First Major Snow of 2012 on the Way, Some Areas Could Get 8 Inches

The snow is expected to begin falling after midnight.

Friday, Jan 20, 2012  |  Updated 8:15 PM EDT
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Expect 3 to 6 inches in the city and 5 to 8 inches north and west of New York City.

Expect 3 to 6 inches in the city and 5 to 8 inches north and west of New York City.

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The tri-state is bracing for its first significant snowfall of 2012, with most of the area under winter storm watches and advisories ahead of a system that's expected to deliver more than half a foot in some places.

The flakes are expected to begin falling in the early morning hours on Saturday.

New York City is forecast to see 3 to 5 inches of snow, with precipitation mixing to rain by midday Saturday and ending in the afternoon.

Accumulations could be higher in northeast New Jersey and the lower Hudson Valley, with up to 8 inches of snow.

The steadiest snow is expected to fall from about 7 a.m. to 12 p.m., so it may be an ideal Saturday to sleep late. Blowing and drifting will likely be minimal because the wind isn't expected to be a factor, but roadways could nonetheless be slippery Saturday evening so drivers are urged to take caution.

NJ Transit is cross-honoring tickets to give customers additional travel options on Saturday.

The storm is expected to move out by mid-afternoon Saturday, giving way to temperatures just above freezing. Lingering low clouds could contribute to a light freezing rain inland as mid-level moisture moves off to the east.

Partly sunny skies return Sunday with highs in the high 30s. By Monday, meteorologists expect temperatures to turn mild again, with highs in the low 50s. The warm, albeit rainy, trend is expected to last the week.

Get the latest forecasts, radar maps, school closing information and more on NBCNewYork.com.

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