Where will a weekend storm deliver snow in the eastern US?
By Courtney Spamer, AccuWeather meteorologist
December 05, 2018, 12:06:58 PM EST
A storm that will travel across the country this week will reach the eastern United States by the weekend, threatening to unleash heavy rain and snow.
After bringing rain a heavy amount of snow, ice and rain to the south-central U.S., the storm will emerge into the East this weekend.
While a swath of rain and wintry weather is expected for much of the Tennessee Valley, multiple scenarios remain in play farther east.
"Some uncertainty still remains on the exact track of the storm across the Eastern Seaboard this weekend," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Edwards.
The exact track and timing of the system once it reaches the East will influence what weather impacts will be felt for residents from Pennsylvania to North Carolina.
No matter the track of the system, there could be widespread travel disruptions from either heavy rain or snow along a portion of the Eastern Seaboard for the weekend.
The storm could cause problems for those planning to travel in order to celebrate the last days of Hanukkah with family. Additionally, holiday shoppers waiting to get out on the weekend may be impacted by slippery roadways or even increased accidents.
Download the free AccuWeather app to see your forecast for rain and snowfall amounts as the storm nears.
Scenario 1: Slower, northerly storm
An area of high pressure holding over the Northeast will keep the region mainly dry and cold late in the week.
"Should the high break down as the storm approaches, it could allow the storm to track northeastward Sunday and into Monday," Edwards said.
The northward curve of the storm will bring moisture into the colder pool of air across the mid-Atlantic, allowing for snow potential for major cities in the region.
Residents of Washington D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia and Atlantic City, New Jersey, could find themselves with a blanket of snow by Monday morning.
Warm air being drawn up from the south ahead of the storm would allow much of the precipitation farther south to fall as rain. This includes cities from Richmond, Virginia, to Raleigh and Charlotte, North Carolina.
There is also some indication that the storm, should it take this more northward track, would have the opportunity to strengthen off the Delaware and Maryland coast on Monday.
If this is the case, cold air could wrap around on the back side of this storm, extending the time that snow could fall in the north, but also allowing the storm to end as some snow for North Carolina and Virginia.
Additionally, this could allow snow to fall as the storm parallels the Northeast coast. It is not out of the question that snow could fall in southern New England, or even farther up the New England coast.
The heaviest snow would likely target the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina and Virginia in this scenario.
Farther south, rain could be heavy enough in southern Alabama, Georgia, northern Florida and South Carolina to cause flash flooding and ponding of water on roadways. Rain could also reduce visibility for a time to cause slower travel.
In between the area of snow and rain, there could be a dangerous mix of snow, sleet and ice for some communities.
Band of snow, ice to create hazardous travel from Texas to Arkansas
Life-saving items to keep in your car in case a winter emergency happens
Top hacks to deice your vehicle during winter's icy grip
How the holidays may worsen conditions for those with seasonal affective disorder
Scenario 2: Quick, southward track
After moving through Texas and Louisiana, the storm could instead take an easterly track, across parts of Georgia and South Carolina before quickly going out to sea.
"The high over the Northeast on Friday could hold on into the weekend. This would favor a more southerly storm track," said AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams.
The more southerly solution would allow the cold, dry air to win out in the Northeast, with the rain-snow line setting up farther south across Tennessee and North Carolina.
In this scenario, less rain will be in the forecast for these states, with the storm including more snow throughout the duration. Cities that should be prepared for some steadier snow in this scenario include Richmond and Blacksburg, Virginia; Raleigh, North Carolina, and Knoxville, Tennessee.
The heaviest snowfall would likely be in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and in the Appalachians of southern Virginia.
Meanwhile, soaking rain could lead to flash flooding across Georgia and northern Florida.
The storm, should it follow this track, will move rather quickly, allowing for things to dry up by Monday. However, a brief plunge colder air will take place across much of the South in the storm's wake, before more warmth later in the week.
What is the most likely scenario?
The most likely track of the storm may ultimately be somewhere in between both scenarios.
"There is usually a tendency for storms to creep northward upon nearing the Atlantic coast," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.
"There will be some energy rolling in from the Midwest around the time when storm is near the coast," Sosnowski said. "Whether or not that energy feeds into the storm and causes it to strengthen and turn northward or instead kicks the storm out to sea is the forecast challenge at this point."
By then the cold air may be too stale to allow all snow along I-95 in the Northeast.
"No matter which scenario ends up being closest to reality, it appears the area from central and western North Carolina to northwest South Carolina, northeastern Georgia and southern Virginia may be in the middle of a heavy amount of snow and ice with this storm," Sosnowski said.
"Part of this zone may be on the receiving end of 1-3 feet of snow."
AccuWeather will continue to provide updates on the storm in the coming days.
Comments that don't add to the conversation may be automatically or manually removed by Facebook or AccuWeather. Profanity, personal attacks, and spam will not be tolerated.
More Weather News
Weather News - March 23, 2019, 11:19:24 AM EDT
The chill that descended upon the northeastern U.S. this past weekend will be reinforced early this week, but relief is on the horizon.
Weather News - March 23, 2019, 11:18:16 AM EDT
Showers and thunderstorms that may disrupt travel, dampen outdoor plans and become locally heavy and gusty will sweep through the southern United States early next week.
Weather News - March 22, 2019, 3:21:07 PM EDT
A lunar rainbow, one of the rarest types of rainbows, appeared during the super worm moon earlier this week.
Weather News - March 23, 2019, 10:34:46 AM EDT
The colorful festival of Holi celebrated by the Hindu community marks the beginning of spring.
In case you missed it: Pence assures Midwest flood victims as damage tops $1 billion; 50,000 visitors overtake California town to see vibrant superbloom
Weather News - March 22, 2019, 11:39:12 AM EDT
Flooding in the Midwest has put entire towns underwater and forced thousands to abandon their homes while a cyclone in southern Africa became one of the worst natural disasters to hit the region in decades.
Severe Tropical Cyclone Veronica to inundate Australia's Pilbara Coast with life-threatening flooding
Weather News - March 23, 2019, 11:07:43 AM EDT
Lives and property will be in severe peril through early this week along the northwestern coastline of Western Australia as Severe Tropical Cyclone Veronica slows down and unloads extreme rainfall.
Weather News - March 23, 2019, 11:17:20 AM EDT
A storm forecast to spread rain from the Mississippi Valley on Sunday to the Atlantic coast on Monday may bring a brief period of snow to parts of the Great Lakes and interior Northeast early next week.
Australia faces a dual severe tropical cyclone strike this weekend starting with Trevor in the Northern Territory
Weather News - March 23, 2019, 5:20:45 AM EDT
As Veronica threatens to cause a flood disaster in northwestern Australia, the dangers to lives and property are expected to expand well away from where Severe Tropical Cyclone Trevor made landfall on Australia's Northern Territory early this weekend.