Massive Winter Storm Helena Marches Across Country; Nine Inches of Snow Expected in Raleigh-Durham; NFL Wildcard Forecast

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A substantial winter blast is moving across much of the nation packing impressive snow totals, socking the eastern seaboard with a deep freeze, blanketing the South with sheets of ice and sending The Carolina's into a State of Emergency.

Winter Storm Helena, will impact residents with blizzard conditions stretching from Boston, where a foot or more of snow may not be as major a concern, to New York and further south through Virginia and inland to the Raleigh-Durham area, where the significant snow accumulation expected has already caused officials to issue a state-wide State of Emergency in all 100 counties of North Carolina. Residents are strongly encouraged to shelter in place, stay indoors if possible.

Helena, packing a double whammy, with warmer Gulf moisture rising from the south colliding with cold winter arctic air, leads with a warm rain that quickly changes over to an icy, slushy mix and finally all ice, with the changeover slamming North Carolina with unprecedented snow totals, up to nine inches in the Raleigh Durham area, and sheets of ice as far south as Cape Fear, Wilmington and the Carolina Beach areas.

If residents of these effected areas have no choice and must travel, official warn of blowing and drifting snow, with wind speeds up to 35 miles an hour, visibility will be extremely difficult and for the deep south travelers can expect ice, sheets of ice across North Carolina up to 1 inch in some places.

Winter Storm Helena stretches from Jackson, Mississippi on a diagonal with ice through Atlanta and curves up the eastern seaboard showing some elements of a winter storm watch from Mississippi all the way to Boston, Massachusetts.

Residents of New York to New Jersey will suffer through blustery cold conditions and a deep freeze over the weekend on Saturday and by Sunday the sun will arrive and temperatures will warm up to seasonal.

Weather modules do suggest with a slight variation indicating the band of heavy snow accumulation could widen with higher than expected snow totals possible.

By Sunday morning Winter Storm Helena will be history and out to sea leaving just in time for the National Football League 2016 Wildcard Weekend.

The most impacted weather game should be the New York Giants at the Green Bay Packers. Lambeau field will be filled cheese heads, tailgate parties and fans are encouraged to dress prepared for the deep chill as temperatures will feel like 1 degree with the wind chill. By the 4th quarter the temperature will still hover at 12F and it will feel like 0 degrees.

Miami Dolphins are taking on the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Fans can expect at kickoff a temperature of 17 degrees with a 10MPH wind will feel like 4degrees. Miami fans may feel welcome as the weather warms up in the next three quarters to a balmy 22 degrees by the fourth quarter, with snow flurries expected throughout the game. Wind chills bring the temperature to 11 degrees. Dress warm.

Detroit Lions are playing the Seattle Seahawks at the Century Link Field in Seattle. Mixed precipitation is expected and increases throughout the game.  Temperature at kickoff should be just above freezing at 36 degrees and fall a single degree each quarter. Wind chill make it feels like 33 degrees at kickoff, falling one degree each quarter. Dress warmly prepared for the chilly, cold, damp Seattle rain and drizzle.

Oakland Raiders take on the Houston Texans at Houston. With a kickoff forecast of Sunny and 44 degrees, wind chill at 38, a slight north wind, both teams should be ready to rock and roll. T=Weather conditions in at NRG Stadium in Houston remain consistent throughout all four quarters.  Dress in layers.

This is a developing story.

Images courtesy of The Weather Channel.

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