Fast-Moving System to Bring `Nuisance' Snow to Washington

  • East Coast system could also leave an inch or more in New York
  • Washington may get about 3 inches in time for morning commute

A fast-moving storm will bring light snow up the East Coast starting late Thursday in Washington and overnight in New York.

A winter weather advisory stretches from North Carolina to New Jersey in advance of the storm that could bring 2 to 3 inches of snow to Washington and Baltimore by the time commuters are heading into work Friday, the National Weather Service said. New York could pick up about 2 inches.

“I don’t think it will have a big impact,” said Bob Oravec, a senior branch forecaster at the U.S. Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland. “But historically some of our worst traffic has been with a little bit of snow. Usually that is when they aren’t expecting it.”

Snow will start falling in Washington Thursday night and by midnight in New York, Oravec said. Boston could see a dusting by Friday morning. The worst impact in Massachusetts will probably be along Cape Cod, which juts into the Atlantic. Nantucket could get as much as 6 inches.

Shipping Threat

Oravec said the heart of the storm could pose more of a threat for mariners. Hurricane force wind warnings have been posted for shipping lanes off the Mid-Atlantic States and a storm warning is in place from New Jersey to New England.

For the cities, the storm will be more of a “nuisance,” according to Dave Samuel, a meteorologist with AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania. Most of the accumulation will be on non-paved areas, he said.

The system will be followed by a brief chill and more flurries over the weekend. “After that it does definitely warm up and all the action shifts out to the West Coast,” Oravec said.

Then the pattern changes and temperatures are forecast to rise 15 degrees above normal from Chicago to New York and into southern Canada starting Tuesday, said Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland.

“We continue to track an impressive story rivaled only by December’s persistent warmth in terms of widespread above normal temperature intensity and duration,” Matt Rogers, the group’s president, wrote in a note to clients.

Samuel said after this weekend, warmer air will flood out of the south into the Northeast and blunt any more cold snaps descending from Canada.

There will be a corresponding shift in the West, which will bring heavy rain to California and later across the central U.S. starting this weekend, Oravec said.

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