COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A major winter storm accompanied by strong winds is expected to blast the Northeast Friday night and Saturday, bringing the heaviest snow of the season to cities near and east of the Interstate 95 corridor.

Blizzard warnings are in effect from coastal New Jersey to Massachusetts Saturday, where winds will gust as high as 50-60 mph, causing widespread power outages, whiteout conditions and flooding.

The beginnings of the disturbance brought snow showers to Ohio, accumulating 1 to 2 inches early Friday. Upper-level energy responsible for the snow will merge east of the region Friday with a southern disturbance, as low pressure develops off the southeast Atlantic Coast.

Snow will fall across the Appalachians, with rain near the coast that will change to snow Friday night in areas that recently dealt with an uncommon snow and ice event. Light snow will reach the nation’s capital Friday evening and spread northward along the Eastern Seaboard, becoming heavy at times near and east of I-95 through Saturday afternoon.

The broad circulation will reinforce the frigid weather in Ohio early in the weekend, but the snow from a coastal system will stay far to the east.

Model uncertainties remain, but current indications point to accumulations ranging from 5-10 inches for the Eastern Seaboard cities, and 15-20 inches from eastern Long Island to Boston and Portland, Maine.

Winds will gust as high as 40-60 mph during the height of the storm Saturday afternoon and evening, causing blizzard conditions, with considerable blowing and drifting snow. Rapid deepening of the storm (0.71 inch within 24 hours or less) will create a “bomb cyclone” east of Long Island.