Winter’s revenge: Northeastern US snowstorm yields dangerous travel along I-80, I-95 corridors

By Kristina Pydynowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
March 10, 2017, 10:42:33 AM EST

Snow into Friday afternoon will be the first of three disruptive winter storms to parade through the midwestern and eastern United States in mid-March.

In the wake of the general snow to start Friday, snow squalls could create additional hazards from the eastern Great Lakes through the central Appalachians Friday afternoon and evening.

Over much of the next 10 days or so, cold weather will be more persistent than it has been during the past 10 weeks, relative to average. The pattern will not only bring a whiplash in terms of temperature, it will also pave the way for opportunities for snow.

"The first storm has spread snow from part of the lower Great Lakes region to the central Appalachians, the upper part of the mid-Atlantic and southern New England," according to AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams.

Northeast snow 3.10 AM

In some locations, the storm began as rain but transitioned to snow.

The area that stands the best chance of accumulating snow will be between Interstate 70 and I-80. Even though it may snow for only a four- to eight-hour period, the snowfall rate can be intense for a time.

There is the potential for up to 6 inches of snow along the Interstate 80 and I-99 corridors in Pennsylvania and near I-95 in southern New England.

The highest accumulations will be on grassy surfaces as roads will remain wet during the first few hours of snowfall. As the rate of the snow intensifies, a number of roads could turn slushy or possibly snow-covered.

Accidents have occurred on portions of I-80 in central Pennsylvania and I-81 in northeastern Pennsylvania during Friday morning, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. An incident on I-80 east of the Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, exit involved multiple vehicles. PennDOT also reported accidents on the Turnpike.

"Morning rush hour will be the worst part of the storm from parts of Ohio, Pennsylvania, southern New York state and northern New Jersey to southern New England," Abrams said.

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Flight delays are likely from Cleveland and Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, New York City and Boston due to deicing activities.

No worse than a mixture of rain and wet snow is likely for the cities of Baltimore and Washington, D.C., with slushy roads well northwest of these cities.

The storm will race out to sea on Friday afternoon, when most roads will be just wet.

“However, there can be additional threats this weekend and next week for portions of the Midwest, Northeast and South,” Abrams said.

As colder air rushes in across the lower Great Lakes and central Appalachians, locally heavy snow showers could be a hazard for motorists in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York state and northern New England during Friday afternoon and evening.

Static Snow Squall danger

Motorists should reduce their speed due to a sudden drop in visibility and a rapid coating of snow as the squalls move through. Roads can get slippery even after they have been treated due to the heavy nature of the snow squalls.

Any surfaces that remain wet into the early evening can turn icy Friday night.

A storm bears watching this weekend from parts of the Plains to the South states, well south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

The storm during Saturday night and Sunday could bring accumulating snow as far south as parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina.

The next threat for snow in the northeastern U.S. will be on Tuesday, when a nor'easter could impact much of the region.

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