The East Coast is getting battered by a fierce winter storm, with heavy snow and potential flooding set to last from Tuesday through Sunday. It's the fourth nor'easter in less than three weeks, and if you live anywhere near New England, you may be wondering which cities Winter Storm Toby will hit during its expected six-day journey.
It's impossible to say with any certainty, but according to the Weather Channel, winter storm warnings and watches are in effect as far north as Boston and as far south as Asheville, North Carolina. Heavy snow is expected to fall along the I-95 corridor from the Washington D.C. metro to southern New England. And although Toby is expected to be concentrated in coastal states, the National Weather Service has issued winter storm warnings for parts of Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana, and tornado warnings in Florida and Georgia.
It's no surprise, then, that the storm will have effects in major cities across several states. Winter Storm Toby is expected to affect Boston, Philadelphia, New York, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Charleston, Cincinnati, Lexington, Roanoke, Raleigh and most places in between. Most of those places are expected to receive heavy snow, rain or winds. Some coastal flood warnings are in effect as well.
The National Weather Service has issued a flurry of watches, warnings and advisories for the affected areas, and it's worth noting the distinction between them. A watch is the least severe and most preliminary distinction, according to the NWS, and is issued when "conditions are favorable for a significant winter storm event." Once those conditions produce actual "snow, blowing snow, ice, sleet, or a combination of these wintery elements," a watch is upgraded to an advisory. The most severe distinction is a winter storm warning; when those are issued in a given area, "travel will become difficult or impossible in some situations," the NWS says, and residents are advised to delay any travel plans.
Winter storm watches are currently in effect in Pike, Lackawanna, Luzerne and Southern Wayne counties in Pennsylvania; southeast Maryland, east central and eastern Virginia, including Accomack County; Sullivan and Suffolk counties in New York, and north central and northeast Massachusetts. Winter weather advisories are in effect in Pennsylvania, Indiana, West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland and elsewhere — here's the full list of winter weather advisories from the NWS, which is too long to reproduce here in full. The same goes for winter storm watches, which have been issued in various parts of Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee.
The NWS issued tornado watches for parts of Florida and Georgia, but they're set to expire by early Tuesday evening as Toby moves its way up the east coast.
Toby is expected to bring between four and eight inches of snow to the Baltimore and Washington D.C. areas, according to the NWS. In parts of Pennsylvania and West Virginia, snow will reach five to nine inches, while Maryland and other counties in West Virginia may see as much as 14 inches of snow in certain areas. Toby will produce between four and nine inches of snow in New York.
Toby is the fourth no'reaster to hit the east coast in March; earlier, winter storms Riley, Quinn and Skylar brought snow and rain to the area. The week before Toby struck, Boston had nearly two feet of snow, according to Newsweek, which makes Toby look relatively mild by comparison.
But of course, no winter storm is mild. Airlines began cancelling flights before Toby even hit the northeast, TIME reports, including 10 and 13 percent of flights at Baltimore and Philadelphia International Airports, respectively. The storm is expected to dissipate by Sunday, but if you're planning on traveling anywhere within the affected areas before then, you might want to make alternative arrangements.