FOX Weather meteorologists are tracking what’s expected to become the first nor’easter of 2024, which could bring the first significant snow in two years for several cities along the East Coast and flooding rain for the South, all translating to messy weekend travel across the eastern U.S.
The storm is forecast to develop Friday along the Gulf Coast. While computer forecast models still vary widely on snow and rain amounts and the actual track and strength of the storm, the FOX Forecast Center is keeping an eye on key takeaways that will spell out dangerous and slow travel conditions:
- An area of low pressure will develop late Friday and move up the East Coast this weekend.
- Rain, snow and ice are expected across multiple states.
- Snowfall amounts have trended down in the past 24 hours in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, but parts of the Interstate 95 corridor could still pick up at least an inch of snow.
Snow could end record snowless streaks for several cities along Eastern Seaboard
This nearly two-year streak without an inch of snow for Philadelphia smashed the previous record streak of 661 days without an inch of snow that ended in 1973.
Long ago, New York City clobbered its old record of 383 days without an inch of snow that ended in 1998.
New York City only saw 2.3 inches of snow over the winter of 2022 through 2023.
That is more than a 2-foot deficit compared to the average winter season snowfall and a record for the lowest annual snowfall total.
Philadelphia and Washington both saw less than a half-inch, leaving those cities with a 22.8-inch and 13.3-inch deficit, respectively.
Even cities that saw snow got only a fraction of what they typically see. Boston saw 49.2 inches of snow over the 2022-23 winter, more than 3 feet less than average.
Winter storm impacts
The storm is expected to impact at least 20 states from Texas to New England.
The Gulf Coast could see another round of heavy rain, triggering flood concerns. The Interstate 10 and 20 corridors and southern portions of the I-95 corridor will deal with wet pavement.
The storm will then slide northward near or off the East Coast as it collides with the cold air. Anyone living from parts of West Virginia to New England could be in for plowable snow.
“We were telling you at the end of 2023 that as we entered January, we were expecting the storm track to be more favorable for the East Coast, but also the cold air to be present,” FOX Weather Meteorologist Britta Merwin said. “Well, there you go. Verified forecast. We’re in for a nor’easter this weekend, and this is going to all happen very quickly.”
“We’re going to see changes, but right now, we have a moderate snow potential for northwest New Jersey and lower Hudson Valley,” Merwin continued. “The general trend on the computer models is of lowering snow totals, but this is an area that hasn’t seen snow. So, even if you get 6 inches of snow, which would be low for a nor’easter, that’s going to be substantial for an area that hasn’t seen much snow in two years.”
The FOX Forecast Center said there is also a growing threat of freezing rain in the central and southern Appalachians. Parts of southwestern Virginia, western North Carolina, upstate South Carolina and northeastern Georgia could see significant icing, putting a slippery glaze on pavement and weighing down tree limbs and power lines.
Winter storm timing
An area of low pressure is expected to develop between Houston and New Orleans on Friday, producing heavy rain along the Gulf Coast. Flash flooding is possible from southeastern and eastern Texas eastward to the Florida Panhandle.
On Saturday, the low-pressure system is forecast to plow east as it organizes and strengthens. Check with your airline if you are flying into or out of Atlanta, the world’s busiest airport, as the heavy rain and gusty winds could create delays, especially in the morning.
To the north, snow will quickly break out across the Ohio Valley and central Appalachians. Several inches of snow appear likely at this time. Warm air moving over cold air trapped near the surface may allow for freezing rain to fall across the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and Virginia.
The FOX Forecast Center also warns of the possibility of severe storms in Florida on Saturday afternoon and evening. The flash-flood threat extends from Florida into southern New Jersey.
The storm peaks Saturday night into Sunday as it pushes off the Carolinas and moves up the East Coast. Rain will transition to snow across West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Virginia, but the actual storm track will dictate how much cold air moves in and the timing of the changeover to snow, which could limit snowfall amounts.
The storm is predicted to push off the East Coast near the Carolinas and continue to head north on Sunday.
Heavy snow and gusty winds will linger Sunday morning in parts of New York, Pennsylvania, New England, New Jersey and the higher elevations of the central Appalachians.
The storm will gradually wind down Sunday afternoon.
By Monday morning, the winter storm will be well off the New England coast, ushering in a dry start to the workweek and providing an opportunity to clear the snow from roads, driveways and sidewalks.
Another storm system will follow on the heels of this one during the first half of next week.
When was the last notable snowstorm for I-95 corridor?
Snow-lovers should feel hopeful about the weekend, even several days out, because the current storm track is promising. We have to look back to late January 2022 to find the last notable snowstorm on the I-95 corridor. On Jan. 28-29, 2022, a nor’easter buried parts of the region under snow and even touched off blizzard conditions.
Cold air in place in 2022 turned all precipitation into snow. Delaware and eastern New Jersey not only saw over a foot of snow, but winds gusting between 50 and 60 mph blew around the snow, turning the storm into a blizzard, according to the National Weather Service. Blizzard conditions pushed into New England on Jan. 29.
Boston measured 23.8 inches of snow. New York City saw 8.5 inches, while Baltimore got 1.5 inches.