By Kristina Pydynowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
March 18,2017, 9:57:56AM,EDT
Winter will continue to hold its ground this weekend before the official arrival of spring with snow and areas of slippery travel returning to parts of the northeastern United States.A repeat of the Blizzard of 2017 will not occur. However, enough snow can fall to create slick spots and hinder blizzard recovery efforts.
Two separate bands of snow and rain will sweep from the Great Lakes to southern New England and the northern mid-Atlantic through Saturday night.
The snow is expected to leave a slushy coating to 2 inches. The highest amounts will fall on grassy and elevated surfaces, but slick travel can still pose risks to motorists in some communities.
More slick spots are expected on Saturday night under the cover of darkness and as the intensity of the snow increases.
There will be two key areas of concern for a couple inches of snowfall and slippery travel.
One band of snow that led to slick roads in southeastern Michigan on Saturday morning is expected to re-intensify across south-central Pennsylvania on Saturday evening before dropping southward into northern Virginia.
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While there can be rain at the its onset, portions of I-99, I-81, I-70 and I-270 can turn slushy for a time. This includes in Johnstown and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Frederick, Maryland; Martinsburg, West Virginia; and Winchester, Virginia.
“As temperatures fall, rain in Washington, D.C., this evening will change over to a period of snow early Sunday morning,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Steve Travis said.
“The snow will most likely not accumulate in the district itself as temperatures will remain above freezing, but in the northwest suburbs, there can be a slushy coating to an inch or so of accumulation.”
Only if the snow falls heavy for a time would it be able to lightly whiten the district, especially non-paved surfaces.
Where the snow does not create travel problems, residents should get their cameras ready. A gorgeous winter wonderland scene will result as the wet nature of the snow will allow it to cling to everything.
As the storm strengthens offshore, a separate area of steadier snow will unfold from eastern Long Island to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, on Saturday night into Sunday morning.
A few inches of snow and slippery travel are expected in these areas.
Increasingly windy conditions will accompany the snow in southeastern New England, whipping the snow around and further reducing visibility for motorists.
The two snow zones will pass in between New York City and Philadelphia, limiting travel disruptions.
“While there can be some slick spots into early Sunday morning in the New York City area, the snow will not fall heavily enough to cause major travel problems," AccuWeather Meteorologist Brian Thompson said.
"It will be a struggle to even see an inch of snow in New York City and Philadelphia, even on non-paved surfaces.”
The snow in southeastern New England will taper off for Sunday afternoon as high pressure brings the weekend to an end on a dry note across the rest of the Northeast.
Brutal cold will not follow immediately in the wake of the storm.
Temperatures on Sunday will instead rebound back to near 40 F in southern New England to the lower 50s in Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
Those heading to Washington, D.C., for the National Cherry Blossom Festival will enjoy the return of some sunshine on Sunday afternoon.
The opening date of the renowned festival was pushed back from Wednesday, March 15, “due to setup delays caused by the storm,” organizers announced on Twitter.
The milder temperatures will quickly cause the snow from earlier this weekend to start to melt. However, residents should then watch for areas of re-freeze on untreated surfaces at night.
Another blast of cold air will not be far behind.