Storms to bring mostly rain with patches of ice, snow in northeastern US into Friday
By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
February 06, 2019, 2:50:16 PM EST
As a major thaw continues, expect snow, ice to be limited to the northern part of the northeastern United States, while rain falls farther south into the latter part of this week.
Well-above-average temperatures will continue over the Northeast into Friday as the main storm track will extend from the Upper Midwest to eastern Canada.
Two storms will affect the region from into Friday. Colder air is forecast to return in the wake of the dual storms.
While the thaw will cause streams and rivers to rise with the likelihood of spotty ice jams, not enough rain is forecast to fall with the warmth to trigger widespread major flooding in the pattern through this week like that of January 1996. However, there may be some exceptions where ice jams fail to break up in a timely manner.
First storm to bring areas of ice from New York state to Maine
The first storm is slated to roll through into Wednesday night.
The storm brought icy conditions across the Detroit area into Wednesday morning. Just enough ice to cause slippery travel is forecast across parts of western, central and northern New York State during Wednesday to central and northwestern New England from late Wednesday to Wednesday night.
In a pocket from northeastern New York state to central Maine, enough ice may accrue on trees to cause sporadic power outages during Wednesday night. A few hours of freezing rain can create slippery spots in the Catskills and Berkshires.
Enough rain may fall from Ohio and northern West Virginia to northern and western Pennsylvania to the western and central New York state to trigger urban and small stream flooding through Wednesday evening.
Areas of rain and drizzle are in store from Eastern Pennsylvania to New Jersey, southeastern New York state and southern and coastal New England during Wednesday night.
Ice jam flooding will be a problem in parts of western New York and Ohio and may expand to parts of western Pennsylvania and New England with this storm and the second storm that quickly follows.
"Fog may be more of a widespread travel concern from the Great Lakes area to the upper mid-Atlantic through New England, especially as the next storm rolls in," according to AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams.
Late-week storm to deliver mostly rain, but end warmth
A second and stronger storm is forecast to follow on the heels of the first storm.
After a brief respite most of Thursday, the next storm will roll in later Thursday and last into Friday.
A strong circulation of air around the storm will bring a surge of warmth followed by a rapid return of cold conditions at the end of the week.
As the second storm arrives, there is likely to be little or no cold air left around, so any ice and snow will likely be confined to the northern tier.
However, for travelers from parts of the central Appalachians and the upper mid-Atlantic to northern New England, fog may be a problem for a time spanning Thursday night to Friday morning.
In terms of rainfall, little to no rain may fall over the southern part of the mid-Atlantic, just like the first storm.
A soaking rain seems likely from the central Appalachians and eastern Great Lakes area to New England. This will overlap areas that got drenched into Wednesday night and could aggravate any small stream flooding.
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While the thaw alone has larger rivers running high, major river flooding is not anticipated since not all of the rain is coming at once and the thaw preceded the rain by a few days.
Along the leading edge of colder air, thunderstorms can occur over the central Appalachians to the eastern Great Lakes during late Thursday night to southern New England and the mid-Atlantic coast on Friday.
It is possible that these thunderstorms may become quite heavy and gusty with the risk of localized urban flooding from brief torrential downpours. Sporadic power outages cannot be ruled out as warm air is blown away.
Temperatures will then plunge 20-40 degrees Fahrenheit from Friday afternoon to Friday night. Highs in the 40s, 50s and 60s will be replaced with more seasonable temperatures. By Saturday morning, temperatures will start off the day in the upper single digits, teens, 20s and lower 30s.
Download the free AccuWeather app to see how temperatures will fluctuate in your area over the next week.
Runoff, standing water and slush will freeze by this weekend. Motorists and pedestrians should once again be on the lookout for icy areas.
Winter weather is far from over
The colder pattern is not likely to be as extreme as that of last week but may bring some opportunities for snow in the coming weeks, including in areas along the coast that have received little so far.
There is the potential for a major winter storm that includes snow, ice and rain for at least part of the Northeast toward the middle of next week. Significant travel problems are likely around Feb. 13 to Feb. 14, which is Valentine's Day.
So even though Punxsutawney Phil predicted that spring is just around the corner, there is still some distance to go for lasting spring weather, according to AccuWeather's long-range forecast.
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