Four Things to Know About Winter Storm Niko

Winter Storm Niko will bring snow, heavy at times, to the Northeast.

Heavy snow will disrupt the morning commute for Philadelphia, New York and Boston.

Much of the Northeast is in a drought, so the moisture is welcomed

In a winter when Northeast snowstorms have been few and far between, Winter Storm Niko will bring more than a half-foot of snow to the major cities of the Northeast.

Here are four things to expect from this winter storm.

1. Six Inches to One Foot of Snow Will Fall

A wide swath of the Northeast will see heavy snow, with high snowfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour at times. More than six inches of fresh snow are expected from the Appalachians in West Virginia and south-central Pennsylvania, and in the Northeast from northern New Jersey to coastal Maine, including New York CityPhiladelphia andBoston.

Coastal parts of southeastern New England and eastern Long Island may approach blizzard conditions Thursday afternoon.

Forecast Snowfall

Forecast Snowfall

(MORE: Winter Storm Central)

2. Travel Will Be Disrupted Thursday

Niko will arrive in the mid-Atlantic and southern New England during the overnight hours into Thursday morning's commute.

By the time the sun rises, precipitation should be falling mostly as snow, with the exception of portions of the Delmarva Peninsula and Virginia. Much of the Interstate 95 corridor will be seeing snow, heavy at times.

The Thursday evening commute may also be impacted for coastal areas of New England like Boston and Augusta.

Travel should be avoided, if possible – particularly during the peak of the storm.

3. Timing the Storm: When Will Snow Stop?

Snow will gradually wane from west to east beginning around lunchtime in the mid-Atlantic, Appalachians and interior Northeast.

Snow will slowly move away from the shore and the major cities of southern New England by early or mid-evening, but could hang on in Downeast Maine through the late evening hours.

A quick dose of lake-effect snow will rotate from south of the upper Great Lakes to east of the lower Great Lakes late Thursday into Friday following Winter Storm Niko with mainly light snow. A quick-moving clipper system will also move through over the weekend.

4. The Northeast is in a Snowfall Deficit and Needs the Moisture

For some cities, Winter Storm Niko has the potential to bring more snow than any other winter storm so far this season.

Previous winter storms have brought snow to the Northeast.

Many Northeastern cities are well behind in their season-to-date snowfall. Some cities could eradicate their snow deficits during Niko.

Snowfall deficits in selected cities since Oct. 1.

This winter storm will bring beneficial precipitation to much of the Northeast, where moderate to extreme drought reigns. A portion of the area with the best potential for heavy snow, in Southern New York and Connecticut, will overlap some of the worst drought areas.