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Sneaky storm could drop a bit of snow on cities in Northeast

AccuWeather logo AccuWeather 1/12/2021 Alex Sosnowski

A storm is expected to take shape along a wave of colder air in the East, with the potential to not only bring snowflakes to coastal areas of the Northeast, but forecasters warn it may put down a narrow swath of accumulating snow over interior locations Friday night into Saturday.

The weak storm is expected to form along a cold front that will slow its forward speed as it moves toward the East Coast late Friday to Saturday.

"A band of rain will form and extend along the front from the Gulf Coast to the mid-Atlantic on Friday and Friday night," according to AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok.

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"Rain may change to snow around Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York City even though temperatures may still be above freezing during Friday night," Pastelok said.


At this point, little accumulation is expected even if wet snow mixes in with the rain or a complete changeover to snow occurs in the Interstate 95 corridor late Friday night or Saturday.

Temperatures are forecast to climb into the 50s from New York City to Washington, D.C., and well into the 40s in Boston and southeastern New England Friday. The mild conditions will make it difficult for snow to pile up in this swath by Saturday morning, but there can be some wet snowflakes for a brief time.

"The changeover to accumulating snow is more likely well north and west of I-95," Pastelok said.

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The traditional higher-elevation locations such as the Pocono, Catskill, Berkshire, Adirondack, Green and White mountains have the best chance of picking up an accumulation of wet snow from the developing storm.

There is a remote chance of a small, slushy accumulation of snow areas on non-paved surfaces in the hilly areas of eastern Pennsylvania, outside of the Poconos, and the hills in northwestern New Jersey.

Farther west, as colder air moves in over West Virginia and the western parts of Pennsylvania, Maryland and New York state, snow showers can make for tricky travel conditions during Friday night and Saturday. Conditions in this area can vary from breaks of sunshine to the risk of brief heavy snow and poor visibility with little notice for motorists rolling along at highway speeds.

The snow showers can end up bringing up to a few inches of snow over the higher elevations from western New York state to West Virginia, where the air and ground will be colder and the snow will be more persistent.

Colder air is forecast to settle in across the Appalachians, mid-Atlantic and New England as the weekend progresses and into early next week.

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However, with that cold air passing over the open waters of the Great Lakes and taking an indirect route into the Northeast, temperatures are only forecast to dip to average levels for the middle of January, rather than significantly below average.

Normal highs for the middle of January range from the upper teens in northern Maine to the upper 40s F in southeastern Virginia. Normal lows range from near 10 in northern Maine to the lower 30s in southeastern Virginia.

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