A cold shot may last long enough for a weekend storm to unload snow and a wintry mix across portions of the Ohio Valley, South, and Northeast that have not received much wintry weather since early December or November.
Ultimately, the track of the storm and extent of dry, cold air will determine how far north snow, freezing rain, and sleet occur.
"There are actually two centers associated with the storm," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson.
One storm is projected to drop southeastward from central Canada, and move across the Great Lakes and New England. The other center will move northeastward from the Gulf of Mexico.
"If the two storms remain weak, they are more likely to remain separated, but with at least spotty snow and ice that extends from the Ohio Valley to the interior South and grazes the mid-Atlantic region," Anderson said.
"However, if the two storms phase or merge together and become one big storm, a swath of heavy snow and ice may extend from the Ohio Valley to the central Appalachians, part of the mid-Atlantic and much of New England."
Either way, people with travel plans that take them through the southern and central Appalachians to the mid-Atlantic states this weekend should be prepared for slippery conditions and delays. This includes portions of the interstate 81, 85, 77, 70, 68 and 64 corridors.
There is at least a possibility that more substantial and correspondingly disruptive wintry travel spreads northeastward from portions of Tennessee and Kentucky to North Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and New England.
The last event that brought snow and ice to places like Winston-Salem, N. C., and Roanoke, Va., was on Dec. 8. In cities such as Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York City, the last snowfall was on Nov. 15. There has not been much snow to speak of over parts of the Ohio Valley yet.
A hard winter reality check may occur should the storm escalate to its full potential and possibly deliver several inches to a foot of snow. The lake-effect snow and harsh winds in the Northeast this week may be just a little taste.
The details on the extent, magnitude, and timing of snow and a wintry mix will unfold over the next few days. While this is probably not yet the time to change plans, it may be time to explore alternatives.
Keep checking back for the latest forecast with AccuWeather. Download the free AccuWeather app for snow timing and amounts.