March 22, 2024

Heavy snows, flooding rains likely as weekend coastal storm looms

An ugly weekend is shaping up along much of the East Coast as a potent low-pressure system rolls up the Atlantic seaboard.

Our developing system will feed on plenty of moisture streaming in from the south. This ample reserve of evaporated paradise will fuel heavy rains for much of the I-95 corridor, as well as bountiful snows across interior sections of New England.

This low-pressure system was already impressive in its infancy as it got its act together across the southeastern states on Friday.

Powerful thunderstorms rocked the southern tip of Florida, prompting tornado warnings and flash flood alerts across the Florida Keys.

There was even a remarkable long-lived supercell thunderstorm that tracked along the north-central shores of Cuba on Friday afternoon, dropping very large hail west and south of Havana.

We'll see this storm intensify as it rolls up the coast into Saturday, producing very heavy rains along its track. Expect widespread downpours to envelop the I-95 corridor from Richmond to Boston through the day Saturday, lingering into Saturday night for many areas.

Most communities will see several inches of rain in a relatively short period of time. Flash flood watches are in effect from Washington, D.C., up to Boston in anticipation of flooded roads and rising waters on vulnerable creeks.

Farther north, our moisture-laden storm will run into a slug of cold air that'll allow impressive snows to plaster towns from the New York's Tug Hill Plateau all the way through northern Maine. 

The National Weather Service expects more than a foot of snow to blanket the Adirondacks, much of Vermont, northern New Hampshire, and almost all of interior Maine west of I-95.

(Forecast graphic via NWS Caribou)

Things get tricky closer to the coast, where temperatures hovering around freezing will make for mixed precipitation types throughout the storm. Snow will give way to periods of freezing rain or plain ol' rain through Saturday night, then change back over to all snow on Sunday as cold air wraps around the departing system.

Folks around Augusta and Bangor may see an extended period of freezing rain during the switch on Saturday. Areas that see more than one-quarter of an inch of ice accretion may see tree damage and power outages.

The good news, at least, is that this storm isn't going to linger. This weekend's quick-hitting thump will give way to calm conditions and warming temperatures by the beginning of next week.

[Satellite image via NOAA]

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I graduated from the University of South Alabama in 2014 with a degree in political science and a minor in meteorology. I contribute to The Weather Network as a digital writer, and I've written for Forbes, the Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang, Popular Science, Mental Floss, and Gawker's The Vane. My latest book, The Skies Above, is now available. My first book, The Extreme Weather Survival Manual, arrived in October 2015.