"Residents throughout the Northeast, from Pittsburgh to Buffalo, New York, Boston and Bangor, Maine, will want to keep a close eye on this system for the potential for slippery, slushy roads and significant travel delays Thursday night and Friday," Tom Kines, AccuWeather senior meteorologist, said.
Rain will first push eastward through the Ohio and Tennessee valleys Wednesday night and Thursday, but it will run into colder air to the north.
"The precipitation will start as rain for most as it moves through the Ohio Valley into parts of the mid-Atlantic Thursday afternoon," Brett Anderson, AccuWeather senior meteorologist, said.
Farther north, snow will break out Thursday across the eastern Great Lakes into New England as a clipper system shifts eastward and gets absorbed by the larger storm to the south.
Rain will change to snow later Thursday and Thursday night across parts of the western Ohio Valley and interior parts of the mid-Atlantic as the storm strengthens and curves north, pulling in colder air on the backside of the storm.
While a major snowstorm is not anticipated, residents across much of northern and western Pennsylvania, most of upstate New York and interior New England are likely to wake up with a fresh blanket of snow Friday morning.
During the day Friday, snow will pivot northward through northern New England and into Canada as the storm tracks into Atlantic Canada. It will also turn increasingly windy throughout the Northeast as the storm will begin to intensify more rapidly.
Even where snow has ended, areas of blowing snow will develop in New England. Blizzard conditions may develop in portions of Atlantic Canada as the storm continues to intensify while moving to the north and east into Friday night.
In the southern portion of the storm, snow amounts are generally expected to range from 1 to 3 or 3 to 6 inches, with a few locally higher totals. Northern New England, around the Green and White mountains, northward into parts of Maine and New Brunswick, will bear the brunt of this storm. Snowfall totals of 6 to 12 inches are likely in these areas, with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 18 inches.
The Friday morning commute could be very slick across much of Pennsylvania and New York through central and northern New England, including places like Pittsburgh, Albany, New York, and Portland, Maine.
To the south, while some snow could mix in with rain for a time before precipitation ends, most of the storm will bring a cold, driving rain from New York City through Philadelphia to Washington, D.C.
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The storm will also begin as rain in southern New England and cities just to the north, such as Boston and Providence, Rhode Island. However, cold air arriving more quickly will give portions of southern New England a better chance of changing to a period of all snow before the storm ends.
Still, most areas of southern New England south and east of the Berkshires are unlikely to see much more than a slushy coating of snow before precipitation ends.
A greater concern across the areas will be for any wet or slushy surfaces to turn icy as temperatures quickly plunge below freezing late Thursday night. Any untreated surfaces could become a significant hazard for the Friday morning commute.
While a significant flooding or severe thunderstorm threat is not anticipated in the Southeast, some downpours and thunderstorms will press across the region. The storms will mark the advance of some of the coldest air of the season throughout the region.
Download the free AccuWeather app to see predicted snow amounts for your area. Keep checking back for updates on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.