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The “So Close” Storm of December 2010 (18th-20th)

As this potential snow storm begins to materialize in the Southeast, it’s time to take a serious look at snowfall predictions. This storm appeared to be going out to sea at the start of this week, then for a couple of days it looked like the I-95 corridor would land a rare epic La Niña snowstorm along the East Coast. Unfortunately for the snow lovers of the East, the models are converging on a system that heads out to sea (OTS), with a quick snow dump over southern Virginia and a wintry mix in the Carolinas before sweeping northeastwards tantalizingly-close to the coast. The coastal areas of New England also have a shot at some snow.

Most of the precipitation will be off the coast, giving the fish a good time while the snow lovers despair over what could have been. At one point, 6-12 inches along the I-95 corridor seemed like a possibility. Now they’ll be lucky to get a dusting. Northern New England could get some backlash snow from this system after the 20th when the system tries to retrograde back to the west.

Here’s an estimate of what this system will put down on the 18th through the 20th (Sat-Mon):

Mid-Atlantic Discussion – December 16, 2010

A brief update…

Snow will start to fall in the region tomorrow morning, with WV and southern VA getting hit the hardest as snow totals top out in the 5-8 inch range. Closer to home, 1-2″ of snow is expected in the D.C. and northern VA areas. Richmond could be looking at 2-4 inches. The snow should start falling around noon in the D.C. area.

For D.C., the event should be rather short-lived, lasting only through the late evening tomorrow, with some light snow showers possible in the early morning hours.

An update on this weekend’s potential storm will hit the web on Friday.

First winter 2010 snow accumulation for some in the Mid-Atlantic

Light snow started falling this morning throughout most of WV, VA, MD, and PA, and is continuing towards the coast. Some areas in northern Maryland received 1/2 an inch of snow.

Here are a couple of shots I took right at noon in Gaithersburg:

First accumulation of the season!

There’s accidents all over the place..

First big lake-effect event of the season

The Buffalo, NY area has been getting slammed by lake-effect snow over the past two days, with totals currently maxing out around 2-3 FEET. The winds out of the southwest are maximizing the fetch over the lake and creating a narrow band of intense snowfall.

Here is a radar grab from Thursday afternoon:

The bulls-eye on the image is the location of the KBUF ASOS.

Snowfall rates were in the 1-3 inches per hour range, which were sustained over a relatively long period of time. Some places will end up with over three feet of snow!

Statement as of 4:45 PM EST on December 2, 2010

The following are unofficial observations taken during the past 6 hours for
the storm that has been affecting our region. Appreciation is extended
to Highway departments… cooperative observers… Skywarn spotters and media for
these reports. This summary is also available on our home Page at

********************storm total snowfall********************

Location storm total time/date comments
snowfall of
(inches) measurement

New York

… Erie County…
West Seneca 32.0 424 PM 12/2 cocorahs
West Seneca 29.0 400 PM 12/2 Skywarn
Lancaster 27.0 300 PM 12/2 NWS employee
West Seneca 23.0 330 PM 12/2 spotter
West Seneca 22.4 300 PM 12/2 spotter
West Seneca 22.0 330 PM 12/2 NWS employee
Williamsville 2.5 229 PM 12/2 NWS employee

Very cold start this morning

We are getting quite a blast of arctic temperatures in late November. Temperatures this morning are into the low 20s in and around the DC region and below freezing temperatures as far south as central and North Carolina. Interesting, it is warmer along the Canadian border in Minnesota than it is in the DC area. Some slightly warmer temperatures are on tap today and tomorrow, but not much above normal (50°F). Mark will elaborate more on the meteorological side of things today or tomorrow.

Other things on tap are early initiation of the Great Plains Storm Chase Expedition 2011 which both myself and Mark will be going on this year. This will be Mark’s inaugural central plains chase and my seventh overall (going back to 1997 and since 2006). Most of the planning pages will appear on my subsite ( which is part of my main site at WeatherWarrior.Net. The first page so far is a base Cost Worksheet using some past years data and current information to help properly budget for this trip.

The good thing about chasing this year is that MAD US Weather will be a source for following us with daily logs, forecasts, nowcasts and more being posted here in the blog. You’ll also be able to easily link to the live video stream when we are actively chasing, and track us even live even on down days.