A major winter storm will take shape and significantly impact the Northeast Tuesday through Thursday.
This storm will be complete with substantial interior snow, coastal heavy rain and flooding, along with an icy mix in between.
The winter storm is set to take shape early Tuesday morning along the mid-Atlantic coast before crawling northward through Wednesday. Impacts may then linger into Thursday.
Heavy Interior Snow
Heavy snow will develop and spread northward from northeastern Pennsylvania to northern New England Tuesday through Wednesday.
The heaviest snow will target the Pocono, Catskill, Adirondack, Green, White and Longfellow Mountains, where between 6 to 12 inches is expected. Additional snow Wednesday night through Thursday could push these amounts past a foot.
While the snow will be welcome by those with skiing interests, travel will become extremely treacherous and AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Ben Noll stated that the "wet-clinging nature of the snow could lead to downed trees and power outages."
Interstates that could quickly become snow-covered and treacherous for motorists include stretches of 87, 88, 90, 91, and 93 in upstate New York and northern New England. I-95 in Maine is also at risk.
Outside of the mountains, the rate of the snow in the Northeast will determine travel troubles.
"Marginal temperatures could cause some of the snow to melt as it falls on some of the roads," stated AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.
"The snow would have to fall at a heavy rate to accumulate on paved surfaces outside of the mountains."
Aside from any heavier burst of snow, the stretches of interstates 68, 70, 79, 80, 86 and 90 in the central Appalachians and toward the eastern Great Lakes will be mainly wet Tuesday through Wednesday.
Near the transition zone from snow to rain in the Northeast, slight icing could occur and add to the hazards for motorists.
Downpours, Flood Threat for I-95
The storm will be a mainly rain event for the I-95 corridor from Boston southward to Baltimore and Washington, D.C., but that does not mean that residents and travelers will escape impacts.
The heavy rain threatens to trigger flooding in low-lying and poor drainage areas.
Airline passengers should prepare for flight delays and cancellations, while the dangers of reduced visibility and hydroplaning will increase for motorists. Such travel disruptions will spread from Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York City during the day on Tuesday to Boston for the evening commute.
The danger of coastal flooding will increase Tuesday and Wednesday along the eastern New England coast as howling northeasterly winds whip the beaches. The winds here could be strong enough to cause localized damage and power outages.
Scenarios for Thursday
The impacts of the winter storm for Thursday will depend on whether the storm weakens and crawls northward or if a second area of low pressure is able to form and back into the Northeast.
In both cases, some snow and rain will spread to the northern St. Lawrence Valley and the Canadian Maritimes Wednesday night through Thursday.
The solution of a second low tracking into the Northeast would bring more snow to northern New England, likely pushing totals in excess of a foot.
Bands of nuisance snow may also wrap back into parts of the mid-Atlantic and central Appalachians in this scenario. Again, most of the accumulations would be on grassy surfaces.
"The one thing for Thursday is that there will be a tremendous amount of atmospheric energy, which could lead to bursts of snow, squalls and brief whiteouts over the mid-Atlantic and central Appalachians," Noll added.
"I would not be surprised if a snow squall, in this scenario, reaches the I-95 corridor, such as Washington, D.C."
The scenario of the storm weakening would still lead to some bursts of snow across the central Appalachians and downwind of the eastern Great Lakes with fewer streaking east of the mountains in the mid-Atlantic.