A major storm will track in such a way as to bring mostly rain to much of the Interstate-95 Northeast and cities along the Ohio River, but heavy snow could fall farther north Thursday night into Friday.
The exact track and strength of a storm that will form quickly over the southern Plains Wednesday night will determine exactly where the bands of rain, snow and wintry mix will wind up.
Odds are pointing toward a storm system that will take a path from the southern Plains into the Ohio Valley then into the Northeast.
According to Senior Meteorologist, Joe Lundberg, "It may be there are two centers of low pressure as we often see in this situation which really would complicate things."
Cold high pressure over Ontario may be enough to keep the "heavy" snow out of Chicago, but it could also work to create a narrow band of heavy snow from central and northern Missouri to northern Ohio, extreme southeastern Michigan and southwest Ontario onward across upstate New York through northern interior New England.
Precipitation type and amount may change as the storm moves along and is subject to the exact storm track. This map is an early estimate of what snowfall could transpire.
It is important to note that a shift in storm track, all or in part, by 50 to 100 miles could put the heavy snow band farther north or farther south.
Because of the wide range of possibilities of precipitation type over interior locations, individual AccuWeather.com forecasts, headlines and news stories cannot display all of these possibilities and may wholesale a forecast as a wintry mix.
Forecasts will change as the storm forms and begins to track, allowing more details to be revealed.
The storm will negatively impact travel from part of the Ohio Valley states to the mid-Atlantic and New England spanning Thursday night and Friday. Some school districts in the snow or wintry mix area may be forced to delay or cancel classes due to poor road conditions.
Some interior areas that start the day Friday at or above freezing may finish the day well below freezing and could even change from rain or a wintry mix back to all snow before ending.
In areas that get rain from the storm, there is the risk of urban flooding problems, even in location where there is little or no snow on the ground.
In areas such as New England, that will pile snow or a wintry mix on top of old snow and ice from the winter, more moisture will be added to the snowcover, further winding the spring for a potential break via flooding later.
Two tests of this flooding theory will be run within the next week. One may come to pass in the northern mid-Atlantic and New England if the storm ends up cutting well to the north, bringing rain to most areas. Another threat of flooding rain may come during the first part of next week in New England. Let us hope not.
However, storm systems with potentially disastrous flooding consequences will continue to cruise across the northern half of the nation well into March.
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