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Major snowstorm may strike East Coast on first official spring weekend

Major snowstorm may strike East Coast on first official spring weekend Mashable We're using cookies to improve your experience. Click Here to find out more. Mashable Mashable Mashable Australia Mashable France Mashable India Mashable UK Sign in Like Follow Follow Mashable see more  > Search Videos Social Media Tech Business Entertainment World Lifestyle Watercooler Shop More Channels Videos Social Media Tech Business Entertainment World Lifestyle Watercooler Shop Company About Us Licensing & Reprints Archive Mashable Careers Contact Contact Us Submit News Advertise Advertise Legal Privacy Policy Terms of Use Cookie Policy Apps iPhone / iPad Android Resources Subscriptions Sites Mashable Shop Job Board Social Good Summit World Like Follow Follow Major snowstorm may strike East Coast on first official spring weekend 1.7k Shares Share Tweet Share What's This? Elise Jordan of Winchester, Virginia walks past a flowering cherry tree on North Braddock Street in on March 17, 2016.Image: Jeff Taylor/The Winchester Star via AP By Andrew Freedman 2016-03-18 00:12:50 UTC UPDATE: March 18, 2016, 3:33 p.m. EDT - Afternoon computer model runs and current weather observations show that there remains a high likelihood of accumulating snow late this weekend in eastern New England, with some snow — a few inches — possible in New York and Philadelphia as well. However, this is not looking like a major snowstorm with greater than 6 inches falling in New York City. Boston, however, may see more significant accumulations. Mashable will continue to have updates as the forecast continues to evolve. UPDATE: March 18, 2016, 9:15 a.m. EDT — As of Friday morning, considerable uncertainty continues regarding whether Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York will receive accumulating snow from this storm. The highest odds for significant snow is in central and eastern Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Mashable will continue to have updates as the forecast continues to evolve on Friday. Residents of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast are about to be hit with an epic case of weather whiplash, as the first official spring weekend could bring with it a powerful coastal storm that may plaster areas from near Washington, D.C., to the Boston area with upwards of six inches of snow.  In addition to befuddling millions of people who thought they'd put winter behind them for another year, the storm will have the potential to cause damaging winds, heavy rain and coastal flooding, depending on its exact track and intensity, which is still subject to considerable uncertainty.   SEE ALSO: Earth crushed temperature milestones this winter, edging closer to climate guardrail The one thing that's becoming more clear with each run of sophisticated computer models used to help predict the weather is that a coastal storm is likely to form and track close enough to the eastern seaboard to bring heavy precipitation to many highly populated areas. That was in doubt until Thursday afternoon, when computer models began to lock into a track closer to the coast. Precipitation projection through March 22, 2016, showing a plume of 1-inch plus liquid amounts, which would translate into about a foot of snowfall where temperatures allow. Image: WEatherbell analytics There is some question as to the magnitude of the snow threat south of New York City. Snowflakes could fly as far south as Virginia, if some computer model projections hold true, with accumulating snow possible from near Washington, D.C., north and eastward.  But it's far more likely that significant snows will accumulate in New England. The storm will evolve from late Saturday through Monday night, spreading precipitation first into the Mid-Atlantic, then extending into New York City by Sunday afternoon, with the biggest impacts anticipated in New England from Sunday night through Monday night.  There is the potential for more than a foot of snow to fall in parts of New England if the storm intensifies rapidly and slows down slightly as it tracks near Nantucket, as some computer models are hinting at.  In fact, some projections would translate into a classic New England blizzard, particularly in central and northern New England, which have missed out on nearly every snowstorm of the winter. Unfortunately for many suffering ski areas, the snow may be too little, too late to salvage profits this year. Projected height anomaly of the 500 millibar pressure level on Monday, March 21, 2016. The blue/green corresponds to colder-than-average conditions. Image: weatherbell analytics Notably, the forecast model from the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting, or ECMWF, has consistently been showing a stronger storm system that would pose more of a threat to cities from Philadelphia to Portland, Maine. The resolution of that computer model was recently upgraded, in a bid to increase its accuracy even more.  It had already been consistently beating the top U.S. weather model in proje