• Low pressure will intensify off the East Coast late Friday into Saturday.
  • Snowfall could be significant from this storm, but it’s uncertain which areas might see heavier totals.
  • Highs winds, coastal flooding and beach erosion are also concerns.

A strong storm forecast to develop off the East Coast by this weekend will grow into a powerful nor’easter, bringing heavy snow, strong winds and coastal flooding to parts of the Northeast.

The setup begins Friday with a cold front moving across the Northeast that will haul in a fresh blast of chilly air prior to this storm’s potential impact. Then, low pressure will strengthen as it tracks near or off the East Coast late Friday through Saturday in response to an upper-level disturbance diving from western Canada to the central and eastern United States.

That combination of fresh cold air and the intensifying storm crawling northward off the East Coast sets the stage for a possible high-impact winter storm in parts of the Northeast.

It’s likely this storm will grow into a “bomb cyclone” – a term meteorologists use for a low-pressure system associated with fronts with a central pressure that plunges at least 24 millibars in 24 hours or less. A storm with a lower pressure has a higher intensity.

But what’s still in doubt is the exact track of this bomb cyclone in relation to the East Coast – an uncertainty that’s typical a few days in advance. That future track will have a domino effect for what areas will see the most significant snowfall, high winds and/or coastal flooding.

Right now, portions of New England have the highest probability of seeing heavy snow, regardless of whether the storm tracks farther offshore or closer to the coast. Areas farther south from around the New York tri-state area to the coastal mid-Atlantic could also see significant snow and wind, especially if the storm tracks closer to the coast, as some forecast model guidance depicts.

Below, we have a general outlook for the timing of this storm. Check back to weather.com and The Weather Channel app for important updates through the end of the week.

Storm Timing

Friday

The storm will be in its early stage of development on Friday.

Snow showers will spread across parts of the Appalachians, mid-Atlantic and Northeast as the previously mentioned cold front moves into the region by early in the day. Snowfall amounts during the daytime should be on the lighter side in most of these areas, though it could still create slippery travel conditions.

Rain showers might develop in parts of the Southeast, particularly near the Southeast coast.

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(While it is too soon to pinpoint precisely who will see what precipitation type, the green shadings depict where rain is expected. Areas that are shaded blue are expected to see snow. Purple-shaded locations may see either rain or snow. Areas in pink are expected to see sleet or freezing rain (ice).
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Friday Night

The storm will begin its intensification phase off the Southeast and mid-Atlantic coasts Friday night.

Snow could spread up much of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast coastlines through the overnight hours. That snow has the potential to be heavier in some areas, but that will depend on the uncertain track of the storm.

Winds will also likely increase near parts of the Eastern Seaboard, and high surf will begin to build.

Rain could change to snow for a time as far south as the Carolinas, including areas affected last weekend by Winter Storm Jasper.

image
(While it is too soon to pinpoint precisely who will see what precipitation type, the green shadings depict where rain is expected. Areas that are shaded blue are expected to see snow. Purple-shaded locations may see either rain or snow. Areas in pink are expected to see sleet or freezing rain (ice).
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The storm will likely reach its peak intensity somewhere near or off the New England coast as the weekend begins.

Snow, strong winds and coastal flooding will likely impact at least parts of the Northeast and coastal mid-Atlantic.

In general, a more eastward track of the storm would keep the combination of heavier snow and high winds pinned to parts of New England.

A storm track farther west could bring that combination of snow and strong winds to not only New England but also areas farther south, from the New York City tri-state area to the coastal mid-Atlantic. That could possibly include areas as far south as the Delmarva Peninsula and extreme eastern parts of Virginia and North Carolina.

Coastal flooding, high surf and beach erosion are potential threats for much of the Northeast coast, regardless of the storm’s track. High astronomical tides are in place this weekend, which could act to worsen those threats. There are two high tides of concern on Saturday, generally in the early morning hours and then again between late afternoon and early evening, depending on the specific location.

High winds in some coastal areas might be strong enough to knock out power. The winds could also contribute to poor visibility from blowing snow, with blizzard conditions possible in some areas. Portions of New England have the highest chance of seeing blizzard conditions at this time, but we can’t rule out that possibility in other areas.

image
(While it is too soon to pinpoint precisely who will see what precipitation type, the green shadings depict where rain is expected. Areas that are shaded blue are expected to see snow. Purple-shaded locations may see either rain or snow. Areas in pink are expected to see sleet or freezing rain (ice).
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Sunday

Snow should have tapered off in most areas by Sunday morning, except perhaps in northern New England.

Temperatures will be cold in the wake of the storm. Wind chills will be in the frigid single digits above and below zero to start the day since it will remain breezy.

(MAPS: Forecast Temperatures)

Snowfall Outlook

It’s too early to provide a specific forecast for snowfall totals from this storm.

Darker-purple-shaded areas on the map below have the best chance for heavier snow totals from this storm as of right now.

That means, for now, New England is the area with the greatest chance of heavy snow. But as we’ve mentioned earlier, the potential for heavier snow could extend southward to the New York tri-state area and the coastal mid-Atlantic, depending on the storm’s eventual track.

Keep in mind that this outlook will likely change in future updates as the forecast comes more into focus over the next day or two. That could result in an increase or decrease in the possibility for moderate to heavier snowfall accumulations for any given location.

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Snowfall Outlook

(While it is too far out in time to specify exact forecast snowfall totals, areas in the purple and pink contours have the highest chance at heavy snowfall.

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The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

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