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Winter storm to intensify as it heads into northeast

NASHVILLE, Tenn (Reuters) - A storm dusting parts of the Tennessee Valley with light snow on Wednesday was expected to intensify as it moved into the northeast overnight, creating potentially heavy accumulation and commuter woes in the higher elevations.

The National Weather Service issued winter weather warnings and advisories from western North Carolina to Maine, saying the rain falling in much of the region would turn into snow as the storm moves east.

By midday, snow was already falling in parts of Pennsylvania and West Virginia, according to Accuweather.com.

Jared Guyer, a meteorologist at the NOAA-National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center, said the heaviest snowfall would come in northern New England with "some spots getting upwards of 6 to 12 inches of snow by the time all is said and done."

Guyer said most of the snow would fall west of the major population centers and be concentrated in the higher elevations, including the central and northern Appalachians and the mountains of New England.

In Tennessee on Wednesday, some school systems closed early as the storm left as much as four inches of snow in the western and southern parts of the state and forecasters warned freezing fog could be part of the weather mix overnight.

"Late tonight and early tomorrow morning, with temperatures down into the low 20s, the winds are going to be calm and we'll have clear skies, and there could be some freezing fog," said Bobby Boyd, a meteorologist with the NWS in Nashville.

Similar cautions about freezing fog, which was blamed for a 50-vehicle pileup that claimed two lives last week near Nashville, were issued for bridges and overpasses around the state.

The Weather Service reported almost two inches of snow in Memphis and a slushy mix in Nashville, and predicted three inches would accumulate in other parts of east Tennessee before the storm passes through.

(Reporting by Tim Ghianni and James Kelleher; Editing by Jerry Norton)

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