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April snow to coat northeastern US this weekend as temperatures plummet

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A fresh shot of arctic air will usher spring snow into parts of the Great Lakes and Northeast during the first weekend of April.

An Alberta Clipper system diving down from Canada will deliver a round of snow and sharply colder conditions to the northeastern United States.

Snow showers and heavier snow squalls are expected to track across the Great Lakes on Saturday, reaching the interior Northeast by the afternoon and New England overnight.

"The ground is rather warm so the snow will melt on roads Saturday afternoon across the Great Lakes, New York and Pennsylvania," AccuWeather Meteorologist Michael Doll explained.

In the spring, daytime snow must fall at a heavy rate in order to accumulate on roadways due to the high sun angle.

Once the sun goes down, wet roads could quickly become icy as temperatures plummet Saturday night.

"Interior sections [of the Northeast] can expect slippery conditions into Sunday morning," Doll said.

Motorists on portions of interstates 79, 80, 81, 86, 87, 88, 90 and 91 should remain alert for slippery spots and limited visibility late Saturday into Sunday morning. Encountering a snow squall on the roadway can reduce visibility to near zero within seconds, which can lead to numerous accidents.

A widespread 1 to 3 inches of snow will fall across much of the interior Northeast Saturday night. Higher amounts could focus on areas downwind of Lake Erie.

This may be the first measurable snow since early March for places like Buffalo and Syracuse, New York, and Erie, Pennsylvania.

Cold air may dive far enough south for wet snowflakes to mix with rain in cities such as Pittsburgh, New York City and Boston Saturday night into Sunday morning.

Behind this system, people will be double-checking the calendar as it will feel more like February in places such as New York City, Syracuse and Buffalo, New York; Boston; Burlington, Vermont; and Portland, Maine.

Jackets and gloves that may have been put away until next winter will have to be brought out of the closet once again.

High temperatures will fail to leave the 30s F in many northeastern cities on Sunday. Arctic winds, cloud cover, low humidity and other factors will contribute to AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures in the teens and single digits.

"Winds gusting past 50 mph could knock down trees and power lines," Doll said.

The cold, gusty winds in the wake of this clipper system will induce lake-effect snow showers downwind of lakes Erie and Ontario during the day Sunday.

As a second system dives into the Northeast, a more potent blast of snow and cold will arrive early in the new week.

Following an unseasonably warm March, the return of cold and snow may seem unusual to some.

The month of April, however, is typically a battleground between winter and spring. Drastic temperature swings are common as warm spells can quickly be erased by arctic air diving to the south.

"[As is] typical of April, there may be a back-and-forth fight going on in the atmosphere for a time," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.