As cautioned by AccuWeather.com at the start of the week, a storm will spread a swath of accumulating snow in part of the Northeast, before hitting Atlantic Canada head on later this weekend.
A general swath of 3- to 6-inch snowfall will stretch from eastern Long Island and Connecticut through Rhode Island, southeastern Massachusetts and Down East Maine.
Lesser snowfall is in store farther north and west. Only if the storm strengthens extremely quickly and moves over Cape Cod would the band of heavy snow be pushed into a swath from New York City to Bangor, Maine. Such a scenario would mean mostly or all rain in eastern Long Island and on Cape Cod.
However, even with the swath of snow as portrayed, some rain will fall at the onset of the storm from the coastal mid-Atlantic to Boston.
Road conditions will depend on the rate of snowfall. Generally, during the middle of February, it has to snow very hard during the middle of the day to accumulate on streets and highways. Where the snow gets a head start early in the morning, it may continue to pile up.
Farther west, lake-effect snow as well as snow showers from an arctic front and disturbance will bring pockets of snow all the way to Chicago. Motorists heading west on I-80 could come in contact with areas of blinding snow and rapidly changing road conditions.
A word of caution -- in areas made wet and slushy by the storm into Saturday, much colder air coming in Saturday evening into Sunday will lead to a freeze-up and areas of black ice along the I-95 corridor. Surfaces that may be just wet one hour may become icy the next.
The freeze-up will happen sooner, rather than later, heading westward through the Appalachians and into parts of the Midwest.
This particular storm, as modest as it may seem by hardy New England standards, has the potential to be the biggest snowfall of the winter season thus far for southern areas. The storm could double the winter season's snowfall, take away the freak Halloween Weekend Snowstorm that brought 2 feet of snow to some communities.
Written by Alex Sosnowski, Senior Expert Meteorologist for AccuWeather.com
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