The northeastern United States is in for a wintry blast as the coldest air yet this season charges in with snow showers, squalls and frigid winds as November begins.
Portions of the region are being dealt a wintry card to end the week as rain is expected to changeover to a period of snow from Boston down to Providence, Rhode Island, and Hartford, Connecticut -- the first flakes of the season for these cities. A slushy accumulation is possible, mainly on grassy and elevated surfaces.
As precipitation exits, the sky clears and winds diminish on Friday night, temperatures are expected to dip to frosty and freezing levels along the Interstate 95 corridor.
Despite it remaining cool Saturday afternoon with high temperatures only in the 40s and 50s F, it will be a good day to get out and rake leaves or head to a fall festival with dry weather and partial sunshine expected. The dry weather will stick around through Saturday evening as ghouls and goblins take to the streets for trick-or-treating.
Big changes are on the way by Sunday, forecasters say, as a strong cold front dives southeastward across the Great Lakes and into the Northeast.
"The coldest air mass of the season so far will follow behind the front," AccuWeather Long-Range Meteorologist David Samuhel said.
Out ahead of the front, rain showers are likely to dampen the end of the weekend for places such as Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York City. But behind it, where air with origins from Canada will have settled in, precipitation will take more of a wintry variety.
"Strong winds combined with cold air aloft will produce widespread lake-effect snow showers and bands of heavy snow Sunday into early Monday," Samuhel said.
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The heavier snow bands, known as snow squalls, can cause sudden reductions in visibility and a quick, slippery covering of snow on the roadways. These travel hazards will be most likely to occur downwind of the Great Lakes and may impact stretches of interstates 75, 81 and 90.
A few inches of accumulation are possible where the steadiest snow bands set up.
Motorists in the traditional lake-effect snowbelts may want to use this early-season event as a reminder to make sure their vehicles are equipped for winter weather driving with an emergency kit in stow ahead of the more frequent bouts of lake-effect snow to come heading into the winter.
It's possible that flurries make it all the way to the mid-Atlantic coast on Monday, according to Samuhel.
Even if snowflakes fizzle prior to reaching the I-95 corridor, cold winds will whip through the major metro areas, making it feel more likely early December in some cases.
"Temperatures can be 10-15 degrees Fahrenheit below normal in the Great Lakes on Sunday, and in the Northeast and northern mid-Atlantic on Monday," Samuhel said.
This will put highs in the 30s and 40s for most of the region, with lower 50s in the southern mid-Atlantic. Cool conditions are likely to stick around for Election Day on Tuesday.
Factoring in gusty winds frequenting 20-30 mph and perhaps up to 40-45 mph, AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures can be 10-15 degrees lower than the actual temperature, even where the sun manages to peek out.
But there is good news for those not quite ready for winter's chill -- this cold blast will be a brief one.
"Temperatures will rebound to near or above normal across the Eastern states during the middle and end of next week," Samuhel said.
The moderating temperatures are likely to be accompanied by an extended stretch of dry weather, not just for the Northeast, but for most areas east of the Rockies -- a welcome break after the whirlwind of ice, record cold and a landfalling hurricane this week.
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