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January 2011

Snow Threat: Jan 20-21 (first call)

Another fun storm is upon us as we head into the end of the work week. Mixing will be a huge issue in Northern Virginia, DC and areas south. Ultimately, I expect DC to stay in snow for most of the event. While the QPF for this storm isn’t terribly impressive, higher snowfall ratios will be available further north and west, which will make areas of 4-8″ possible. The risk is mainly to the lower side along the southern edges of the contours.

Expect a final call either this evening or early tomorrow.

What to Watch Fore(cast) – Jan 17-24


Several wintry storms in the East – Monday through Saturday will be an interesting period in the East as three separate disturbances bring wintry precipitation to the East. Friday could bring the biggest risk of snow to the Mid-Atlantic, with significant snow possible in southern New England.

A quiet weekend ahead? – After the coastal storm moves out of the U.S. on Friday, a quiet weekend could be in store for most of the U.S. aside from some lake-effect snow and a weak disturbance in the West.

Deep cold moving into the Northeast – The coldest temperatures of the season are expected to move into the Northeast this weekend and into early next week as lows drop into the negatives.


The complicated weather pattern continues this week in the East as three disturbances move through the region. The first one will move up the East Coast tonight and through Tuesday, bringing some snow, mixed precipitation and rain to most of the coast. Interior areas are expected to see the worst of it as temperatures stay cool enough for snow and mixed precipitation to stick, while areas closer to the coast should change over to rain for a significant portion of the event. Needless to say, travel will be a mess at the onset of the storm, and the precipitation will become a concern again behind the system as what does end up on the ground freezes over.

Shortly behind this system, a shortwave will bring a weak but potentially hazardous shot of wintry weather into the Mid-Atlantic on Wednesday, with an inch of snow (or 0.1″ of freezing rain or sleet) possible in the region. The Southeast could see some light rain from this disturbance.

The Plains will see a shot of wintry weather on Wednesday as a third disturbance ramps up over the mid-country. the Central Plains and Midwest will get a shot of wintry precip. as the storm progresses eastward. Depending on the storm’s track, which is still variable and up to a lot of debate, this system could bring snow and mixed precip. to the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast late this work week, with significant snowfall on the order of 6-12″ possible in some areas further north. The areas most likely to see these kinds of totals is the western Appalachians in the Mid-Atlantic and in southern New England (as if they didn’t have enough snow already this season!).

Going into the weekend, a calmer weather pattern is in place as no significant storms show up over the U.S. However, in place of dynamic weather we instead of widespread cold, with belows over almost all of the eastern half of the country. The biggest effects of this cold will be seen in the Northeast, where many areas will see their coldest temperatures of the season over the weekend and into early next week. The blocking pattern over the Atlantic has kept the Northeast relatively mild so far this winter, so the cold temperatures will be a bit of a shock to the system as lows (and in some areas highs!) drop to below zero Fahrenheit.

Mid-Atlantic – The Week Ahead (Jan 16-23)

The first storm of the week will come up the East Coast and it will provide the region with some mixed precipitation Monday night before switching over to rain Tuesday morning. As this disturbance moves up the coast, another weak disturbance will bring light mixed precipitation and possibly some snow to the area on Wednesday. Neither event should prove to be too hazardous for most of the Mid-Atlantic, but some areas could receive up to an inch of snow or a tenth of an inch of sleet/freezing rain from the Wednesday system.

Thursday will provide a brief break in the action as a potent system moves in early on Friday. The GFS operational track would bring mixed precipitation changing over to snow into the region, with QPF expected to be around 0.1″-0.25″ for most of the area as the storm moves west to east. This would mean some sleet/freezing rain with about an inch of snow on top should it work out. However, this system is still highly variable and could change into one of many different things as we zero in on the storm track.

Behind Friday’s system will come cool and dry conditions, with lake-effect snow hitting the western side of the Appalachians once again. That should take us into early next week as a new system tries to push into the region around mid-week next week.

Office move nearly complete!

This morning I was at the new office, located less than two miles from my house (yay!), and it was a good time. Computers are up for the weather people, but the internet wasn’t working yet when I left. Going back there for a night shift tonight!

In the chaos, I missed my Tornado Thursday… I may retroactively post something there…

MD/DC could see a few snow flakes today as a weak system passes to our north. A pair of winter storms will shoot through the region in quick succession Tue and Wed. The first storm should be mostly rain for our area, with maybe some mixed precip. in it as well. The Wednesday storm has a better chance of dropping snow over the region, but it could stay mixed precip. throughout as the rain/snow line lingers dangerously close to the DC area. More on all of this tomorrow with Sunday’s Week Ahead forecast for the Mid-Atlantic.

