AccuWeather meteorologists are honing in on the impacts of the storm. Up to several inches of snow is forecast to fall from Missouri to Ohio and Kentucky during the first part of the weekend.
As the storm heads eastward, snow will spread into the southern Appalachians Saturday evening and toward the mid-Atlantic coast later Saturday night. Slow, slippery and dangerous travel conditions are expected to unfold in these areas.
Winter storm to take aim on part of South
"No matter how strong the storm becomes or exactly where it tracks, it looks like a wedge of cold air will get stuck in parts of the Carolinas and Virginia and allow the storm to bring at least some snow and ice," according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Maggie Samuhel.
This storm is not likely to bring the amount of snow that the storm from Dec. 9 did in the South, when 1-2 feet of snow piled up in some locations.
However, several inches to a foot of snow is likely to fall from northwestern North Carolina to western and central Virginia and southern and eastern West Virginia. This means that travel along much of Interstate 81, I-64 and I-77 in this zone may be difficult due to snow covered roads.
Major snowstorm unlikely
As the storm from the Midwest moves across the Appalachians, it is expected to weaken. However, a secondary storm is forecast to develop near the North Carolina coast and take over as the main storm on Sunday.
"How quickly this transfer takes place and exactly how far north the secondary storm forms will determine how far north heavy snow is able to spread over the Northeast," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson.
Only if the storm strengthens dramatically along the coast and turns northward would heavy snow spread into areas from southeastern Pennsylvania and central New Jersey to Massachusetts.
"The concern for a storm from the Great Lakes to merge with the storm on the Atlantic coast and become much stronger and track farther north appears less likely at this time," Anderson said.
This does not mean that absolutely no snow will fall along the upper mid-Atlantic and southern New England coasts. There is still the potential for accumulating snow and slippery conditions in these areas.
Warm waters of the Atlantic tend to steer storms near the coast to the north. In this case, winds at the jet stream level will try to force the storm to the east and out to sea.
It appears the air will be plenty cold enough for snow in the I-95 corridor from northern Virginia to Massachusetts. However, dry air may also be a factor and may work against heavy snow from spreading very far north into the Northeast.
Washington, D.C., has had only 1.4 inches of snow so far this winter season, all of which fell on Nov. 15. The storm this weekend could easily surpass the small amount. At this point, interests around Washington, D.C., should expect slippery travel and delays with the likelihood of enough snow to shovel and plow, but not a giant snowstorm that stops travel for a couple of days.
The same storm on Nov. 15 brought 3.6 inches of snow to Philadelphia and 6.4 inches of snow to New York City. The upcoming weekend storm will likely not dump this amount of snowfall on either city unless it jogs much farther to the north. Snow is not expected to reach Boston at this time.
"The best chance of some snow from the northern tier of Pennsylvania to New York City and southeastern Massachusetts may be during Saturday night as dry air may push southward on Sunday," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Dombek.
AccuWeather meteorologists will continue to closely monitor the storm for changes in strength and the potential for heavier snow farther north.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Alex Sosnowski is an AccuWeather senior meteorologist.