“There is a lot of confidence that this winter storm will have significant impacts, including travel disruptions and power outages across much of the Mid-Atlantic and southern New England,” the Weather Forecast Center said.
Heavy snow is expected near and north of the Interstate 95 corridor from Washington to Boston.
“Models seem pretty convinced Monday morning that temperatures just above the surface will remain below freezing,” said CNN meteorologist Chad Myers.
“If this happens, it would certainly increase the amount of snow in New York above 12 inches (30.5 cm).”
The amount of snowfall will vary, depending on where the center of the storm is and where the heaviest bands of snow are.
Early indications suggest that if New York stays cool enough, the city will get 20 to 14 inches of snow.
Boston is on the northern fringe of the storm and could see a more drastic change in precipitation amounts, depending on where the storm is heading.
Washington is in the far south and the amounts could also vary depending on the amount of warmer air leaking into the city, with the forecast for anywhere from a layer of dust to 15 cm of snow.
If warm air mixes in, the Washington area could see sleet and freezing rain mixing.
This same warm air will bring a wintry mix of snow and ice south through central and southwestern Virginia and northwestern North Carolina.
Winter storm warnings are already posted in six states (North Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey) for heavy snow and / or ice impacts.
The National Weather Service offices in New York and Boston will likely issue clocks late Monday.
Strong wind conditions will also be a concern, with some areas, especially along the coast, approaching blizzard conditions.
Sustained winds of 40 to 56 kmph are possible, with gusts of up to 45 mph at times.
Models disagree on precisely how quickly the storm will leave the region on Thursday morning.
Still, by afternoon, the system should disappear for most people.