Early forecasts suggest a storm could move up from the Gulf of Mexico at the end of this week and dump significant snowfall across Maryland.
A low-pressure system is expected to form over Louisiana and Mississippi, moving up to the Carolinas by Friday. With plenty of cold air expected in the mid-Atlantic and lots of moisture in the system, the forecast "is favorable for accumulating snowfall," National Weather Service forecasters wrote Monday.
The weather service is warning of a "moderate" winter storm threat Friday night into Saturday, with the possibility for significant travel delays and closures.
Forecasting models suggest as much as 2 inches of liquid precipitation, which could mean as much as 20 inches of snow in an average storm. It's still too early to make precise predictions because the models could shift and change in the coming days.
Meteorologists said the storm has the potential to be a major snowmaker because of El Niño, responsible for the tropical moisture that could feed the storm, and the expected presence of what is known as a "blocking high" to our northeast. High-pressure systems over the northern Atlantic steer storms up the East Coast and give them plenty of cold air to support snowfall.