Winter Storm Niko to become a northeast snowstorm: Winter storm warnings issued for Philadelphia, New York City, Boston

The Weather Channel

Winter Storm Niko will likely bring heavy snow to a sizable swath of the Interstate 95 Northeast corridor Wednesday night through Thursday. Some areas could pick up a half-foot or more of snow in a short amount of time.

The snow will make for a difficult commute and will likely trigger significant flight delays Thursday in Boston, New York City, and Philadelphia.

(MORE: Winter Storm Central | How Winter Storms Are Named)

Winter storm warnings have now been posted by the National Weather Service for all of southern New England, southward into eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and parts of northern Delaware and northern Maryland. This includes the Boston, Providence, Hartford, New York City and Philadelphia.

Winter storm watches extend into southern New Hampshire and coastal Maine and south into parts of northern Maryland north of Baltimore and Washington D.C., as well as parts of eastern West Virginia.

Winter Weather Alerts, Credit: TWC

The setup for this snow event features a pattern seen frequently in past winters, but not so much this winter.

A sharp southward plunge of the polar jet stream in the East will spawn an area of low pressure off the Eastern seaboard by Thursday.

East Coast Setup Wednesday Night into Thursday, Credit: TWC

With some cold air in place behind departing Winter Storm Maya, Niko should wrap moisture into sufficient cold air to wring out snow, heavy at times, near the Interstate 95 corridor.

Check out some of the worst snowstorms

11 PHOTOS
10 of the biggest snowstorms in history
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10 of the biggest snowstorms in history

10. The Knickerbocker Storm of 1922

View of a car buried in snow during the so-called Knickerbocker Storm, a blizzard that dropped 28 inches of snow on Washington DC, January 28, 1922. The storm, which also affected a large portion of the Eastern Seaboard, was named after the collapse of DC's Knickerbocker Theatre, caused by the excess weight of the snow on the structure's roof, which resulted in 98 deaths and 113 injuries; later, both the building's owner and architect committed suicide.

(Photo by Herbert A. French/Buyenlarge/Getty Images)

9. Blizzard Of 1888

A man stands by a snow hut, after the Great Blizzard of 1888, with U.S. Capitol in background, Washington, D.C. According to History.com, 55 inches of snow piled up in some areas and hundreds of people were killed.

(Photo by Buyenlarge/Getty Images)

8. The Blizzard of 1996

The Blizzard of '96 was a severe nor'easter that paralyzed the U.S. East Coast with up to 4 feet of wind-driven snow from January 6 to January 8, 1996. It is one of only two snowstorms to receive the top rating of 5, or 'Extreme', on the Northeast Snowfall Impact Scale. Looking west down Penn. Ave from the US Capitol during the Blizzard.

(Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images)

7. 2008 Blizzard in Tibet

Journeying outside of the Unites States, Tibet got a surprise storm that lasted 36 hours and dropped upwards of five feet of snow causing buildings to collapse and at least seven deaths

(Photo credit: Getty)

6. 1959 storm on Mount Shasta

Number six is the storm on Mount Shasta in California in 1959 which unloaded 189 inches of snow on the locals and is considered the largest snowfall from a single storm in North America according to NOAA.

(Photo by Frederic Lewis/Archive Photos/Getty Images)

2. Blizzard of 1977

At number two is the blizzard of '77 in Buffalo, New York. Powerful and sustained winds created massive snow drifts.

(Photo by Ira Block/National Geographic/Getty Images)

5. Blizzard of 1971

Next is the Eastern Canadian Blizzard of 1971. It is said the event closed down the Montreal Forum, canceling a Montreal Canadiens hockey game, something that hasn't occurred since the flu epidemic of 1918.

(Photo by Dave Norris/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

4. New England Blizzard of 1978

At number four is the New England Blizzard of 1978. Stalling over New England, this storm struck during the day, dropping over 27 inches of snow and stranding many at schools, businesses and others in their cars.

(Photo by David L Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

3. The Great Snow of 1717

Then there was the Great Snow of 1717 over the New England Area. With five feet of snow already on the ground, around four more fell on top of that creating drifts as tall as 25 feet, burying entire houses.

