We warned you about the major winter storm that will impact millions across portions of the Midwest and Northeast Tuesday night into Wednesday, and that forecast still holds. In this article, we have a final update on what you can expect from this multi-faceted storm, which will bring snow, freezing rain, and/or rain to a large area.
During the overnight hours of Tuesday, a light area of snow will move through the Great Lakes region, including the Chicago area. To the south just north of the Ohio River from central Indiana through Ohio, several hours of heavy snow is likely. Meanwhile along the Ohio River, significant icing is possible. Some locations may exceed a tenth of inch of ice as hours of freezing rain comes down. This is due to freezing air at the surface while there is a thick layer of warm air aloft. This will allow for rain drops to fall and freeze on contact at the surface. Not only will this make for very treacherous travel, but some power outages are possible. To the east, a moderate to heavy snow will move into portions of the interior Northeast from western New York into much of Pennsylvania by the mid-morning before sunrise. Now along the Mason-Dixon Line, freezing rain is also likely there. This includes Washington, D.C., but it’s the areas just north and west of there where the concern is the greatest.
Now during the daylight hours of Wednesday, the I-95 corridor will get their fair share of this ugly weather situation. A couple hours of freezing rain is possible from D.C. up through Philadelphia, but by noon that will changeover to a plain rain. In the New York City area, you’ll begin with a heavy snow before that changes to a freezing rain fairly quickly for one to three hours and then eventually to a cold rain as well. Now in southern New England, the snow and freezing rain will last a bit longer. This region will begin with heavy snow by noon, but then starting at around noon, an area of freezing rain will move inland from the southern coast. By the evening hours, much of southern New England will experience rain, however, the higher elevations, including northwestern Connecticut and the Berkshires, will likely see the freezing rain persist through the rest of this event. Predicting snowfall in this region is the most difficult and uncertain because it all depends how long the snow falls before turning into freezing rain. Another concern besides the snow and freezing rain is actually wet happens Wednesday night. The rain that finishes off the precipitation in the evening will freeze up overnight as temperatures drop into the teens and 20’s, therefore making for slick conditions Thursday morning.
Across the interior Northeast, this is where this major snow event will take place. A very moist atmospheric profile and moderate lift in the dendritic growth layer will make this storm a very good snow producer. A widespread moderate to heavy snow will overspread into northern New England by the afternoon while most of New York continues to experience the falling snow. Now in central Pennsylvania south of I-80, the snow will actually changeover to freezing rain and/or rain. That will keep snowfall totals slightly lower whereas from north of I-80 in Pennsylvania through inland Maine, at least half a foot of snow is expected to fall. By the evening hours, the interior Northeast will see the snow come to an end while the snow persists across northern New England through the first half of Wednesday night. During the overnight hours, winds will pick up once the snow ends, and even lake-effect snow will likely develop off from the Great Lakes.
Based on this forecast, we’re thinking the I-95 corridor south of New York City will receive little to no snow accumulation. Between New York and Boston, most areas receive two to four inches in the corridor. It’s inland from there where the heavier totals will be found with a strip of ten to fourteen inches forecast rom central New York through inland Maine. We also hatched out an area from the Ohio Valley through portions of southern New England where there is the risk for freezing rain. Some of these locations may receive over a tenth of an inch of ice accretion.