By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
December 31,2016, 9:21:43PM,EST
Soon after bringing downpours and thunderstorms to the south and snow to the northern Plains, a storm with rain and spotty ice will take aim at the eastern United States early in 2017.
As some people return from their holiday breaks, travel delays are possible due to rain, fog and a low cloud ceiling overspreading the area from Sunday night to Tuesday.
The first part of the storm the rain will be spotty and light.
There can be spotty ice at the onset in the Northeast during Sunday night and Monday. Air temperatures in some communities will be close to the freezing mark, 32 degrees Fahrenheit. In some cases, the ground will be colder for a time.
Patches of black ice are possible from the central Appalachians to just inland of the mid-Atlantic coast from Sunday night to early Monday morning. The ice threat will then shift northward to northern New York state and northern New England later on Monday into Tuesday morning.
Motorists are urged to use caution, especially over bridges and overpasses along the border of Maryland and Pennsylvania to interior New Jersey, upstate New York and southwestern New England.
Surfaces that were recently treated with ice-melting compounds will be wet.
Milder air with drenching rain will accompany the main part of the storm on Tuesday.
The rain will spread northeastward from the Ohio Valley and Southern states as millions of people head back to work and school.
While excessive rainfall is not anticipated, enough rain can fall to cause travel delays. Where there is substantial snow on the ground, minor urban flooding can occur.
Anytime mild air flows over cold ground and/or snow cover, there is the risk of fog formation, which could slow travel on the highways.
AccuWeather Winter Weather Center
Northeastern US interactive radar
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Even in the absence of widespread fog, a low cloud ceiling at some of the major airport hubs from Cincinnati and Washington, D.C., to Cleveland, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City and Boston could lead to airline delays.
The rain will reach well into ski country of northern New England with this storm. Not enough rain will fall to melt all of the snow, however. A major storm brought up to 2 feet of snow this past week.
A weaker storm is set to bring up to a few inches of snow during the first part of this weekend.