Snow late this week could be the first of several disruptive snowstorms to parade through the midwestern and northeastern United States in mid-March.
After the dramatic upswing in temperatures for the first half of this week, a flip in the weather pattern will return the threat of snow starting late this week.
Some communities could go from experiencing highs in the 50s and lower 60s F at the peak of the warmth the next few days to dusting off snow shovels and revving up snowplows.
“The Northeast has had everything from frigid cold this weekend and warm spells early this week but has largely avoided snow recently,” AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams said.
“But late this week, a storm will sneak in from the west, and it could bring snow,” Abrams said.
While it is not likely to strengthen into a major winter storm, the system could still spread a narrow swath of accumulating snow from the lower Great Lakes to part of the Northeast.
In the Northeast, odds currently favor the snow streaking along or in between the I-86/I-84 and I-76 corridors.
This swath of snow may only be 100 miles in width from north to south. A slight shift in the system’s track could mean the difference between disruptions and slick travel to dry weather holding.
Where the snow falls light enough during the day, it could have difficulty sticking to roads due to the stronger March sun.
“Along with the late-week threat, there can be additional threats this weekend and next week,” Abrams said.
The weekend storm may prove to be far more impactful than the late-week system, unleashing a more widespread and significant snow event from the Midwest to the Northeast.
If the storm develops to its full potential, it could unload 6 inches or more of windblown snow. Its exact track will determine whether this snowstorm focuses more on the I-80/I-90 corridors or farther south along I-70.
In either solution, a portion of the Northeast's I-95 corridor should face the disruptive snow.
Heavy rain along the southern fringe of the snow and severe weather in the South may round out the potency of this storm.
On the heels of this system, another one or two snowstorms may follow next week.
“The reason for the upcoming snow threats is that the boundary between very cold air to the north and very mild air to the south will be over the Midwest and Northeast,” Abrams said, “and the storms often track along that boundary.”
The weekend storm will have plenty of frigid air to its north with widespread subfreezing highs expected.