(NEW YORK) — Parts of the West have been hit by a deadly winter storm that has been blamed for at least six deaths, and a nor’easter could threaten the East in the next several days.
A cold winter blast has pummeled the Great Plains. In the last 24 hours, 24 inches of snow was reported in New Mexico with winds gusting over 70 mph in the mountains. All major highways in New Mexico were shut down, but not before a car crash killed four and injured two others.
More than 100 car rescues were reported from the pan handle of Texas to New Mexico.
Kansas and Oklahoma have up to a foot of snow, as does Colorado, where 10-foot snow drifts are being reported. Parts of southwest Kansas received half of their annual snow fall — 5-10 inches of snow — with gusty winds blowing the snow into 1-3 foot drifts.
As it moves east now, the storm is weakening and becoming mostly a rain maker, with some thunderstorms along the Gulf Coast. Some storms could produce heavy rain with minor flooding, gusty winds and hail.
Wednesday morning, the storm will reach the East Coast in the form of rain from Atlanta to Boston. Airport delays are possible. Thursday will be dry, but another storm system will bring rain to the major cities along the East Coast on Friday with temperatures near 50 degrees. Saturday, a third storm could bring some snow to parts of the Northeast. Here are three possible scenarios for the Christmas weekend:
Scenario #1: Mostly snow just outside of major cities with rain changing to snow from D.C. to Boston.
Scenario #2: All rain along the coast with snow inland in places like Poconos, Catskills and mountains of New England.
Scenario #3: The storm will move south and miss the Northeast region altogether.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio
Wayne Drash and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN
Jennifer Graham, Deseret News
Lisa Respers France, CNN