State College, PA - Proof that winter is not officially over will be provided this weekend as cold air from Canada and a storm system moving out of Texas join forces on Friday, creating a powerful late-winter snowstorm in the Northeast.

The advancing cold front that put an end to the early taste of spring in the upper Plains and Midwest has moved through the Great Lakes today.

A storm system riding along the front has spread rain and a wintry mix of precipitation from the Midwest to the Maritimes in a prelude to the main event that will begin late Friday.

This storm will be packing a bit of everything from severe thunderstorms along the mid-Atlantic coast and flooding along the Northeast coast to strong winds and heavy snow that could create blizzardlike conditions in northernmost Vermont and New Hampshire.

Tonight, the front will stall as it moves toward the major cities along the East Coast.
Friday morning, as the southern storm system continues up the Atlantic Coast, sleet will be falling along the Interstate 95 corridor, which will lead to travel problems for commuters.

By Friday evening the sleet will turn to snow, with 1 to 3 inches forecast for Philadelphia and 3 to 6 inches forecast in New York City and Boston.

According to Expert Senior Meteorologist Gerald Mohler, suburban areas to the north and west of the major cities will receive substantially higher amounts, with the potential of up to a foot of snow in some areas of northern New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania.

The heaviest snow, anywhere from 12 to 18 inches, will fall from the Poconos to northern New England. Lesser amounts will fall to the west in western New York and the mountains of West Virginia, the Maryland Panhandle and western Pennsylvania.

The snow, sleet and rain that will continue through Saturday will create hazardous winter driving conditions and the likelihood of flight delays or cancellations at many of the major airports across the East. Motorists should be prepared for areas of blowing and drifting snow. Air travelers should check the FAA Flight Delay map and their airline before heading to airports throughout the East.

The system riding along the cold front has already caused numerous headaches in the Midwest. Early this morning, a tornado caused minor damage when it touched down in Elyria, Ohio, about 25 miles west of Cleveland.

The Midwest Regional News page reports heavy rain has heightened the flood danger in several states, especially Ohio. Rainfall totals since noon EDT Wednesday include:

* Dayton, Ohio: 2.61"
* Indianapolis, Ind.: 2.34"
* Lima, Ohio: 2.08"
* Bradford, Pa.: 1.69"
* Wheeling, W.Va.: 1.52"
* Pittsburgh, Pa.: 1.39"

The heavy rain, rapid snowmelt and ice jams have flooded many waterways and caused urban flooding across the Upper Midwest and Northeast.

At least 21 Ohio counties are reporting flooded streams, roads and basements just days before the start on Monday of National Flood Safety Awareness Week.

It is vitally important to remember that any waterway or road can quickly become a dangerous flood zone. Parents should be especially alert and keep children and pets away from any body of water, no matter how benign it appears to be. Motorists should not attempt to drive through any flooded waterway.

The Severe Weather Center lists all of the storm related watches, warnings and advisories in effect from southern Indiana to northern Maine.

Temperatures behind the front have plummeted by as much as 25 degrees. As reported in the East Regional News story, there will be a dramatic temperature change in the major cities of the East this weekend.