"Significant Winter Storm" Expected To Strike Northeast 

A "significant winter storm" will strike the Ohio Valley, Appalachians, and Mid-Atlantic Thursday and the Northeast this evening, according to the latest NWS Weather Prediction Center's short-range forecast.

A potent upper-level low will push through the Ohio Valley Thursday, resulting in dangerous wintry conditions there to continue and move northeastward.

Models suggest that parts of the Ohio Valley could receive a few additional inches of snow and some freezing rain.

According to the forecast, a low-pressure surface system will gain strength over the Southeast coast and charge northward along the Eastern Seaboard on Thursday and Friday, resulting in freezing rain across the Southern and Central Appalachians as warm air collides with fridge air at ground level. NWS warns ice accumulations could be over a quarter of an inch there.

Later this evening, into the overnight hour, the upper-level and surface lows are expected to produce "a perfect storm" with heavy snowfall in the northern Mid-Atlantic and into the interior Northeast. Snow totals in interior Pennsylvania and New York could measure about one foot. State and local governments across the Northeast have already issued Winter Storm and Ice Warnings as well as Winter Weather Advisories.

Models show the heaviest of this wintry precipitation will remain slightly west of major cities DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York City, but a wintry mix is possible for those areas Thursday evening and could cause severe travel headaches. 

"A strong early season winter storm is impacting the central and eastern United States to end the week, spreading snow and ice into places like St. Louis, Indianapolis, and other portions of the Midwest early Thursday. Heavy snow and ice is anticipated to impact the suburbs of the I-95 corridor from Washington to Boston, with even some brief wintry precipitation into the major cities before a change to rain. However, strongest impacts will be felt from central Pennsylvania northeastward into the mountains of northern New England where locally up to 0.25” of icing and a foot of snow is expected. This storm is coming as a strong push of cold air coming down from Canada interacts with Gulf of Mexico moisture, resulting in early season wintry precipitation.

As the storm departs, more cold air will likely reinforce itself back into key natural gas consuming regions of the Great Lakes and Northeast next week, furthering the bout with sustained above normal heating demand in these regions," reported Ed Vallee, head meteorologist at Vallee Weather Consulting.

Weather models show record low temperatures for some parts of the Northeast.

As the cold weather pours into the Northeast, the US-Lower 48 heating degree day (HDD), GFS Operational, a measurement designed to quantify the demand for energy needed to heat a building, has abruptly moved higher.

And maybe the HDD surge was one of the triggers that blew up a fund's short natgas book.

Yesterday morning, the price of the 1st month  natgas contract soared, spiked as much as 20% in minutes - the biggest intraday move higher since 2009 - with the price exploding higher once a barrier of stops at $4.40 was tripped, at which point furious short covering sent nat gas as high as $4.929 in just seconds, the highest since February 2014, when the US experienced its "polar vortex" winter.

Putting the move in its long-term context shows just how breathless the recent short squeeze has been.

What is social media saying about 2018's first winter blast?