Travel-disrupting rain and a significant snowstorm are taking aim at the East Coast for this weekend prior to a blast of arctic cold.
Between the two days of the weekend, Saturday will definitely be the better day for travelers and residents with plans across the East Coast.
Disruptive rain and snow is then on the horizon for Sunday after a storm first spreads soaking rain across the Deep South, including New Orleans and Mobile, on Saturday.
Some rain will reach Atlanta Saturday afternoon before the drenching rain moves northward to the Carolinas, Virginia and central Appalachians at night.
Locally severe thunderstorms will target northern Florida, southern Georgia and far southern South Carolina.
On Sunday, the rain will focus on the corridor from Charlotte, N.C., to Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia and New York City. A soaking awaits Boston and Providence, R.I., late Sunday afternoon and evening.
The rain itself threatens to slow ground travel and lead to flight delays and cancelations. Flash flooding issues may ensue, especially where the pre-Christmas storm left the ground saturated and streams and creeks running high.
"Sunday afternoon through night, there will be widespread one-inch rain totals with amounts up to 1.50 inches along the I-95 corridor of the mid-Atlantic and southern New England," stated AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Dave Dombek.
While a rebound in temperatures preceding the storm on Saturday will prevent the rain from starting as or ending as snow along the I-95 corridor northward to Providence, R.I., the same cannot be said for all of the Northeast.
Enough cold air will be produced for the rain to either mix with, change to or totally fall as snow from the central Appalachians to central and northern New England.
Any accumulating wet snow across northern West Virginia and Pennsylvania will mainly be confined to the higher elevations.
"Unlike some recent storms where cold air is coming in, the air ahead of this storm will be stale with no fresh cold. That means that the weekend storm will instead have to manufacture cold air itself in order for snow to fall, and we are looking for that to happen on Sunday," continued Dombek.
AccuWeather.com will release details of how much snow is expected to fall in the upcoming day or two, but there will be substantial amounts from the Catskill Mountains of New York to Maine, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
Portland and Bangor, Maine, lie within this zone, as well as Lebanon, N.H., and the far northern and western suburbs of Boston. While snowflakes may eventually mix in, the storm will be a mainly rain event for Boston.
Where the snowstorm unfolds across New England, a nightmare awaits travelers as roads will quickly become snow-packed and treacherous. Heavy-falling snow will dramatically reduce visibility for motorists.
The weight of the snow could damage more trees and power lines that were left weakened by the pre-Christmas ice storm across northern New England.
The weekend storm will depart the United States by Monday, opening the door for a fresh blast of arctic cold to arrive and end 2013 on a frigid note across the Northeast.