Major snowstorm approaching the US East Coast


AccuWeather forecasters warn that a snowstorm could wreak havoc on a large corridor of the eastern United States over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. It will pack hefty snow amounts, significant icing, heavy rain,
and gusty winds all throughout the Eastern Seaboard and across inland areas.

Winter storm watches were issued in many locations early Friday morning in advance of the snow. Roanoke, Virginia; Charleston, West Virginia; Pittsburgh; and Binghamton and Syracuse, New York are just a few locations where the watches were hoisted before daybreak on Friday. In Roanoke and Charleston, snow may mix with or change to ice for a time during the height of the storm.

An intrusion of cold air behind a potent storm pummeling Atlantic Canada late this week will lead to the winter weather mayhem as a storm dives southward across the Midwest before tracking across the Southeast and making a sharp turn north-northeastward along or just inland of the Atlantic Seaboard.

“It looks like a very strong storm system will unleash very significant snow across the interior parts of the Northeast, especially from the Appalachians up into the high ground of New York state and into northern New England,” AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Jon Porter said. “In some locations, the snow can be measured in feet.”

Video: Iowa road crews brace for approaching storm

Even though the major winter storm is still a few days away from swinging into the Northeast, confidence is growing among AccuWeather meteorologists as to where the air will be cold enough to support an all-snow event versus one that features a wintry mix and all or mostly rain. As of Thursday, a track just inland or right along the Atlantic coast in the Northeast seems most likely.

In either case and even though the storm’s strength is not expected to reach the magnitude of the Blizzard of ’93, the storm from Sunday to Monday has the potential to pack a punch with a period of heavy snow on its cold northwestern flank and heavy rain or heavy snow changing to rain on its warmer southeastern side.

While the Blizzard of ’93 brought a general 2-3 feet of snow to the Appalachians and several inches of snow and rain from Atlanta to Washington, D.C., and New York City, the upcoming storm is projected to bring a general 12-18 inches of snow to the Appalachians and only a small amount of snow is likely in Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and New York City. Major travel disruptions are expected with the storm during the Martin Luther King, Jr. extended weekend.

“Enough cold air is likely to be in place for an all or mostly snow event from near and west of Interstate 81 corridor in the Northeast states, while near and south and east of I-95, rain is likely to be the primary form of precipitation,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Bill Deger said, adding that in between snow, ice and rain may fall.

In portions of the central Appalachians during the height of the storm and at the onset of the storm close to the Atlantic coast, snow may fall at a furious pace of 1-3 inches per hour. A snowfall rate of this intensity can quickly bury roads and overwhelm road crews, especially along roadways that experience a heavy volume of traffic.

Snow is likely to fall throughout the duration of the storm in parts of the Appalachians, and a foot or more of snow could pile up with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 40 inches. Conditions will deteriorate quickly in the all-snow zone as increasing winds will lead to significant blowing and drifting of snow.

Source: AccuWeather 

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