What to Watch Fore(cast) – Jan 10-17


Tracking the snowstorm – With relatively large amounts of snow already covering parts of the Plains, Midwest and Southeast, Tuesday will focus on the Mid-Atlantic as the storm progresses into the Northeast on Wednesday.

Deep cold enters the Southeast – The coldest temperatures so far this winter are possible in most of the Southeast as some areas in KY/TN/AL/GA reach single digits and wind chills fall to near zero degrees Fahrenheit Thursday and Friday mornings.

Late week clipper system – An Alberta Clipper will bring some snow to the Northern Plains, Great Lakes and Northeast at the end of the week.


As the two centers of low pressure continue to battle for dominance, snow is starting to fill in the radar over northern MD this afternoon, leading to thoughts of DC accumulation as we head into the overnight hours. The southern parts of the snowfall prediction area should be done with snow, but I’m not guaranteeing anything with this system.

Behind this system, lows in the upper single digits to middle teens are possible in the Southeast (not including FL) during the second half of the work week. These represent temperatures that are 15-20 degrees below normal. The Southeast should recover this weekend as a system forming in the Plains moves into the Southeast and Midwest early next week, bringing a short period of above normal temperatures before moving through the area Mon-Wed next week.

An Alberta clipper will be just ahead of the weekend storm and will bring some light/moderate snowfall to the Northern Plains on Friday and Midwest on Saturday before cutting into the Northeast on Sunday.

Eyes are peeled on the storm system in the East next Tue-Thu as it poses a possible winter storm threat.

Historic winter storm ransacks the South… sets eyes on the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Areas have been blasted with up to a foot of snow from the ArkLaTex region through NC as far south as central AL/GA. This epic winter storm will continue to wreak havoc as it develops in the Atlantic and hits NJ/NYC/New England with heavy snows. Most of VA/MD likely spared the worst of the storm’s power (1-4″ of snow in most areas) as the complex system evolves.

Here is a map posted by Al Roker showing the snowfall totals as of ~7am this morning:

This does not include this morning’s totals in GA/NC/SC, of which parts of southeastern NC has seen over half a foot of snow already! I, as well as almost everyone who forecast this storm, did not anticipate how far south the snow line was going to form, which is resulting in a lot of busted calls from northern LA to central AL/GA and up through eastern NC, which called for mostly mixed precip. and rain. NC and southeast VA could still convert over to mixed precip., but not before 1-3″+ of snow has fallen in most areas.

This is already an epic storm in the south, and we still have snowfall on tap for the southern Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, where NYC and southern New England could see over a foot of snow in spots before we say goodbye to this incredible winter storm.

UPDATE 6:00pm EST:

The 1-3″ call for NE NC and SE VA could be in question as the dry air over the region eats away at the possible snowfall and the mixed precip. zone creeps closer and closer. Still a chance for more snow to fall AFTER mixed precip. and/or rain works into the area, but hitting the top-end estimate of 2-3″ appears doubtful at this point.

Mid-Atlantic – The Week Ahead (Jan 9-16)

A snowstorm looms on the horizon as we head into the week. As you can see from my previous post with the snowfall map, I expect much of the region to land 2-4 inches of snow, with areas of 1-3 inches in VA and NC and areas with higher amounts along the coast on the northern edge of the region. I expect DC to get about 2 inches, with Baltimore in the 3-4 inch range before all is said and done. The snow should start Tuesday afternoon/evening in the DC area and the accumulating snow should end Wednesday morning (with light snow/flurries possible for a short period thereafter). The western Appalachians could continue to see snowfall going into Friday behind this system.

Ahead of this system we will continue to see seasonably cool weather tonight and tomorrow, with windy conditions on Wednesday and Thursday as temperatures continue to sit below normal. Winds will weaken at the end of the work week as an area of high pressure builds in and gives us fair conditions Friday and Saturday (with highs in the 40s possible on Saturday and Sunday). An upper-level trough will build back into the region at the start of next week, with another complicated setup involving two pockets of energy that could interact and bring precipitation to the region as early as next Sunday. This next storm has the opportunity to be one of several things for the region, from a light rainmaker to a bigger snow producer, so its evolution will be watched during the second half of the week for better certainty pertaining to the outcome of this system.