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Weekend snow, ice storm to slick roads in northeastern US

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A storm with snow and ice on the front end will create hazardous travel and may lead to substantial airline disruptions in the northeastern United States.

The same storm set to produce a 1,200-mile swath of snow and ice over the Central states will extend its reach into the East this weekend.

Freezing rain will fall as far south as western North Carolina, and snow will extend as far to the east as Delaware, New Jersey, New York and New England.

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Wintry precipitation will spread over the Appalachians, piedmont and eastern Great Lakes regions during Friday night.

Temperatures will be low enough to allow rain to freeze on colder surfaces from the Interstate 77 corridor of North Carolina to the I-81 corridor of Virginia late Friday night into Saturday.

Farther north, a mixture of freezing rain, sleet and snow will fall during the first part of the storm from eastern West Virginia, northern Virginia, northern Maryland and Delaware.

Areas from Pennsylvania to New Jersey and New York can expect mostly snow to spread over the area from west to east during late Friday night. The snow will reach much of New England by Saturday morning.

During much of Saturday, motorists will face slow and slippery travel from the northern mid-Atlantic states through New England. Road conditions will range from snow-covered to slushy or wet.

"The snow can come down hard at first, which could quickly cover roads, highways and sidewalks in the major cities from the I-99 and I-81 corridors to the I-95 cities of Philadelphia, New York City and Boston with this storm," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Henry Margusity.

"Enough snow to shovel and plow can fall in these areas prior to any change to ice and rain later Saturday and Saturday night," Margusity said.

The snow will be dry and powdery at first but will become heavy, wet and eventually slushy as the storm progresses.

Substantial airline delays are likely with the potential for a significant number of flight cancellations. Maintenance personnel will have to deice aircraft and clean snow from runways. Airline crews and aircraft may be displaced because of the vast expanse of the storm from the Rockies to the Midwest and Northeast.

Warmer air will flow in quickly later Saturday and Saturday night in coastal and southern areas, as well as locations west of the Appalachians. However, a wedge of chilly air may remain in the central and northern Appalachians, causing an extended period of ice. These areas will be at greatest risk for trees and power lines coming down.

Travel conditions will improve from south to north Saturday night into Sunday morning. However, some problems will remain. Locally gusty winds are possible in coastal areas. Areas of fog are possible as well.

"Areas along the I-95 corridor that had snow and/or ice will become a sloppy mess with slush and perhaps street flooding," according to AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams.

By Sunday morning, most areas in the Northeast will have warmed up enough for rain to fall. However, another wave of arctic air will begin to push across the Appalachians.

Cold air could catch up with the rain fast enough to bring a change to sleet and snow in the Appalachians during Sunday.

Regardless of a change to wintry weather on the back end, untreated areas of slush and standing water will freeze by Sunday evening over the mountains and along the Atlantic coast Sunday night.