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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.

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.

Snow Threat: Jan 10-12 (final call)

This is going to be a very complicated event, with two low pressure centers interacting from the Midwest and Southeast up through the northern Mid-Atlantic as the coastal low takes over for New England. Mixing will be a problem for North Carolina, southeastern Virginia and southern Delmarva, which could shift a bit north or south, depending on when, where and how quickly the coastal low can develop. A quicker low development off the East Coast would draw cooler air down from the north and create more snow over the “Mixing” area highlighted on the map.

Snow totals have been bumped up for West Virginia and Pennsylvania as the low pressure center over the Midwest will be stronger than originally anticipated, which will help squeeze out more moisture in the western and northern parts of the region. This stronger Midwestern low is also what caused the mixing issues in North Carolina to jump northward, as it will create a stronger southerly flow in that area and will draw warmer mid-level and low-level air northward before the coastal low gets cranking.

As the coastal low comes in stronger than expected, higher snowfall totals are possible in the New Jersey, NYC and Southern New England areas as it progresses northeastward. NJ/NYC/SNE could see another round of 12-18+ inches of snow from this storm.


Snow Threat: Jan 10-12 (first call)

Here is my preliminary call for the 10-12 January 2011 event:

The operational models have not necessarily been agreeing with each other as to the storm’s track, but each model has had their own consistencies in producing snowfall along the East Coast, so I decided to venture a first guess. A final map (and maybe an intermediate map) will be issued as the event gets closer.

It will be interesting to see if the GFS (and NAM) snow-enhanced zone north and west of Richmond, VA will verify as it seems to like having the secondary low over the southern Midwest a little better than the ECMWF does. Mixing will be a problem in NC, and that will likely need to be adjusted a bit. I haven’t thrown in anything above 8″ yet, but that may become a concern when making the update.

Snow Threat: Jan 7-8 (final call)

After the dusting to a quarter-inch of snow that we saw just before sunrise today in the DC area, another round of snow will be on tap tonight and into the afternoon tomorrow.

DC could see 0.5-1.0 inches of snow by the end of tomorrow.

Areas to the east near Baltimore could see 1-2 inches, with isolated areas of 2-4 inches in the Delmarva area.


Snow looks to be on the way

Looks like I’ll be eating my own words about not expecting much snow for the DC area from this system that the models haven’t been too much in agreement on. But now, Friday evening into the early, early morning hours of Saturday, many forecasts are saying there is a higher potential. Of course, reading MAD US Weather’s own Mark Ellinwood (see previous blog post) looks to have been a best bet. TV and government forecasters aren’t talking snow totals yet, but Mark’s numbers don’t seem to be too far off what the ‘inside’ word is. It may be a west to east pattern this time around. Basically, what I mean is that the snow totals won’t measure highest to lowest in bands that increase and decrease horizontally, but vertically. Areas to the east, closer to the ocean may see the higher totals, and less toward the mountains. This isn’t uncommon for these coast storms. But still tons to determine yet, and I’m going to get some extra sleep in preparation for covering the event if it pans out. (