Snow, Freezing Rain Forecast for US Heartland on Valentine’s Day Weekend

February 12, 2021 Updated: February 12, 2021

NEW YORK—A fresh wave of wintry weather will keep a vast swath of the United States in a deep chill over Valentine’s Day weekend, forecasters said on Friday, an outlook that should encourage pandemic-weary Americans to stay home and snuggle up around a fireplace.

Snow and freezing rain could fall from Seattle to Washington, and from North Dakota to Louisiana, said meteorologist Marc Chenard at the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.

“Lots of winter weather. This is about as busy as you‘ll get for weather across the country,” Chenard said on Friday.

Bitter cold was already gripping the Plains on Friday, just a day after winter weather battered the United States from coast to coast, including freezing rain as far south as Fort Worth, Texas, where six people died in a multi-vehicle pileup.

Temperatures as low as minus 45 degrees Fahrenheit gripped Montana and Minnesota as cities such as Bismarck, North Dakota, shivered at minus 26 Fahrenheit.

“North Dakota is all fun and games until you have to be working in negative 40 degree weather,” @BricFlare wrote in a Twitter post.

The Plains states will see significant snowfalls of 6 or more inches and freezing rain from Sunday into Monday, the weather service’s Chenard said, with the threat of freezing rain as far south as Houston and Louisiana.

In the U.S. Northwest, snow and freezing rain blasting Portland, Oregon, and Seattle on Friday was expected to linger into Saturday.

By Saturday night, freezing rain was expected in areas around the nation’s capital, including Virginia and Maryland, Chenard said.

A wintry mix was expected to pelt the Northeast, where accumulations were expected to be minimal, although any slickness on roadways heightens travel risks.

“It shouldn’t account for too much, but if it’s freezing rain, that can cause issues even if it’s light,” Chenard said.

By Barbara Goldberg