Quick-hitting storm to deliver a shot of rain and snow to the mid-Atlantic
Travel could be interrupted as parts of the region receive accumulating snow.
A fast-moving storm system will produce a swath of accumulating snow from the central Appalachians to parts of the mid-Atlantic and southeastern New England through Tuesday night.
The storm is expected to race to Atlantic Canada by Wednesday morning.
Accumulating snow will be able to reach farther south and east than what has occurred so far this winter due to the storm's more southern track.
Travel along portions of Interstates 64, 68, 77, 79 and 81 has been slippery and dangerous over the mountains and through the Shenandoah and Roanoke valleys during the day Tuesday.
Snow and icy roads contributed to a multiple-vehicle pileup on I-81 near Buchanan, Virginia, during Tuesday midday, Jan. 7, 2020. (Virginia DOT)
While the storm is likely to start as rain or a mix of rain and snow in much of the I-95 swath, a general coating to an inch of snow with locally higher amounts is forecast from Washington, D.C., to Baltimore; Philadelphia; New York City; Hartford, Connecticut; Providence, Rhode Island; and Boston. While most of the snow in these urban areas will be on non-paved surfaces, a small, slushy and slippery accumulation can occur on roads and sidewalks, especially on bridges. Outside of the downtown areas, the amount of snow accumulation will increase.
From 1 to 3 inches of snow is expected to focus over parts of the central and southern Appalachians with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 8 inches over the West Virginia mountains.
Snow, or a mix of rain and snow, will only fall for a period of around six hours in most locations, which will limit how much accumulates.
Commuters in the northern and western suburbs of the I-95 corridor from Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia, as well as central New Jersey, eastern Long Island, New York, and southeastern New England, will be at a much higher risk of experiencing slippery travel and reduced visibility since precipitation is more likely to fall in the form of snow and road surface temperatures are likely to be a few degrees lower. These areas also stand a better chance at picking up 1-3 inches of snow from the storm on non-paved surfaces.
But even within the major cities, where the snow falls at a heavy rate for even just a couple of hours, roads can become slippery.
Residents heading out the door on Wednesday should be prepared for a potentially slow commute on slushy and/or icy roadways.
Areas downwind of the eastern Great Lakes will receive more snow in the storm's wake as lake-effect snow briefly kicks into high gear.
"Travel could also be difficult along the New York State Thruway and I-90 in northwestern Pennsylvania as locally heavy snow squalls combine with gusty winds to reduce visibility and make for slippery roadways from Tuesday evening into Wednesday morning," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Pydynowski said.
The snow showers and squalls will ramp up as a pocket of cold air rushes in over the Great Lakes in the wake of the coastal storm.
"After a mild start to January, Wednesday and Thursday will be a wake-up call for many in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast," Pydynowski said.
"The cold air and gusty winds will combine to keep AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures in the single digits and teens much of the day across interior parts of the Northeast and New England," he added.
However, the snow squalls and cold air will be replaced by dry weather and seasonably chilly air by Friday with much warmer weather set to move in by this weekend.
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