The National Weather Service is forecasting two feet of snow across the Baltimore region this weekend in what forecasters said could be one of the five biggest winter storms on record here.
A blizzard watch is in effect with more than a foot of snow likely to fall starting late Friday, though meteorologists are still working out the details of the forecast.
A blizzard watch is in effect across the region from Friday afternoon through Saturday night, with heavy snow and blustery winds.
"We're calling for a top 10 storm and possibly top 5 storm," Bryan Jackson, a meteorologist at the weather service's Baltimore/Washington forecast office said.
Forecasts call for 18 inches to 22 inches for Baltimore City, Howard, Harford and Anne Arundel counties and the southern halves of Baltimore and Carroll counties.
Early hour-by-hour snowfall forecasts from the weather service suggest nearly 10 inches by daybreak Saturday and then another foot by nightfall.
At least 18 inches of snow from the storm would crack Baltimore's top 10 biggest snowfalls within a three-day period.
Forecasters expect chilly conditions, with lows in the 20s and highs right around the freezing mark Friday and Saturday. Blustery conditions are also expected both days.
Some weather watchers were already making calls for accumulations Wednesday morning.
Former TV meteorologist Justin Berk is calling for at least 10 inches along I-95 and to its south and east, and 16 or more inches to the north and west. He expects the heaviest snow, 20 or more inches, over Frederick County and points west.
AccuWeather.com is predicting a broad 12 to 24 inches across Central Maryland and to the southwest, along the mountains down the Interstate 81 corridor. Some areas could see up to 3 feet, meteorologists warned.
"Crews may not be able to keep up with the storm in portions of Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Henry Margusity said in a post on the website. "Some communities could be isolated for a few days."
WJZ-TV meteorologists predict the snow bullseye to end up just west of Washington, D.C., but also stretching into parts of Anne Arundel and Howard counties, with more than 2 feet of snow there. For the rest of the Baltimore area, including the city and Carroll, Baltimore and Harford counties, they are calling for 1-2 feet, with 6 inches to a foot on the lower Eastern Shore.