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Major Winter Storm Continues To Develop On Schedule

By Justin Drabick & Kate Bilo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Our major winter storm continues to develop on schedule, with just a few things to watch as we head toward the end of the week.The jet stream energy for this storm is now onshore and the actual storm will begin developing over the gulf coast on Thursday. A Winter Storm Watch has been issued for most of the region from Friday evening through early Sunday morning.

TIMING:  As of now, most of the day on Friday will be dry. Snow will arrive from south to north after around 7 p.m. Friday.  The snow will then become heavy at times overnight through Saturday Afternoon. The steady snow will begin to taper off late Saturday evening.

IMPACTS:  Hazardous/Dangerous travel will occur from Friday night through late Saturday night.  Strong winds will develop late Friday night and continue through Saturday, with winds possibly gusting to 50 mph along the coast during the day on Saturday. Winds could cause blowing and drifting snow and near whiteout conditions. The strong northeast winds will cause coastal flooding to occur along the NJ & Delaware coasts. A Coastal Flood Watch is in effect for the shore points, DE beaches and areas along the Delaware Bay through the weekend as moderate to major flooding may occur.

AMOUNTS: Since the storm has not developed yet, the exact track of this storm is remains uncertain.  This is why these forecast snow amounts can and will likely change.  The biggest concern is where will the northern cutoff of the heaviest snow be.  As of now, 12-16" is expected for Philly and surrounding areas with lesser amounts the farther north you go.  Rain and Sleet will also mix in along the coast keeping the amounts there much lower.  We also have to keep a close eye on the mix line - some of our late night guidance indicates that sleet could try to mix in as far north as Philadelphia, potentially lowering the totals. We expect the highest snow amounts look to occur to our southwest towards Baltimore/Washington & Virginia, where 2 ft. can occur. Stay tuned and we'll keep you posted with any changes!

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