Blowing snow on Horton Avenue during a storm in February 2013. File photo: Peter Blasl

Heavy snow and strong winds are possible this weekend, according to a Winter Storm Watch issued for Long Island and the New York metro region by the National Weather Service.

Accumulations of 6 to 12 inches and winds gusting to 45 mph are possible. But the forecast remains uncertain at this hour, according to the National Weather Service.

National Weather Service forecasters are watching the development of a low pressure system off the North Carolina coast that will move northeast.

“With high pressure to the northeast and cold air in place, the ingredients are set for a significant snowfall event for parts of the northeast this weekend,” according to the NWS/Upton forecast discussion issued at 4 a.m.

But the track of the storm remains uncertain, as guidance of various forecast models has shifted back and forth over the past 24 hours. Most shifted the track of the low farther east yesterday afternoon, which would mean lower snow accumulations across the area. Overnight runs for most models shifted the track to the west again, which would mean more snow for eastern Long Island and southern Connecticut, the weather service said.

Despite the uncertainty, the weather service says it expects at least 6 inches of snow starting late Friday evening and issued the storm watch for the Long Island/NYC metro region this morning.

Minor to locally moderate coastal impacts are also possible for eastern portions of Long Island and vulnerable north facing coastal communities along Long Island Sound for the Saturday into Sunday high tides, the weather service said.

Winds will be highest on Saturday, even as snow begins to taper off from west to east, according to the forecast. Very cold air settles in behind the storm system Saturday night, with lows across the area in the single digits and teens, the weather service said.

“There continues to be greater than usual forecast uncertainty with the track of this storm, and the axis of heaviest snowfall may shift in subsequent forecast updates,” the National Weather Service said.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.