Fox News Weather Center

Lake-effect snow to produce localized whiteouts near the Great Lakes prior to New Year's Eve

Topic driven playlist

Locally dangerous New Year's Eve travel conditions will riddle the Great Lakes region in the wake of the northern New England blizzard to end the week.

"Areas from the Upper Midwest to the central Appalachians that escape the New England blizzard will have to deal with their own localized blizzard as the lake-effect snow machine ignites once again," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski.

Motorists venturing along Interstate 90 from northeastern Ohio to central New York, I-80 in northwestern Pennsylvania, I-81 in upstate New York and I-196 in western Michigan should be prepared for rapidly changing weather conditions.

Static L-E Impacts

This is the type of setup that has contributed to multiple pile-up vehicle accidents.

In a matter of minutes and less than a mile, conditions can change from dry and clear to snow-covered roads and poor visibility. Plunging temperatures in some of the squalls can cause roads to become icy as well.

Most locations immediately downwind of the lakes will receive a coating to a couple of inches of snow.

However, in the heaviest bands of lake effect, the snow can accumulate at the rate of 1 to 2 inches per hour. Where the bands of snow persist, a foot or more can accumulate in some communities in northwestern Pennsylvania, western and central New York and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

"Winds will be strong enough to carry ground-whitening snow showers well away from the Great Lakes," Pydynowski said.

Into Friday, accumulating snow showers can extend as far south as the Smoky Mountains in North Carolina and Tennessee.

"A snow shower could even reach the I-95 corridor on Friday, including New York City and Philadelphia," Pydynowski said.

"While accumulating snow is unlikely, the visibility could briefly drop to low levels on area highways and blind motorists well east of the Appalachians," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Dombek.

Lake-effect snow and flurries will diminish Friday night ahead of a weak storm system expected to sweep through during New Year's Eve.