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As Old Man Winter continues to show more teeth in the coming days, a storm could pack a heavy punch of snow and wind in the northeastern United States early next week.
"There is the potential for a major snowstorm, and possible nor'easter, especially from New York City to New England spanning Tuesday and Tuesday night," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Henry Margusity.
Unlike most of this winter, the storm will have access to plenty of cold air as far south as the coastal mid-Atlantic region. The storm will follow some of the coldest weather of the winter in the Northeast this weekend.
A storm originating from the central Pacific Ocean will spread the first patches of snow over the northern Plains on Sunday and then the Midwest on Monday.
People should be prepared for travel delays developing over the north-central United States as the weekend draws to a close and the new week begins.
Chicago is likely to receive its first inch of snow and widespread slippery travel since the middle of December from late Sunday night into Monday. Minneapolis could also pick up several inches of snow from the storm.
Tuesday, the storm from the Midwest is projected to merge with another storm off the mid-Atlantic coast, where strengthening is likely.
AccuWeather Winter Weather Center
Winter’s revenge: Northeastern US snowstorm yields dangerous travel along I-80, I-95 corridors
Waves of cold air to plunge across midwestern, eastern US this week
How quickly the storm strengthens and how close to the coast it tracks will determine the western extent of the snow as well as the strength of the wind and severity of coastal flooding.
Disruptions to travel and daily activities may develop from the mid-Atlantic during Monday night and Tuesday to New England from Tuesday to Tuesday night.
If the storm strengthens slowly near the Atlantic coast, then only a light amount of snow and mere blustery conditions may develop in the mid-Atlantic on Tuesday.
If the storm strengthens rapidly, which is the most likely scenario at this point, a far-reaching major nor'easter could unfold with blizzard conditions in some locations.
"With a rapidly-strengthening storm that track just off the coast, a widespread snowfall of 6 inches is likely with localized amounts over 12 inches in the Northeast," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson.
"Either way, it looks like New England stands an excellent chance of a major storm with wind and snow," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Bernie Rayno.
The storm could bring the greatest snowfall of the season to the upper part of the mid-Atlantic, since there have not been giant snowstorms in that area this year.
The biggest storm in New York City was on Feb. 9, when 9.4 inches of snow fell in Central Park.
Parts of New England have been hit by major snowstorms that have delivered from 1 to 2 feet in some locations during February.
In order for heavy snow to extend as far south as eastern Virginia and the Washington, D.C., area, the storm would have to track farther to the south and strengthen quickly along the mid-Atlantic coast. The biggest snowfall in Washington, D.C., this winter was a mere 1 inch that fell on Jan. 30.
For heavy snow to be thrown back across the central Appalachians and eastern Great Lakes region, the storm would have to strengthen very quickly and hug the mid-Atlantic coast. A storm that hugs the coast could pull warm air in from the ocean with a change to rain in the I-95 corridor.
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