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Huge Snowstorm Targets the Northeast

Winter-Storm-Severity_Pivotal2 Winter Storm Severity product from NOAA (graphic credit PivotalWeather.com)

The stage is set as a significant winter storm steps into the spotlight in the Appalachian Mountains and Northeast US. Here’s how the show will break down. 

Tuesday was the calm before the storm, as cold high pressure parked over the eastern US. Temperatures through early Wednesday will run about 5 to as much as 20 degrees below average from Virginia to Maine. Cold air settled in before a storm is key to get precipitation falling as snow, though some areas will deal with a mix of sleet and freezing rain. 

Northeast temperature forecast Wednesday morning Dec 16 (NWS and Pivotal Weather)

By early Wednesday, the storm will be gaining strength off the southeast coast, and quickly move northeast. As it does so, snow, sleet, and (for some) freezing rain/ice develops in the southern Appalachians. 

Through Wednesday night, the storm center moves quickly east-northeast, passing just south of Long Island and the southern New England coastline. With plenty of cold air in place, widespread snow will fall from West Virginia northeastward to upstate New York and southern New England.  

Storm track and timeline shows strengthening low pressure moving up the east coast Wednesday-Thursday (Weather Prediction Center)

At the storm's peak intensity, winds will become rather strong for parts of New York and southern New England. Snow will be very intense through the night in the northeast, especially on the immediate northwest side of the storm’s center, where snowfall rates could top 2” per hour (looking at northeast PA, upstate New York, into central New England).

By Thursday, you’ll either be shoveling out from as much as 8-18”+ of new snow, or you’ll be on the slopes. We’ll let you work that part out. If the latter, we think ski areas in central and eastern PA, upstate NY, and southern and central New England will have an amazing day on the slopes with locally as much as 2 feet of new snow. 

Winter storm warnings are in effect for a large majority of the northeast. 

Northeast snowfall forecast map  (National Weather Service)

Article last updated Tuesday evening- check local forecasts for updated snow total forecasts and impact information.


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