Weekend storm to unleash snow, ice from North Carolina to Virginia; Will it strengthen along East Coast?

By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
January 10, 2019, 12:10:42 PM EST

For the latest information on this storm, including a forecast snowfall map refer to this link.

People from North Carolina to Virginia can expect a long-duration storm to bring a substantial wintry mix this weekend, while areas farther north in the mid-Atlantic and New England may be on the northern edge of the winter storm.

AccuWeather meteorologists are honing in on the impacts of the storm. Up to several inches of snow is forecast to fall from Missouri to Ohio during the first part of the weekend.

As the storm heads eastward, snow will spread into the southern Appalachians Saturday midday and toward the mid-Atlantic coast Saturday afternoon and night. Slow, slippery and dangerous travel conditions are expected to unfold in these areas.

Static US Weekend

Winter storm to take aim on part of South

"No matter how strong the storm becomes or exactly where it tracks, it looks like a wedge of cold air will get stuck in parts of the Carolinas and Virginia and allow the storm to bring at least some snow and ice," according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Maggie Samuhel.

This storm is not likely to bring the amount of snow that the storm from Dec. 9 did in the South, when 1-2 feet of snow piled up in some locations.

However, several inches to a foot of snow is likely to fall from northwestern North Carolina to western and central Virginia and southern and eastern West Virginia. This means that travel along much of Interstate 81, I-64 and I-77 in this zone may be difficult due to snow covered roads.

Static Saturday Night Snow Ice 3 pm

People should expect enough snow to shovel and plow in Roanoke, Harrisonburg and Winchester, Virginia; Charleston, West Virginia; and Hickory, North Carolina, with this storm.

It is possible that moderate to heavy snow extends to near I-64 in eastern Virginia, especially if a second burst of snow occurs as the coastal storm takes hold.

As the storm from the Midwest hands off to the new storm on the coast, there may somewhat of a lull in the snow and ice for a time Saturday night across Virginia and Maryland.

An icy mix is forecast from the northeastern corner of Georgia and southeastern Tennessee to upstate South Carolina, central North Carolina, southeastern Virginia and southeastern Maryland.

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A slippery wintry mix is in store for Raleigh, North Carolina, and Richmond, Virginia. The same is likely in the Charlotte, North Carolina, area, especially north and west of the city.

Rain is expected to fall from the North Carolina coast to the rest of northern Georgia on south.

Atlanta can expect a cold rain from the storm. However, a low cloud ceiling combined with the rain can lead to airline delays at this major airport from Saturday afternoon to Sunday.

Major snowstorm unlikely, but some snow is forecast for swath from Philadelphia to New York City

As the storm from the Midwest moves across the Appalachians, it is expected to weaken. However, a secondary storm is forecast to develop near the North Carolina coast and take over as the main storm on Sunday.

Static Sunday Snow, Ice East 3 pm

If the storm strengthens dramatically along the coast and turns northward, it would heavy snow spread into areas from southeastern Pennsylvania and central New Jersey to Massachusetts.

However, the concern for this outcome appears less likely at this time, according to Anderson.

This does not mean that absolutely no snow will fall along the upper mid-Atlantic and southern New England coasts. There is still the potential for accumulating snow and slippery conditions in these areas.

Warm waters of the Atlantic tend to steer storms near the coast to the north. In this case, winds at the jet stream level will try to force the storm to the east and out to sea.

It appears the air will be cold enough for snow in the I-95 corridor from northern Virginia to Massachusetts. However, dry air may also be a factor and may work against heavy snow from spreading very far north into the Northeast.

Washington, D.C., has had only 1.4 inches of snow so far this season, all of which fell on Nov. 15. The storm this weekend could easily surpass the small amount. At this point, interests around Washington, D.C., should expect slippery travel and delays with the likelihood of enough snow to shovel and plow, but not a giant snowstorm that brings travel to a halt.

The same storm on Nov. 15 brought 3.6 inches of snow to Philadelphia and 6.4 inches of snow to New York City. The upcoming weekend storm will likely not dump this amount of snowfall on either city. Snow is not expected to reach Boston at this time.

"The best chance of some snow from the northern tier of Pennsylvania to New York City and southeastern Massachusetts may be during Saturday night as dry air may push southward on Sunday," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Dombek.

AccuWeather meteorologists will continue to closely monitor the storm for changes in strength and the potential for heavier snow farther north.

Download the free AccuWeather app to see the latest forecast for your area.

Listen to Everything Under the Sun’s host Regina Miller as she discussed the Blizzard of 1996 with two AccuWeather Expert Meteorologists, Dave Dombek and Paul Pastelok who were on hand during that paralyzing storm. Learn how forecasts were prepared back then and how technology has changed over the years, allowing for more accurate forecasts and dissemination of our weather forecasts and warnings.

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