Major coastal snowstorms, the kind known to bury the Northeast this time of year, have been rare so far this winter. One expected to sweep over New England at the end of the week is expected to mostly miss the Baltimore area.
As much as 2 feet of snow is expected from Rhode Island to Maine, including the Boston area, with lesser amounts to the west and south, including in New York. The Boston forecast office of the National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch effective starting Thursday night.
In the Baltimore area, National Weather Service forecasters expect milder air and lighter precipitation.
"It should be primarily a rain event for the area except for the onset," said Jared Klein, a meteorologist in the weather service's Baltimore-Washington forecast office in Sterling, Va. "The storm will have a much more significant impact further northeast."
The storm's edge could pass by the Baltimore area Thursday evening or overnight, Klein said, with temperatures expected in the mid-30s in Baltimore and about 30 degrees at the Mason-Dixon Line. A mix of rain and sleet is likely for most of the region, with snow possible to the north and east.
After sunrise Friday, temperatures are expected to rise into the 40s across the region.
Weather service forecasters predict a 10 percent to 20 percent chance of at least an inch of snow accumulation in areas north and west of Baltimore.
This winter, 4.6 inches of snow have fallen at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, ahead of last winter's 1.8 inches but well below the norm of 18 to 20 inches.