The snowstorm targeting the I-95 corridor from Richmond to Boston late this week has the potential to rank among the most memorable on record, according to the National Weather Service’s Paul Kocin.

Kocin, who previously served as The Weather Channel’s winter weather expert, likened the forecast snow amounts to what fell during the Snowmageddon storm of Feb. 5-6, 2010, the Blizzard of Jan. 1996 (with perhaps a somewhat smaller overall coverage), and the President’s Day Storm of Feb. 2003.

D.C. has earned a reputation for freaking out about snow. But these five snowstorms proved to be worthy of the frenzy they caused. (Claritza Jimenez/The Washington Post)

“The mechanisms coming together for a major snowfall are textbook,” Kocin said in a discussion this morning. He should know as he, along with NWS director Louis Uccellini, literally wrote the book of Northeast snowstorms, a two-volume compendium documenting their history and characteristics.

Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston are all in line for substantial snow although the prospects for heavy snow become more iffy as you head up the coast.

Computer models unanimously forecast double digit snowfall totals from D.C. to Philadelphia, and even Richmond may see substantial snow if the storm tracks far enough offshore such that the rain-snow line hovers close to the coast (rather than surging inland).

A more offshore track may actually spare New York City and especially Boston from the storm’s worst, whereas more of a coastal hugger would bury them.

D.C. has earned a reputation for freaking out about snow. But these five snowstorms proved to be worthy of the frenzy they caused. (Claritza Jimenez/The Washington Post)

“This is a high confidence event this far out in advance but that also suggests that small changes can have significant changes to impact,” Kocin wrote.

The storm timing would bring snow from Richmond to Philadelphia Friday through Saturday night. Assuming the storm doesn’t track too far offshore, it would affect New York and Boston Saturday into Sunday.

As the storm cranks up, coastal areas of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast may face wicked winds and coastal flooding. “[The storm] could be particularly vicious along the New Jersey and Delaware Coasts where the potential exists for major coastal flooding and a brief period of damaging wind gusts to 50 knots (55 mph),” wrote the NWS office serving Philadelphia.

Given the likelihood of heavy snow and coastal flooding, Capital Weather Gang reader Brian French proclaimed: “I hereby name this system Snow v. Wade.”