Will a Nor'easter kickoff spring with East Coast snow?

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Nor'Easter Could Bring Big Snow To New England

By John Erdman, Weather.com

A potential nor'easter may bring snow to the East Coast just after spring officially arrives, despite a winter that had been relatively lacking in snow, with one big exception.

READ MORE: The Science Behind the First Day of Spring

If you needed any more reminders of how changeable the weather can be this time of year, this is your exhibit A.

Consider what we've seen recently in the East:

If it wasn't for the near record-setting snowfall from Winter Storm Jonas, New York's Central Park would be on pace for its least snowy season in 14 years. Only 4.8 inches of snow has fallen outside of that late January snowstorm.

Look back on how the U.S. faired this winter:

21 PHOTOS
Snow, winter weather 2015-2016 season across the U.S.
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Will a Nor'easter kickoff spring with East Coast snow?
LUBBOCK, TEXAS - DECEMBER 27: A highway worker tries to shield himself while walking to his truck on December 27, 2015 in Lubbock, Texas. Coming on the heels of several strong tornadoes, some northern parts of Texas are experiencing blizzard conditions with wind gusts up to 50 mph and as much as 13 inches of snow forecast. (Photo by John Weast/Getty Images)
NEDERLAND, CO - DECEMBER 15: Steve Hauser plows snow in the Caribou Shopping Center in Nederland, Colorado on December 15, 2015. Snow is expected to continue throughout the day. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
NEDERLAND, CO - DECEMBER 15: A yellow lab waits patiently in his owner's snowy old truck along East 1st Street in Nederland, Colorado on December 15, 2015. Snow is expected to continue throughout the day. The dog looked warm and didn't wait long in the car as his owner returned shortly after an errand in the town. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - DEC. 15: Anna Renton, 7, right, relaxes while neighbor Graham Langner, 7, has a snow fight with his nanny, Ashely Kish.The Denver metro area received more snow than expected overnight, closing schools across the city with some areas measuring a foot of snow by the early morning. (Photo by Kathryn Scott Osler/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
LAKEWOOD, CO - DECEMBER 15: Crut Liles clears snow from his walkways outside his home in Lakewood, December, 15, 2015. Many schools in the area are closed due to the snow storm. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - DEC. 15: A CDOT crew runs their plow truck southbound on Colorado Blvd. near E. 13th Ave. in Denver. The Denver metro area received more snow than expected overnight, closing schools across the city with some areas measuring a foot of snow by the early morning. (Photo by Kathryn Scott Osler/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Al Frelk walks his dog, Shiba, 10, in Lords Park in Elgin, Ill., on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015. Asked about the snow, Frelk said, 'It's beautiful, but can be tough to drive in. Though Shiba has been waiting 9 months for this.' The first winter storm of the season dropped more than 10 inches of snow at numerous Chicagoland locations. (Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 17: Snow hit the Denver metro area having an impact on air travel at Denver International Airport. They were clearing out from the snow on Tuesday, November 17, 2015. Raul Hernandez shovels snow in the economy lot. Hernandez and his crew had worked all night to clear snow. (Photo by Cyrus McCrimmon/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
LAKEWOOD, CO - NOVEMBER 11: Brandon Nelli, a student at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood, shovels snow during a Veteran's Day snow storm the moved into the area overnight, November, 11, 2015. Lakewood got almost 3 inches in some areas form the storm. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 11: A blanket of white snow covers Fort Logan National Cemetery during a Veteran's Day snow storm the moved into the area overnight, November, 11, 2015. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
MONUMENT, CO. - November 17: Bob Swift clearing his driveway of a deep drift of snow in Monument, CO. November 17, 2015 Monument, CO (Photo By Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
An above-average amount of snow covers a small cabin near where the first snow survey of winter conducted by the California Department of Water Resources in Phillips, California December 30, 2015. REUTERS/Fred Greaves
Cameron Shonnard backflips a jump at Squaw Valley in Olympic Valley, California, December 5, 2015. An El Nino is forecasted for California, and regular precipitation has been welcomed after years of drought. REUTERS/Max Whittaker TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Fresh snow clings to trees near Big Bend, California, December 4, 2015. An El Nino is forecasted for California, and regular precipitation has been welcomed after years of drought. Picture taken December 4. REUTERS/Max Whittaker
The U.S. Capitol dome can be seen behind piles of snow removed from parking areas and walkways around the Capitol grounds in Washington January 26, 2016. The snowbound Washington area was resuming partial business on Tuesday as trains and buses restarted near-normal service, while federal offices remained closed following a massive blizzard that hammered the U.S. East Coast. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Floodwaters cover Green Avenue after a winter storm in Manasquan, New Jersey, January 24, 2016. A morning high tide surge of 2 feet followed snowfall of about 2 feet in the first major storm of the season. REUTERS/Dominick Reuter
A couple poses for a photo on a snow pile during a snow storm in Times Square in the Manhattan borough of New York, January 23, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, UNITED STATES - 2016/02/15: Snow is once again falling across Washington, D.C on Monday, 15 February 2016. The bitter cold was replaced by snow, sleet and rain Monday in the mid-Atlantic states and the South, but many residents were able to hunker down at home with federal offices and many businesses closed for Washington's Birthday. (Photo by Probal Rashid/LightRocket via Getty Images)
A barn painted with the U.S. flag is seen in the snow covered field in Kanawha, Iowa, United States, January 16, 2016. Iowa will be the first state to hold its primary, with both Democratic and Republican events being held February 1, 2016. Picture taken January 16, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young
Police officers gather outside the Montgomery County Courthouse, where actor and comedian Bill Cosby will arrive for a preliminary hearing on sexual assault charges, in Norristown, Pennsylvania February 2, 2016. Cosby has been charged with the 2004 sexual assault of Andrea Constand, a former women's basketball team manager at Temple University in Philadelphia, Cosby's alma mater. REUTERS/Mark Makela REUTERS/Mark Makela
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It only stands to reason, then, that a chance of snow moves into the East after all that.

