A storm set on bringing heavy ice and snow to the interior South Tuesday and Wednesday will reach the Northeast Wednesday night and Thursday with disruptions to travel and daily activities.
A swath of heavy snow is projected by AccuWeather.com to reach from portions of western and central Virginia, the West Virginia mountains and northern Maryland to southeastern and central Pennsylvania, northern New Jersey, southeastern New York and central New England.
This includes the I-81 corridor in Virginia, Maryland and part of Pennsylvania, as well as I-77 in North Carolina and Virginia, and I-88 in New York.
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According to Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams, "The exact track of the storm after it finishes its run through the South will determine whether or not all snow falls on the I-95 corridor from Washington, D.C., to New York City and Boston."
If the storm were to shift a bit farther to the east, the zone of heavy snow may center over the I-95 cities in the Northeast and coastal areas. If the storm were to hug the coast, a wintry mix or a change to rain would occur in these same areas due to a surge of warm air from the ocean.
"Either way, it appears there will be a period of accumulating snow in the I-95 corridor, which will be enough to make for slippery roads and travel delays," Abrams said.
Even though the storm will move much faster through the Northeast, when compared to the South, it has the potential to bring a foot of snow in a swath north and west of the track of the center of the system. This is most likely in the northern and western suburbs of the I-95 cities in the mid-Atlantic and New England.
The storm could track in such a way that part of the I-95 corridor experiences a change from snow to rain, but temperatures could still remain near freezing. Such a scenario could result in a buildup of ice on top of the snow from the first part of the storm.
Inland of the coast, the storm will garner enough wind to cause blowing and drifting snow at the height of the storm, where the precipitation remains all snow.
In any scenario, it appears the storm is now much less likely to swing well offshore. As a result, the storm is not likely spare coastal areas, I-95 cities and their northern and western suburbs from heavy precipitation.
Details on the primary form of precipitation along the coast will unfold over the next couple of days. Folks from the I-95 cities to the Appalachians should prepare for a major winter storm at this stage.
Prior to the arrival of the southern storm, most of the Northeast will be free of accumulating snow through the day Wednesday.
For folks looking for a break in the cold and wintry pattern, a change to milder, less stormy weather is possible beginning around Feb. 17 or 18. However, cold weather and storms may once again fight back toward the end of the month.