Recipe For Wintry Mix

The stage seems to be set for a mix of just about every form of winter precipitation possible to show up in Maryland Tuesday. From snow to sleet to freezing rain to just rain. With our biggest snowstorms, cold high pressure is locked in over New England or eastern Canada, supplying the necessary arctic air to keep the precipitation all snow. Tonight’s weather map shows the cold high pressure cell out of position for snow lovers, centered over central and western Canada. The high is slowly trying to build east into upstate New York, while the initial storm takes shape over Texas and Oklahoma. If the high can slip into place over the northeast U.S. before the approaching storm gets here, we could have a longer period of snow with more accumulations than currently forecast. The current run of the computer models, however, seems to indicate the high will not be able to establish itself firmly enough and the warm air ahead of the storm will rush into the middle levels of the atmosphere over the mid Atlantic states, changing our snow over to sleet, freezing rain and eventually rain. This is a tricky bit of timing and computer models do not do a great job of handling these sort of fine details, but for now I expect a general 1-3″ snowfall for most of central and eastern Maryland Tuesday morning, but 3-5″ of snow will be possible where the cold air holds on longer, up in the northern sections of Baltimore, Carroll and Frederick Counties. By afternoon the warm air aloft should be flooding in with our precipitation changing over to the wintry mix. With the cold, dense air hugging the ground, surface temperatures may be reluctant to climb above freezing, producing a period of sleet and freezing rain with some ice accumulation possible into the evening hours. Later Tuesday night, as the atmosphere warms a few degrees, the precipitation should change to just rain, which will hopefully make for a wet, not icy, Wednesday morning commute. There is still a lot to be decided with this storm and the forecast could easily change. Stay tuned to WBAL-TV or for updates.

Tom Tasselmyer


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