Winter storm warnings issued, 45 million on alert for East Coast nor'easter

The Northeast is bracing for an onslaught from a nor'easter this weekend, which is expected to be the East Coast's first major winter storm of the year.

About 45 million Americans from Georgia to Maine are under winter weather alerts as the storm could bring heavy snow, strong winds and dangerous ice, FOX Weather reports

Widespread Winter Storm Warnings are in effect for several inches of snow across swaths of the interior mid-Atlantic, Northeast and New England, including Boston and the northern Interstate 95 corridor.

The heaviest snowfall is expected in regions including the Poconos in Pennsylvania, parts of the Hudson Valley and portions of New England. However, winter storm warnings and watches were in effect throughout much of the Northeast, according to The Associated Press. 

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Elsewhere, the concern is ice — with up to a quarter of an inch forecast for parts of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and West Virginia. 

New York City and New Jersey snow forecast


Snow flurries fall as the New York skyline is seen on the background of the Hudson River from Weehawken, New Jersey, on January 6, 2024. (Photo by Kena Betancur / AFP) (Photo by KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)

The first nor'easter of 2024 is plowing through the NYC area, prompting winter storm warnings for parts of New Jersey and New York and dumping heavy snow and rain on the region.

While NYC has a chance of breaking the streak of no 1-inch snow days, total accumulation still depends on the intensity of snowfall and the timing of the snow-to-rain transition Saturday evening, FOX 5 New York reports. 

It is an incredibly tricky and uncertain forecast for New York City as the city will be on the rain-snow line for much of the storm.


Forecast snow totals for the nor'easter in New York City area through Sunday.(FOX Weather)

As for New Jersey, if you live above the turnpike, you’ll most likely see snow. 

Click here for more from FOX 5 New York. 

Philadelphia snow forecast

Philadelphia and surrounding areas are bracing for a coastal storm that will bring rain, snow or a mix of both to parts of the Delaware Valley this weekend, FOX 29 Philadelphia reports. 

Saturday morning saw the first snow and rain encroach the western suburbs and South Jersey.

Forecasters say the storm will barge into the area around 3 p.m. Saturday, with a wintry mix in Philadelphia, and rain in South Jersey and Delaware. 


A Winter Storm Watch has been issued for parts of the Lehigh Valley, while most areas can expect a dusting or all rain. (FOX 29)

In the Poconos, a Winter Storm Watch has been issued for the northernmost reaches of the area, including Northampton, Carbon and Monroe counties. Forecasters believe these places could see snowfall totals between 6–10 inches between Saturday afternoon and late-day Sunday. 

Click here for more from FOX 29 Philadelphia

Washington, D.C. snow forecast

Snow, sleet and freezing rain started to move in to the D.C. area Saturday morning, FOX 5 D.C. reports. 

With overnight temperatures in many spots dropping below freezing, including 20s out to the west of town, the ground will be cold enough to welcome any snow that happens to fall as the system moves in.  


(FOX 5 DC)

The snow is expected to start moving in from southwest to northeast between 7-9 a.m. It is likely to start as a period of snow, even in metro D.C. 

The snow may come down steady enough to even coat the ground and some untreated roadways in a few places. The winter wonderland portion of this storm is not expected to last long in D.C. As the storm intensifies to the south, southern winds will push warmer air off the Atlantic inland, pushing the rain/snow line westward as well. 

Click here for more from FOX 5 D.C.

Winter storm could end snowfall drought

A snowfall drought has been setting records across the eastern U.S. — and this storm may end it in some cities. For the number of consecutive days with less than an inch of snow, Philadelphia reached 705 days through Friday — beating the prior record of 661 days that ended on Dec. 15, 1973.


Current winter weather alerts in effect through Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024. (FOX Weather)

New York City went 691 days through Friday, outstripping the prior record of 383 days that ended on March 21, 1998. Baltimore reached 707 days through Friday, a record, with a prior record of 672 days that ended on Dec. 25, 2012.

Temperatures have been warmer than normal, making it hard for precipitation to fall as snow. Some storms that recently tracked through the Northeast were carrying warm air from the South and moisture that fell as rain, Stachelski said.

El Nino effects also played a role, he said, by preventing cold air from getting into the East long enough to interact with moisture that storms are bringing, which is key for precipitation to fall as snow.


A car remains stuck in heavy snow along South Park Avenue December 27, 2022 in Buffalo, New York. The historic winter storm Elliott dumped up to four feet of snow. More is expected upstate New York this weekend. (Photo by John Normile/Getty Images)

Pedro DiNezio, associate professor of oceanic and atmospheric science at the University of Colorado Boulder, said the pattern of rain - rather than snow - in the fall and winter has been predicted by climate models.

"It will snow less frequently and more of the storms will dump rain as opposed to snow in the U.S. Northeast," he said.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont says it’s been about two years since a major storm has hit the state.

"I think this storm’s been a long time coming," Lamont said. "It’s been over two years since we’ve had a storm of this magnitude, 6 to 12 inches. We’ve got a lot of salt piled up here; it’s been piling up for a while (and) some shiny new snow plows."

FOX Weather and The Associated Press contributed to this report.