Triple threat of snow, ice and rain to disrupt holiday shopping and travel

By Jessica Storm,
Snow, sleet and freezing rain are expected to affect portions of the northeast United States into Saturday night. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Snow, sleet and freezing rain are expected to affect portions of the northeast United States into Saturday night. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Snow, ice and rain are expected to return across the northeastern United States this weekend, disrupting holiday travel and dampening last-minute holiday shopping.

After record-challenging warmth surged across the Northeast over the past week, a chilly mix of precipitation began to arrive on Friday night as sleet was reported in central Pennsylvania that melted away quickly after landing on roads and decks of homes, along with some rain.


Farther north, light snow began falling early on Saturday morning around Jamestown, N.Y., accompanied by a thick layer of cold air. And this is anticipated to be just the beginning as the storm continues to affect the region this weekend.

"Snow, sleet and freezing rain are expected to affect portions of the Northeast into Saturday night," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Lauren Hyde.

There can be several inches of snow across ski country falling throughout the day, bringing a boom to the industry there.


"In the United States, the bull's-eye for heavier snow will center on New England, especially the Green and White Mountains of Vermont and New Hampshire," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Mary Gilbert.

Some of these areas could receive a total of more than 6 inches of snow, with over a foot possible at the peaks.

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"While the highest elevations will encounter the highest snow totals from the event, even snow lovers at lower elevations from New York to northern New England will get their wish this weekend," added Gilbert.

Some cities in New York state like Albany, Syracuse and Buffalo can expect anywhere from 1-3 inches, with the Adirondacks forecast to securely receive over 3 inches of snow and up to 12 in places.

Burlington, Vt., Bangor, Maine. Manchester, N.H. and Montreal, Canada, are all forecast to have 3-6 inches total fall, while Toronto can end up with around 2-4 inches of snow.

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"An AccuWeather Local StormMax of 15 inches is most likely over the ridges and peaks of the mountains into Saturday night," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

While this snow will bring joy to some, it can be equally dangerous, especially during the holidays as the roads bustle with shoppers and travelers alike.


"Travelers, especially on those traversing wide stretches of Interstates 87 and 90 will need to keep aware for changing visibility and slick roadways," Gilbert warned. Those waiting on last-minute gifts in the mail might have to wait a bit longer as shipping gets disrupted.

Snow can produce dangerous conditions by reducing visibility and making roads slick, but it is not the only hazard likely on the roads Saturday -- ice could also coat roads across the Northeast on Saturday.

"For places like Boston and Providence, R.I., the primary form of wintry precipitation will be sleet, rather than all snow," explained Gilbert.

Much of Massachusetts and parts of New York and Connecticut will feature a wintry mix with a glaze of ice expected. Up to one-tenth-of-an-inch of ice is anticipated on elevated and grassy surfaces. AccuWeather forecasters urge motorists to drive slowly and carefully if they have to travel, be aware of changing weather conditions and be sure to have an ice scraper handy. While roads might look just wet, that could be ice instead.

To the south, holiday shoppers will have mainly rain to contend with in places like Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and New York City, dashing hopes for a white Christmas. Saturday can turn out wet with cold rain for the Big Apple, with high temperatures in the 40s, according to the AccuWeather long-range forecasting team.


Precipitation will begin to shift out of the area late on Saturday, lingering on Sunday morning across parts of Maine and Atlantic Canada. For areas that receive rain Saturday afternoon and evening, the threat for icy roads and sidewalks may appear Saturday night as colder air rushes back in again right on the heels of the departing storm.

"Cold air pushing in behind this weekend's storm will keep temperatures at or just below normal for much of the region, but given the warmth many areas achieved to end the week, it will feel much more unseasonable," said Gilbert.

Brisk conditions are forecast across the Northeast on Sunday as flurries litter the northern half of the region. Temperatures will generally be in the 20s, 30s and 40s throughout the day. Sunday night in New York City, temperatures are likely to dip into the upper 20s, several degrees below the average of 33 degrees Fahrenheit. This quick change from warm to winter could lead to increased heating bills for residents across the region.

This seasonably cold pattern is anticipated to continue. There can be a couple of disturbances producing snow showers across the Great Lakes and interior Northeast next week, according to the long-range team.


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