Major Northeast Winter Storm

A potent winter storm will impact much of the Northeast over the weekend, which will dump feet of snow and create blizzard-like conditions (see Fig. 1). A strong low moving out of the Tennessee Valley will intensify over the Mid-Atlantic, coupled with the region being on the right entrance region of a potent upper-level jet streak, will generate widespread heavy precipitation for the region.

Fig. 1: Current winter weather products (warning, watch & advisory) in place

The heaviest snow will fall from northern Ohio into New England (this includes Pennsylvania western/central New York). These locations could see more than 2 feet of snow. It is not out of the question that some of the higher elevations in New England could see 3-4 feet (see Fig. 2). Along with the heavy snow accumulations, snow rates of 2-4″ per hour could occur with strong winds gusting between 40 to 60 mph. This will reduce visibilities, which could create blizzard conditions. This will make travel extremely dangerous.

Fig. 2: Forecast snowfall totals

Warmer air will be pulled into the system across coastal areas of New England and New York, down to northern Virginia, which will increase the freezing rain and sleet probabilities. Significant ice may accumulate in these regions (see Fig. 3), which will not only make travel difficult but put stress on other infrastructure and trees. It is possible that power outages will occur due to the weight of the ice.

Fig. 3: Forecast ice totals

It should also be noted, that as this low deepens, coastal flooding may occur. This threat is enhanced during high-tide on Sunday for all coastal areas in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. The precipitation should begin to depart the region late in the day on Sunday (see Fig. 4) but a few lake effect snow bands may establish themselves as the low moves well off to the northeast by late in the day on Sunday.