(Photo via Getty Images)

1. Blizzard of 1967

But the storm to top them all is the Blizzard of 1967. Laying waste to the Midwest, this storm took 76 lives, set the record snowfall for Chicago with 23 inches and was preceded by a severe tornado outbreak with temperatures in the 60's.

(Photo by Robert Abbott Sengstacke/Getty Images)

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As virtually always is the case, there are uncertainties on the exact track and forward speed of Niko. The latest forecast guidance is suggesting a track favorable for widespread accumulating snow, with the heaviest amounts from eastern Pennsylvania and the New York City Tri-State area into southern New England.

(MORE: It's Peak Time for Northeast Snowstorms)

Here's the timeline and how much snow could fall.

Wednesday Night

  • Snow spreads from the Ohio Valley and Appalachians into the Northeast.
  • The line separating rain from snow is still uncertain, making the forecast for the transition from rain to snow difficult from far southeast Pennsylvania to Maryland, the Delmarva Peninsula and northern Virginia.
  • At least some snow is most likely overnight north of Interstate 95, from north of Philadelphia to southern New England, including the New York City Tri-State area.
Wednesday Night's Forecast, Credit: TWC

Thursday

  • Snow, heavy for some, may linger in parts of the mid-Atlantic states as far north as New York City through the morning before tapering off/ending by early afternoon.
  • Farther north, snow, heavy at times, will persist much of the day in New England, especially in southern and eastern New England.
  • Snow will gradually taper off in far eastern New England Thursday night. They will be most persistent in Cape Cod (ocean-effect bands) and in Downeast Maine.
  • Winds will intensify quickly along the northeast coast Thursday, with gusts over 50 mph possible in far southeast New England, capable of some downed tree limbs and wires. Some minor coastal flooding is also possible in eastern Massachusetts.
  • Thursday AM commute impact: Philadelphia, Harrisburg, New York City, possibly parts of Baltimore and Washington D.C. metros; Flight delays likely.
  • Thursday PM commute impact: Boston, Hartford, New York City; Lingering flight delays possible as far south as Philadelphia.


Thursday's Forecast, Credit: TWC

How Much Snow?

  • In general, moderate to locally heavy accumulations of a half-foot or more are possible from eastern Pennsylvania and much of New Jersey into southern and eastern New England, including the Boston metro area, New York City Tri-State area and possibly the Philadelphia metro area.
  • Parts of Long Island, southeast Massachusetts and Downeast Maine could see up to a foot of snow.
  • Lighter amounts are forecast farther south into the mid-Atlantic region, including the Baltimore and Washington D.C. metros.
  • Blowing and drifting snow is likely, at times, in far southeastern Massachusetts, including Cape Cod, Nantucket Island and Martha's Vineyard, with some whiteout conditions possible, Thursday and Thursday night.

Before reaching the East, a stripe of snow will also blanket parts of the central Plains and Ohio Valley, with generally light to moderate snow.

(MAPS: 48-Hour U.S. Snow Forecast | 7-Day Rain/Snow U.S. Forecast)

Around 2 inches of snow had fallen in Omaha, Nebraska, and in parts of the Des Moines, Iowa, metro area Wednesday morning. A stripe of northern Nebraska picked up heavier snow, lead by 10 inches of snow in Ainsworth.

Winter's Forgotten Corridor

If you love snow, this winter has been a big disappointment in parts of the mid-Atlantic states.

Baltimore's paltry 0.7 inches of snow through Feb. 7, just under 12 inches below average for the season, has been the third-least snowy start to the season on record, dating to 1949-1950, according to NOAA's ACIS database.

See winter weather from this season

59 PHOTOS
Winter weather 2016-2017 -- snow, ice and sleet
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Winter weather 2016-2017 -- snow, ice and sleet

Dogs walk through the snow during a spring snow storm in Boston, Massachusetts April 4, 2016.

(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

People walk through Times Square during a snow storm on January 7, 2017 in New York City.

(Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)

A woman walks in the snow at Times Square in New York U.S., January 31, 2017.

(REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

A man sweeps the street after snow fell in Manhattan, New York City, U.S. December 17, 2016.

(REUTERS/Kevin Coombs)

A young child smiles while catching snow flakes on his tongue during snow flurries in New York, U.S., January 31, 2017.

(REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

Semi-truck driver Don Kerns removes chains from his truck during record rain and snow outside Lakeview, Oregon, U.S., January 5, 2017.

(REUTERS/Jim Urquhart)

A snowman stands in Times Square following a morning snow in Manhattan, New York City, U.S. December 17, 2016.

(REUTERS/Andrew Kelly)

A man skis under a snowfall in Central Park during a winter storm on January 7, 2017 in New York.

(EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

A woman walks through snow as it falls in New York City, U.S., January 31, 2017.

(REUTERS/Brendan McDermid)

A general view of snow covered seats at New Era Field before a game between the Buffalo Bills and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

(Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports)

Snow falls in the streets of Chicago, United States on December 11, 2016.

(Photo by Bilgin Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Siblings (L-R) Leo, Max and Zoe Zavrachy, on vacation from Ireland, ride down a snow covered hill on Boston Common during a snow storm on the second day of spring in Boston, Massachusetts March 21, 2016.


(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

A person crosses Delancey Street during morning snow in Manhattan, New York City, U.S. December 17, 2016.

(REUTERS/Andrew Kelly)

A woman walks through snow as it falls in New York, U.S., January 31, 2017.

(REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

A worker clears the snow from the crosswalk in Times Square, Manhattan, New York City, U.S. December 17, 2016.

(REUTERS/Andrew Kelly)

A person walks over the Brooklyn Bridge during morning snow in Manhattan, New York City, U.S. December 17, 2016.

(REUTERS/Andrew Kelly)

Snow is cleared from the Donner Pass rest area at Donner Pass summit during a winter storm, near Truckee, California, U.S. January 7, 2017.

(Bob Strong / Reuters)

People walk under a snowfall as they visit Central Park during a Winter storm on January 7, 2017 in New York.

(EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

People walk under a snowfall as they visit Central Park during a winter storm on January 7, 2017 in New York.

(EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Children play under a snowfall in Central Park during a winter storm on January 7, 2017 in New York.

(EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

A woman falls down as people walk under a snowfall as they visit Central Park during a winter storm on January 7, 2017 in New York.

(EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

People walk amid a snowfall in Central Park during a Winter storm on January 7, 2017 in New York.

(EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

A snow boarder prepares his gear at the Mount Rose Highway summit during a winter storm near Incline Village, Nevada, U.S., January 7, 2017.

(REUTERS/Bob Strong)

Motorists travel through heavy snow on the Mount Rose Highway during a winter storm near Incline Village, Nevada, U.S., January 7, 2017.

(REUTERS/Bob Strong)

A person prepares to throw a snowball at their companion during a winter snow storm in Medford, Massachusetts, U.S. January 7, 2017.

(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

Marine One blows up a cloud of snow as it lands on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 7, 2017.

(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

Two dogs play in the snow during a winter snow storm in Medford, Massachusetts, U.S. January 7, 2017.

(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

A pedestrian walks through the snow during a winter storm in Medford, Massachusetts, U.S. January 7, 2017.

(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

People walk through Central Park during a snow storm in New York City, U.S. January 7, 2017.

(REUTERS/Stephanie Keith)

People walk through Central Park during a snow storm on January 7, 2017 in New York City.

(Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)

A woman plays under a snowfall in Central Park during a winter storm on January 7, 2017 in New York.

(EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

People walk through Times Square during a snow storm on January 7, 2017 in New York City.

(Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)

People walk along The Mall in Central Park during a snow storm on January 7, 2017 in New York City.

(Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)

A snowboarder rides over a ridge of snow in the afternoon sunlight on the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of year at Hunter Mountain ski area in Hunter, New York, U.S., December 21, 2016.

(REUTERS/Mine Segar)

People walk through Central Park following morning snow in Manhattan, New York City, U.S. December 17, 2016.

(REUTERS/Andrew Kelly)

A young Native American man rides his horse through the snow near the Oceti Sakowin camp as "water protectors" continue to demonstrate against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S., December 4, 2016.

(REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

Snow falls in the streets of Chicago, United States on December 11, 2016.

(Photo by Bilgin Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Footsteps can be seen on a recently cleared sidewalk during a spring snow storm in Boston, Massachusetts April 4, 2016.

