Winter weather alert: Snow, ice may disrupt weekend travelers in parts of Northeast

Alex Sosnowski

A sneaky storm with rain may tap into just enough fresh cold air to produce some snow and ice on its northern flank as it pushes into the eastern United States this weekend.

A small batch of air from central Canada is forecast to slice across the Great Lakes and into the Northeast during Friday and Friday night.

While that press of cold air may trigger a couple of spotty snow showers over western and northern New York state, northern Pennsylvania and northern and western New England as it first arrives, an approaching storm with rain from the south could cause more regional trouble for travelers along the Interstate 70, 80, 84, 86, 88 and 90 corridors this weekend.

"It looks like a close call this far out as temperatures will be marginal on the northern flank of the storm should the storm reach across the central Appalachians," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Dombek said on Tuesday.

Temperatures will be mainly in the 30s F in this swath. However, while air temperatures may be just above freezing near the ground, temperatures at critical layers in the atmosphere may allow snow and sleet to fall or a mixture of snow, sleet and rain for a time. On colder surfaces, patches of ice may form, which can be an added hazard for motorists.

The storm has the potential to be a player in area football games this weekend, including the Big Ten football matchup between Ohio State and Penn State in Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday. The Columbus area could be on the northern edge of the storm, where snow, rain or a wintry mix can occur.

Rain is likely to fall from much of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, southern Pennsylvania, southeastern New York state and southeastern New England.

However, as the storm begins to shift eastward Saturday night to Sunday morning, rain may end as a period of snow or a wintry mix in parts of southern Ohio, West Virginia, western Maryland, northwestern Virginia, southwestern and south-central Pennsylvania, northern New Jersey, the lower Hudson Valley of New York state and central New England.

"After all, it is late November and storms that bring a combination of rain, ice and snow or a bit of snow at the tail end over the central Appalachians and even the coastal Northeast are not uncommon this time of the year," Dombek said.

Related: Arctic blast brings snow, ice and bone-chilling temps to U.S.

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How cold the air gets and how far north the storm is able to track into the cold air will determine the amount of snow and ice, if any, versus rain from part of the Ohio Valley to the central Appalachians and coastal Northeast.

While a heavy snowfall is not expected, just enough snow and/or a wintry mix can occur to create slippery road conditions. Also, the rainy part of the storm can slow motorists down and reduce visibility and increase emergency stopping distance.

A storm that follows during next week has the potential to produce a large swath of winterlike weather including the chance of heavy snow, strong winds and a freeze-up centered around Wednesday, which is the worst travel day of the Thanksgiving season in lieu of weather conditions.

Download the free AccuWeather app to check the forecast in your area. Keep checking back on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.

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