Late-week winter storm to precede potential nor’easter in Northeast
Two winter storms over a six-day stretch are expected to bring snow to the Northeast, and AccuWeather meteorologists say one of them is likely to develop into a potent nor’easter.
AccuWeather meteorologists say the Northeast may have a few more chances of wintry weather, including from a potential nor’easter next week.
Storms coming from different directions will create two rounds of snow in parts of the northeastern United States within the next week, and both could bring their share of problems, including travel disruptions on the roads and at the airports, AccuWeather meteorologists warn. The storm early next week may evolve into a formidable nor'easter.
March is a busy time for travel as schools across the country close for spring break over the course of several days to a week. However, students and families heading on vacation or returning from a trip may encounter significant travel delays as two storms head into the northeastern U.S. over a six-day stretch spanning late this week to early next week.
Although the official start of spring is now less than two weeks away, on March 20, the weather pattern has something different in mind, forecasters say.
1st storm to slide eastward from the Midwest into Saturday
"A Midwest storm will put down at least a few inches of snow in the Chicago area into Friday and a general 4-8 inches of snow in Detroit from Friday to Friday evening," AccuWeather Chief On-Air Meteorologist Bernie Rayno said. Substantial airline delays and flight cancellations are likely at both airport hubs.
As the storm continues to push eastward, it will struggle with warmer air, as many systems have done this winter. However, 3 to 12 inches of snow is likely across a section of the Northeast that includes northern Pennsylvania and part of the southern tier of New York from Friday afternoon to Friday night.
Since the snow will fall near the heavily traveled corridors of interstates 80 and 90 in the Midwest then the I-80, I-84 and I-86 corridors of the Northeast, motorists should be prepared for delays due to stretches of slushy and snow-covered roads.
"The storm from Friday to Saturday in the Northeast will behave like a spring system," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Joe Lundberg said. "Low-elevation locations from northern Pennsylvania and southern New York to southwestern New England are likely to have mainly wet roads, even at night. But snow-covered roads are much more likely a few hundred feet higher up over the hills and mountains."
The storm will bring all or mostly rain to southeastern Pennsylvania, central and southern New Jersey, eastern Maryland and Delaware. This includes the metro areas of Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
"Even around New York City, the storm is likely to begin as rain Friday evening, thanks to temperatures in the 40s at the storm's onset," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Bill Deger said. "But, as this storm moves eastward and tries to reorganize along the mid-Atlantic coast at the last minute, a transition to a wintry mix and then snow will occur around the New York City metro area, and a slushy accumulation is possible late Friday night to Saturday morning."
A wintry mix would require the deicing of aircraft at airports in the New York City area. Poor visibility and runway conditions ranging from wet to slushy may add to delays.
Around Boston, the storm may track close enough to bring a period of rain, wet snow, or both on Saturday morning. Like in New York City, there will be a potential for deicing delays at Boston Logan International Airport.
2nd storm may evolve into a potent nor'easter early next week
AccuWeather meteorologists continue to study the potential for a significant winter storm for the Northeast early next week. This storm will take a more traditional path along the Atlantic coast from Monday to Tuesday — a path that is notorious for causing major weather problems in the East.
"Data suggest that this storm will strengthen rapidly along the East Coast early next week," AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok said.
"The storm may end up tracking too close to the coast for the I-95 corridor to get a great deal of snow, but any eastward shift in that track relative to current data could result in heavy snow to the I-95 zone from the upper mid-Atlantic to New England," Lundberg added.
A storm that tracks about 100 miles or so offshore of the Northeast coast usually has a better chance of bringing snow to areas along I-95.
Rain is still the most likely option for the storm's precipitation from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. However, areas from New York City to Boston could flip to snow or receive rain and snow from Monday night to Tuesday as the storm begins to pull away.
Lundberg explained that if the storm hugs the mid-Atlantic coast and ends up over southeastern New England, then mountainous regions from the Poconos to the Catskills and Berkshires could be “in the thick of the heavy snow.”
Because the storm is likely to strengthen quickly and create stiff northeasterly winds, it is likely to be dubbed a nor'easter and may become a powerful one.
Fierce winds in coastal areas could trigger power outages and create rounds of coastal flooding at times of high tide from Monday to Tuesday, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Alex DaSilva said. This storm may also generate wet, clinging snow over the interior Northeast, which could also weigh down tree branches and power lines.
Even where all or mostly rain falls from the storm, travel disruptions are likely on the roads and at the major airports from Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia, New York City and Boston early next week. And, with the potential for such a strong storm to hit so many busy airports, ripple-effect airline delays and disruptions may occur throughout the U.S.
Risk of damaging freeze to follow nor'easter in southern US
AccuWeather meteorologists say a large part of the South will be at risk of a damaging frost or freeze on Wednesday, March 15.
The same intense storm will force cold air into the Southeastern states, where a warm winter has buds and blossoms running weeks ahead of schedule.
There is a significant potential for a damaging freeze in many locations throughout the Southeast by the middle of the week, Pastelok said. Fruit tree buds and blossoms may be the most vulnerable.
Beyond the effects of the storm next week, "additional damaging frost and freeze threats may occur in the Southeast as a cold weather pattern is likely to persist through March and into April," Pastelok said.
The cold waves may delay spring planting for a time, forecasters say.
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