By Justin Madden
(Reuters) - After a relatively mild winter, the East Coast of the United States could get a last-gasp snow storm on Saturday night, just before the first day of spring, weather forecasters said.
The storm is moving from the Midwest and expected to swing out into the Atlantic off the coast of the Carolinas before heading back on shore and dumping several inches of snow on parts of the East Coast, including Washington, D.C., Rhode Island, New York and Maryland.
The storm is forecast to make landfall late Saturday evening and drop 4-7 inches (10-18 cm) of snow within a 12-hour period, covering roads and lowering temperatures to the mid-30s Fahrenheit (around 0 Celsius), according to the National Weather Service.
Weather advisory warnings were in effect on Saturday as far north as Massachusetts as the snowstorm threatens to cover roads, force power outages and down tree limbs. The advisories are expected to expire Monday afternoon.
For the most part the East Coast has had a mild winter, but an epic blizzard in late January dropped more than 2 feet (60 cm) of snow, killing more than 30 people.
In the coming storm, parts of West Virginia and Virginia will likely get most of the snow accumulation Saturday evening and overnight, as the storm begins to weaken on Sunday and move north through Maryland, New York and Massachusetts, said Mike Musher, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
"A few days ago I think the expectations were perhaps a bit higher," he said. "At this point, at least the major metropolitan cities could see a little bit of snow, but for the most part we're not expecting any accumulation."
"It's the last glancing blow for hopefully this winter," he said."
There's a possibility that the snowstorm may remain off shore, lowering the likelihood of snow, the NWS said.
(Reporting by Justin Madden in Chicago; Editing by Fiona Ortiz)