Skip to Content

Winter’s first major storm set to hit the eastern US with heavy rain and significant snow

By Eric Zerkel, CNN

(CNN) — A major winter storm is setting up to thrash much of the eastern US this weekend with heavy rain, strong winds and the first significant snow of the season.

As of Thursday morning, the highest confidence for significant snow was in portions of the interior Northeast, including central Pennsylvania and southeastern New York state, and southern and central New England.

That means cities like Washington, DC, Baltimore and New York – all waiting nearly two years for an inch of snow in a calendar day – could miss out on snow and instead experience more rain, a mix of wintry precipitation, or both.

But just 50 miles could separate areas that experience heavy snow from those that experience mixed precipitation or only rain, meaning small shifts in the storm’s final track and timing will make a massive difference.

Regardless of the storm’s final snow totals, an impactful winter storm capable of disrupting travel is coming this weekend. It’s coming from an active Pacific storm track typical of an El Niño winter, which is sending a series of storms across the US into next week.

The system responsible for the potential winter weather will first cross the southern half of the US through Friday, before swooping up the East through the weekend.

In much of the South and Southeast this will mean a cool rain as the storm taps into ample moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. Louisiana and Mississippi, still suffering from drought after a summer of extreme heat and a lack of rain, are in the bull’s-eye for what would be largely beneficial rain.

Rain will begin Thursday evening in central Texas and progress with the storm’s track to the east, overrunning the Southeast and parts of the mid-Atlantic with time. This storm could cause flooding issues in the South, particularly in areas drenched earlier in the week, but its quick-moving nature should limit the potential for repeated rounds of rain.

The storm will then drive north into the mid-Atlantic Saturday dumping heavy rain and freezing rain on parts of the southern Appalachians and Piedmont. The main event for snow in the Northeast will be Saturday night and Sunday as the storm tracks through the area and then off the coast.

Strong winds are also possible, the exact magnitude of which in specific areas will also rely on the storm’s track and intensity.

Despite lower snow chances, if even an inch were to fall in major cities along the I-95 corridor, it would end significant snowless streaks for some that have dragged on for nearing two years.

New York City has waited nearly 700 days for an inch of snow in a single calendar day. Only 2.3 inches fell in Central Park during the entirety of 2023, making it the city’s least snowy calendar year on record, according to the National Weather Service. The same was true for Philadelphia and the DC area’s Dulles International Airport.

It’s not as if the Northeast has gone without precipitation. In mid-December, a powerful and deadly coastal storm knocked out power to hundreds of thousands and triggered severe flooding across the region.

But it’s just been too warm for precipitation to fall as snow, something that’s becoming more common as global temperatures rise because of planet-warming fossil fuel pollution.

Much of the US endured a warmer-than-average December. The warmer temperatures meant snow was harder to come by. As a result, snow cover, or how much land is covered by snow, is at its lowest extent in North America since 2005, NOAA data shows.

™ & © 2024 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

Article Topic Follows: CNN-Weather/Environment

Jump to comments ↓

CNN Newsource


KIFI Local News 8 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content