“Winter returns strongly” as a major snowstorm targets the northeast of the country – AccuWeather.com/ar/
Just days after near-record temperatures in some areas, a storm that accompanies a sudden change in weather pattern will end up piling snow and causing travel disruptions along a 2,000-mile swath of the Southern Plains and parts of Mississippi and Ohio. AccuWeather meteorologists warn for valleys into the central Appalachians, the upper mid-Atlantic and southern New England.
This will be a real test and a change for millions of people who have recently been out enjoying the warmth from last week and the start of the weekend, AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Matt Rende said.
“Winter will return in force as the storm moves in with a push of cold air that will set the stage for more typical conditions in the middle and latter part of February,” Rende said.
The storm has already been responsible for several inches of snow in Colorado, New Mexico and Texas this weekend and all eyes are on the Northeastern U.S., where AccuWeather meteorologists predict a half-foot to a foot of snow is likely from northern Pennsylvania and the state. The Southern Tier extends from New York to most of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and southern New Hampshire just before Valentine’s Day.
Snow will fall from the southern high plains and spread in a band of 1-6 inches of accumulation from central Oklahoma to southern Indiana from Sunday night into Monday. In this area, a 10-inch AccuWeather Local StormMax™ will likely land in the Ozark Mountains of southern Missouri.
As the storm continues, accumulating snow will spread from southern Indiana into central and northeastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania from late Monday into Monday night. Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and the southern suburbs of Cleveland will likely pick up 1 to 3 inches of melting snow with slippery conditions.
Snow will continue to fall across the central Appalachians and upper mid-Atlantic on Monday night and then southern and central New England on Tuesday.
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“Due to the warmth preceding the storm, precipitation will begin to fall with rain in many areas and snow may initially melt on road surfaces throughout the accumulation area of the Midwest and Northeast,” AccuWeather Storm Warning Meteorologist Joseph Bauer said.
“How quickly the storm intensifies will determine how quickly cold air is drawn into the storm, which will have significant impacts on the amount of snow that can accumulate,” Bauer explained.
The injection of cold air into the storm, combined with the expected heavy precipitation rate, will allow the storm to overcome the marginal surface temperatures that existed before its arrival.
Within the area where 6 to 12 inches of snow will fall, there is an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 15 inches in the Northeast. Heavy snow is likely to fall at high elevations from northern Pennsylvania and southeastern New York to central Massachusetts.
This band of heavy snow could end up near Boston as 3 to 6 inches of snow is currently expected in the city with 6 to 12 inches to the west.
“Snowfall rates of 1-2 inches per hour and locally greater could occur briefly on Tuesday, when the highest totals are expected,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Adam Sadvari said.
This heavy snow rate has the potential to strand motorists and prevent highway sections from keeping roads plowed and open. Roads may be closed at the height of the storm.
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Even if heavy snow avoids major airport hubs on Interstate 95 in the mid-Atlantic, variable weather conditions and wintertime problems with connections from regional flights will likely lead to significant delays and cancellations. Delays caused by de-icing operations will extend beyond planes arriving from Boston.
Rain and fog, followed by heavy wet snow, will lead to poor visibility and difficulty traveling as road conditions shift from wet with puddles to full of snow. The wet, clinging nature of snow will weigh down tree limbs and may lead to power outages.
“Given the track of this storm and the warm to cold conditions leading up to Tuesday, there will be snowfall that could increase from a slush layer to a half foot or more within a few miles along the Interstate 95 corridor from New York City, southwest of Philadelphia,” Sadvari said. and northeast Providence, Rhode Island.”
At times, this heavy snow will extend from north and west of I-95 to across the heavily traveled interstate.
“The Tuesday morning commute appears to be a huge mess for many, including in Scranton, Allentown, Pennsylvania, New York City, and Hartford, Connecticut,” Sadvari added. Conditions will also deteriorate quickly in the Boston area during Tuesday morning and midday.
The storm’s track may shift south at the last minute
There is still a chance that the storm will take a somewhat southerly track.
A southerly track of at least 100 miles could push heavy snow accumulation south into downtown Philadelphia and the five boroughs that make up New York City. This southerly track could also bring accumulating snow to Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, as well as Wilmington, Delaware, central New Jersey, central Long Island, New York, and Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
There is also the possibility that because of the heavy snowfall rate at the back end of the storm, snow could accumulate quickly, even if only for a few hours, as rain or a wintry mix falls at the height of the storm.
At this time, the heaviest snow is expected to remain to the north and west, with up to an inch layer in Philadelphia and Manhattan and little to no accumulation in Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
As Rende previously noted, the storm will help create a cooler, more seasonal weather pattern from the Midwest to the Northeast.
Millions will face the fact that it’s still mid-February come Valentine’s Day as they dig in on Wednesday morning and remember their winter driving skills as they head to work, school, or their favorite restaurant to celebrate the holiday with their loved ones.
Snow chances will be introduced as shear storms from western Canada move southeastward and the northern edge of southerly storms moves in later next week and beyond.
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