Following periods of mild weather into next week, a storm and a dose of cold air will roll into the northeastern United States prior to the start of 2017.
A storm system will bring a bout of rain to many areas on Thursday. The storm may begin and end as snow or a wintry mix in part of the region. Enough rain can fall to slow travel in the Interstate 81 and Interstate 95 corridors.
"For those on the road Thursday afternoon and evening, there is the potential for slippery conditions in parts of the central and northern Appalachians and the Great Lake Region," AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok said.
"Rain may change to snow in part of this area," Pastelok said.
Regardless of any steady snow, bands of lake-effect snow will develop downwind of the Great Lakes as the cold air pours in.
The lake-effect snow bands can be heavy enough to produce dangerous driving conditions. The worst conditions is likely to be within a hundred miles of the Great Lakes in the I-80, I-81 and I-90 corridors.
The magnitude of the cold air will not be as extreme as that of earlier in December, Pastelok said.
Temperatures are projected to average about 10 degrees Fahrenheit higher than compared to the middle of December.
"Following highs in the 30s, 40s and 50s just after Christmas, highs in the 20s and 30s with wind to the start of the New Year will pack a sting," AccuWeather Meteorologist Mike Doll said.
The wind accompanying the cold air will result in AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures ranging from 5 to 20 degrees lower than the actual temperature.
Fortunately, for revelers in Times Square and other locations in the the region, the main thrust of the cold air and wind will occur prior to New Year's Eve celebrations.
In Times Square during the late-evening hours on Saturday, dry weather is in the offing. Actual temperatures are likely to be in the lower 30s with RealFeel Temperatures in the 20s.
Another storm is projected to push eastward from the Midwest by early next week. The speed and intensity of this storm will determine whether or not a wintry mix moves into the Northeast or if a few flurries sweep through by New Year's Day.
Midday temperatures on New Year's Day are forecast to generally be in the 30s in Philadelphia for the Mummers Parade, as well as most areas along the I-95 corridor from Washington, D.C., to New York City and Boston.
"Episodes of mild and cold air will continue over the eastern part of the nation during the first and second weeks of January," Pastelok said.