Confidence is growing for a strong winter storm to track up the East Coast and pound parts of the northeast with a lot of snow, but recent trends produced by the latest forecast models have created more uncertainty rather than answers. 

What we do know is that this storm will intensify fairly rapidly and produce copious amounts of snow, very strong winds and coastal flooding. The question is the track of the storm and that directly corresponds to how much and who gets hit hardest with the snow. 

Earlier on Wednesday, the forecast models produced a westerly shift with the storm, tracking closer along the coast and pounding the city with heavy snow. On Wednesday afternoon, the forecast models started to do a 180 and track the storm further off the coast, lowering snowfall amounts greatly in some cases.

The problem with this storm is that there will be a sharp cutoff between the very high numbers of over a foot or so down to a few inches in a relatively short distance. 

What we do know is that a cold front will approach the region on Friday, bringing the chance for a few scattered snow showers around. To the south, the coastal storm will quickly develop off the Carolinas and track up the East Coast. 

Snow associated with the coastal storm will develop by Friday night and it could get heavy, with rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour at times, from Saturday morning through the afternoon before it tapers off by Saturday night. Due to the uncertainty of the track, confidence of forecasting snow accumulations is very low at this point.

For now, a large portion of the area, including the city could get 4 to 8 inches of snow. Long Island and Connecticut look to get as much as a foot or more of snow. Areas well north and west of the city may get as much an inch. 

Regardless of snow amounts, it will be windy day. Gusts to over 40 mph will be possible and white-out conditions cannot be ruled out if the snow becomes heavy. While the snow may taper off by Saturday night, the winds will continue, causing blowing and drifting snow for those areas that get hit hard with a lot of snow. The strong gusty winds may also create scattered power outages across the region.

Along coastal sections, tidal flooding will be a concern. An onshore flow coupled with a new moon will cause coastal flooding during the high tide cycle on Saturday. For now, minor to moderate flooding is expected.  

The good news is the sun the will be out on Sunday, but it will be still be a cold and blustery day. Temperatures may not get out of the 20s. 

Timing it all out:

  • Friday: Scattered snow showers possible
  • Friday night: Steadier snow develops
  • Saturday: Snow, heavy at times. Winds will be gusty as well resulting in white-out conditions.
  • Saturday night: Snow tapers off, but it remains windy. Blowing and drifting snow will continue.
  • Sunday: Sunny, but cold. The threat for blowing and drifting snow continues before the winds finally diminish during the day.