The East Coast's first major snowstorm of the year is expected to start cranking tomorrow afternoon, dropping significant snow in the Northeast the busiest travel day of the year. Out of all of the major cities, New York City is poised to see the most, with up to six inches possible.
The storm will drop snow from the mountains of North Carolina northeast through Maine, providing a passing glance with possibly a dusting (or possibly up to an inch) of snow in Washington D.C. and Baltimore. Philadelphia could see up to two inches of snow if the rain changes over to snow early enough. The western suburbs of each city will see a couple of inches of accumulating snow, with totals growing the further north you go.
The heaviest snows will occur in the Northeast, with areas from the Hudson Valley through the Berkshires possibly seeing snowfall totals in the double-digits. One of the most surprising changes is that the National Weather Service now expects northern New Jersey (including Newark) and New York City itself to pick up half a foot of snow from the system. Snowfall totals will gradually taper off to a dusting out towards the end of Long Island.
Snow will begin in the morning around the D.C. area, with rain changing over to snow by early afternoon around New York City.
This kind of snowstorm would be newsworthy in the winter for the travel disruptions it would cause on a good day, but by pure, dumb luck, the storm is hitting some major travel hubs on the busiest travel day of the year. Wonderful!
Cancellations and delays are highly likely as the snow starts falling tomorrow afternoon. Provided airlines don't completely scrap flights in cities like New York or Boston, delays will begin stacking up as crews deice aircraft and plow the runways. General congestion will also take its toll, and cancellations will cause ripples through the system—one plane can make as many as eight to ten flights in a day, all of which would be cancelled if that aircraft is grounded due to snow.
If you're traveling through the affected regions, make sure that you check ahead with your airline (or bus service or Amtrak) to make sure that your plane/train/bus isn't delayed or cancelled. If you're driving through the snow, please don't act like an idiot. Please. The roads are bad enough on Thanksgiving Eve without having to worry about pileups because people can't drive in the snow.
Local National Weather Service offices update their snowfall forecasts every couple of hours. The newest model runs are rolling out as of the publication of this post, so expect forecasters to tweak snowfall totals as we get closer to the event.