Let's break down what we know, and what we still don't know at this time.

Big Question Marks

As is fairly typical for most East Coast snow events, there remains a degree of uncertainty this far out.

First, colder air will gradually work its way into the East Friday, a pattern change led by a gyre of low pressure is slowly spinning down over the Great Lakes.

READ MORE: Midwest Winds, Snow From a Pattern Change

One of the reasons for the uncertainty is a complicated upper-level pattern. Exactly how the interaction of (A) a digging shortwave trough from the Rockies, (B) a remnant circulation from the aforementioned Midwest gyre and (C) a sharp southward dip in the jet stream nosediving southeastward from Canada will help determine how this potential East Coast system evolves.

In response to all this, low pressure should develop and intensify somewhere near or off the East Coast Sunday and Monday.

The $64,000 question then is, "Where will the center of low pressure track?"

The setup Sunday/Monday

A closer track to the East Coast would bring a better chance of significant snow, or perhaps even a period of rain closer to the coast, from parts of Virginia and North Carolina to New England. At this time, the majority of our guidance suggests this potential Sunday and Monday, to some degree.

However, it's too early to rule out a track farther offshore, which would only brush coastal New England with light snow, leaving other areas except in the Appalachians dry. This scenario is now looking less likely based on the computer model forecast guidance that came out on Thursday afternoon.

(FORECAST: Boston | New York | Philadelphia | Washington D.C. | Bangor, Maine)

Our latest forecast Sunday and Monday is shown below.

If the snowier East Coast scenario would come to pass, this could pose travel headaches including flight delays/cancellations out of some major Northeast hubs and a challenging Monday morning commute in parts of New England.

MAPS: 10-Day Forecast Highs/Lows | Weekly Planner

Fortunately, this system should move rather quickly, either out to sea or into Atlantic Canada by Monday night.

Check back with us at weather.com for the latest on this potential storm and any likely forecast changes ahead.

Sunday's outlook: Areas in pink denote either rain or snow may fall. Areas in blue denote where snow may fall.

Sunday's outlook: Areas in pink denote either rain or snow may fall. Areas in blue denote where snow may fall.

Monday's outlook: Areas in pink denote either rain or snow may fall. Areas in blue denote where snow may fall.

Monday's outlook: Areas in pink denote either rain or snow may fall. Areas in blue denote where snow may fall.

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