(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

A pedestrian crosses the road during a snow storm on the second day of spring in Boston, Massachusetts March 21, 2016.

(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

Snow falls in the streets of Chicago, United States on December 11, 2016.

(Photo by Bilgin Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

A woman with an umbrella walks through the snow during a spring snow storm in Boston, Massachusetts April 4, 2016.

(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

A cyclist passes pedestrians on a sidewalk on 12th Avenue in the Manhattan borough of New York City as snow falls February 15, 2016.

(REUTERS/Mike Segar)

A woman stands on a snow covered path at Central Park in New York, U.S., January 6, 2017.

(REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

Snow falls in the streets of Chicago, United States on December 11, 2016.

(Photo by Bilgin Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 11: Snow falls in the streets of Chicago, United States on December 11, 2016. (Photo by Bilgin Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

A man walks in the snow at Times Square in New York U.S., January 31, 2017.

(REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

New England Patriots fans are seen standing in the snow, sleet, and freezing rain in anticipation of seeing their team at city hall plaza during Super Bowl LI victory parade in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., February 7, 2017.

(REUTERS/Barry Chin/Pool)

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 13: A woman and her grandchilden sled on Boston Common following a winter storm February 13, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. Another winter storm has brought heavy snow and wind to the region. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 13: A woman feeds pigeons near the Boston Common following a winter storm February 13, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. Another winter storm has brought heavy snow and wind to the region. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 13: A worker uses a tractor to plow the sidewalks around the Boston Common following a winter storm February 13, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. Another winter storm has brought heavy snow and wind to the region. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
LYNNFIELD, MA - FEBRUARY 13: A snow plow works to widen a street during a snow storm February 13, 2017 in Lynnfield, Massachusetts. Another winter storm has brought heavy snow and wind to the region. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 12: Ross Wilson, 9, of Boston and his brother, Sam, 7, take advantage of the snow as they sled down a hill on the Boston Common in Boston on Feb. 12, 2017. (Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
QUINCY, MA - FEBRUARY 9: An owl toughs out the blizzard sweeping through the region on a branch in the Squantum neighborhood of Quincy, MA on Feb. 9, 2017. (Photo by Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
QUINCY, MA - FEBRUARY 9: Snow and ice coat the window of an inbound MBTA Red Line train at Quincy Central station in Quincy, MA on Feb. 9, 2017. MBTA trains kept running as a blizzard swept through the region. (Photo by David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Pedestrians walk up a street on Beacon Hill during white-out, blizzard-like conditions in a winter nor'easter snow storm in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. February 9, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Residents dig out following a winter snow storm in the Boston suburb of Wakefield, Massachusetts, U.S. February 13, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Surfers take advantage of wind and waves from a winter snow storm in Gloucester, Massachusetts, U.S. February 13, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
A man clears snow off his vehicle following a winter snow storm in Somerville, Massachusetts, U.S. February 13, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
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Harrisburg, Pennsylvania's, 1.9 inches for the season is over 15 inches below the average to-date.

Even for some Northeast locations that have seen some snow this winter, it's been a while since there has been snow that has required a plow or shovel.

(MORE: Winter Storms 2016-2017 Season, So Far)

Philadelphia's last one inch or more snowfall was about a month ago, Jan. 5-7, during Winter Storm Helena. New York's Central Park hasn't seen any snow cover since Jan. 15. Even notoriously snowy Boston has only seen 1.4 inches of snow since Jan. 8.

Early January's Winter Storm Helena was the heaviest snow event so far this season in Boston (8.3 inches), New York City (6.3 inches) and Philadelphia (4.9 inches).

The most persistent storm track so far this winter has featured a southward plunge of the jet stream in the West, with a northward bend of the jet in the East. This has meant the more frequent, heavy snowstorms have been confined from the West to the northern Plains and upper Midwest, while the East has been quite mild.

(MORE: America's Most Winter-Fatigued City Not Where You'd Expect)

Several locations in the Northeast had one of their top-10-warmest Januaries on record in 2017 – quite a shift from last winter.

Winter Storm Jonas in late January 2016 was the heaviest snowstorm of record in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Baltimore/Washington International Airport and New York's Central Park, among other locations.

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