Get your shovels ready: The first major snowstorm of 2016 could wreak havoc on the mid-Atlantic and Northeast by the end of the week. More than 50 million people may be affected as areas around Washington, DC; Philadelphia; Baltimore; New York City; and Boston could see a foot or more of snow, reports AccuWeather.com. In fact, this may be the first storm in 13 years to dump a foot of snow on the entire Northeast region, reports USA Today. Meteorologists predict dangerous highway conditions and flight cancellations with blowing and drifting snow on Friday and Saturday. A blizzard could develop if the storm reaches full force, meaning highways and airports may close. Some areas may see up to three inches of snow per hour.
There's also concern about coastal flooding, thanks to high tides due to an approaching full moon. "The El Niño pattern has been sending moisture-rich storms across the nation so far this winter," a meteorologist says. "We are just now at the point where the air is cold enough with the ongoing storms to awaken a sleeping giant in terms of a snowstorm." The storm will come from the Pacific coast, perhaps bringing snow to the Ohio Valley, Tennessee Valley, and Appalachians on Thursday, per NBC News. It's then expected to head east toward Washington, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. It's possible, however, that it will move northeast, putting New York City; Boston; Providence, Rhode Island; and Hartford, Connecticut, in its path.