The Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions of the U.S. are bracing for what will likely be the first big snowstorm of the year. According to Weather.com, blizzard watches have been issued for Friday afternoon through Saturday night for Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, where Winter Storm Jonas is expected to hit the hardest. In all, 14 states have winter storm watches in effect, as far east as New Jersey and as far west as Arkansas. The National Weather Service called the storm "potentially 'crippling,'" reporting possibilities of snowfall, ice, and coastal flooding. If Jonas dumps the amount of snow currently projected on Washington D.C., it would be the second-largest snow storm in the capital's history, notes NBC News.
Bob Henson, meteorologist and blogger at Weather Underground, noted a surprisingly high level of agreement between computer models forecasting the storm. Fellow meteorologist Chris Dolce notes, also on Weather Underground, that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will be sending out weather balloons every six hours as opposed to the normal 12-hour interval to get more accurate projections of the storm's path.
So what can we be reasonably certain of at the moment? Which areas are almost certain to get hit? What types of inclement weather can we expect?
The Weather Channel reports that at least one foot of snow is likely in Eastern Kentucky, most of West Virginia and Virginia, Northern Delaware, Washington D.C., and Baltimore. Up to two feet of snow can be expected in The D.C./Baltimore area as well as throughout the eastern portion of West Virginia and the western part of Virginia.
Six inches or more of snow may fall in New York City, New Jersey, and along the I-95 corridor. Smaller accumulations may occur as far north as Boston, southwest as Arkansas, and southeast as North Carolina.
The scourge of ice is expected to be worst for portions of Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Power outages, slick roads, and tree damage from ice may occur in these areas.
Forecasters are least certain about the potential impacts of Winter Storm Jonas on the northern side of things, from central Pennsylvania to southern New England. MassLive's Noah R. Bombard reports that more reliable information will be available Thursday and Friday, once it becomes more clear how the storm tracks. Likelihood of snow is relatively high around the Cape and Boston areas, and very high for D.C. and Baltimore, even if the storm ends up tracking offshore.