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NYC, Philadelphia could see wet roads, heavy snow as front pushes eastward

Travel delays could be in store for large parts of mid-Atlantic region

By Alex Sosnowski, Accuweather.com
A gull surveys its surroundings near the Brooklyn Bridge in January, when snowfall in the city and surrounding region was commonplace at times. Forecasters say there is the potential for new snow to come down at the rate of 1-3 inches per hour Tuesday morning and midday from New York City to Philadelphia. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
A gull surveys its surroundings near the Brooklyn Bridge in January, when snowfall in the city and surrounding region was commonplace at times. Forecasters say there is the potential for new snow to come down at the rate of 1-3 inches per hour Tuesday morning and midday from New York City to Philadelphia. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Millions from the Mississippi and Ohio valleys to southern New England are bracing for a storm with the potential for heavy snow that AccuWeather meteorologists have been tracking for at least two weeks.

In much of the mid-Atlantic, the storm will begin as rain Monday evening, but a change to snow is likely by Tuesday as colder air invades the tail end of the storm.

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Within the zone from New York City to Philadelphia, roads may just be wet in some neighborhoods, while other areas may have to be plowed.

There is the potential for the snow to come down at the rate of 1-3 inches per hour Tuesday morning and midday from New York City to Philadelphia. How quickly the temperature drops Tuesday morning, along with the exact track and intensity of a storm near the coast, will determine how heavy the snow will be, how long it will last and how quickly road conditions deteriorate.

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"How much snow accumulates in the heart of New York City and Philadelphia will be greatly affected by the rate of snow," AccuWeather Chief On-Air Meteorologist Bernie Rayno said, adding, "If it snows lightly, the air will not cool so fast, and the snow will melt as it falls on most paved surfaces. However, if it snows at a heavy rate, it can overcome the warm ground, and conditions will transition rapidly from wet to slushy to snow-covered in an hour or two."

New York City Public Schools have announced that Tuesday will be a virtual learning day, according to ABC7.

At this time, New York City is projected to pick up 1-3 inches of snow, and Philadelphia can expect a coating to an inch or so. Snow may increase substantially on the northern and western fringes of the metro areas to the more distant northern and western suburbs. From 6 to 10 inches will fall just north and west of New York City, with 1-3 inches in store for much of Bucks and Montgomery counties in Pennsylvania, just northwest of Philadelphia.

"Should this storm shift its track farther to the south and east, it may not be able to tap into the colder air sitting just to the north. In this case, it may not snow hard enough to accumulate or only accumulate a smaller amount than portrayed and not only in the zone from New York City to Philadelphia, as well as areas farther to the north in the central Appalachians and southern New England," Rayno explained.

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Airline passengers should expect flight delays due to deicing operations. Should the snowstorm develop to its full potential, flight cancellations will mount. In areas where several inches of snow falls and melts during the day, runoff may freeze each night, leaving dangerous icy patches for motorists and pedestrians.

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Whether roads are just wet in some neighborhoods or blanketed with several inches in others, the pattern this week and the next will favor more seasonable temperatures and additional opportunities for snow or mixed precipitation events.

Colder air will filter across the Northeast in the wake of the early-week storm. Typical highs this time of the year are within a few degrees of 40 F with overnight lows ranging from the upper 20s to the lower 30s. The colder, more seasonable conditions will allow some who enjoy winter sports, such as skiing, to hit the slopes through the end of the month.

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