Massive winter storm moves in as South prepares for heat wave

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(NEW YORK) — A massive winter storm is on its way to wreak havoc on a large swath of the country while the South prepares for a record February heat wave.

Eighteen states from California to Michigan are on alert for heavy snow, strong winds and blizzard conditions.

As the storm moves across the West over the next two days, some areas could see more than 5 feet of snow.

By mid-week, the storm will move into the Heartland, bringing heavy snow to the north and strong thunderstorms to the South. Damaging winds and even a tornado threat are possible on Wednesday.

By Thursday, part of that storm will reach the East Coast, dropping ice and snow in upstate New York and New England.

Heavy ice could accumulate from Chicago to Detroit to upstate New York.

Meanwhile, a record February heat wave is expected from Texas to Washington, D.C.

On Tuesday, temperatures could reach a sweltering 85 degrees in Dallas and 86 degrees in Orlando, Florida.

In New Orleans, this will be one of the warmest Mardi Gras in recorded history. The temperature on Tuesday is forecast to reach 80 degrees. The warmest Mardi Gras ever clocked in at 83.

On Thursday, temperatures are forecast to jump to 84 degrees in New Orleans, 81 in Atlanta and 86 in Raleigh, North Carolina.

D.C. could reach 80 degrees on Thursday. That’s only happened three times in the winter in recorded history.

In Orlando, it could reach 91 degrees on Thursday, which would be the city’s all-time warmest February temperature.

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