, and sometimes fog have been known to disrupt PGA Tour events in the past, but it's not often that white stuff comes into play. That's for good reason, as a tweet from PGA player Ian Poulter shows.
Play is now officially suspended for the day. Resume tomorrow. twitter.com/IanJamesPoulte…— Ian Poulter (@IanJamesPoulter) February 20, 2013
Poulter managed to play 12 holes Wednesday despite the bizarre conditions, and even built a small lead over his opponent. But many golfers never made it on the course. Neither McIlroy nor world No. 2 Tiger Woods started their matches Wednesday, when temperatures began in the 40s and quickly plummeted as the sky darkened. By 1 p.m., play was delayed and later cancelled as high winds whipped through the course and snow accumulated.
Play was delayed again Thursday morning, and is scheduled to restart at 12:30 p.m. ET.