Coastal Storm Possibilities

For the past few days a few computer models from around the world have been showing a strong storm tracking north from the gulf coast Sunday morning to a position somewhere near the mid Atlantic coast Sunday evening, while the model run here in the United States was keeping any storm development weak and well offshore. This morning’s run of the Global Forecast System (GFS), generated by NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), caught onto the same idea. There now seems to be good agreement among the model forecasts that a storm will form and move through our general area. However, as is usually the case, the details are still very unclear and these are what will determine whether we see rain, snow, a mix or nothing at all Sunday night into Monday. Without any arctic air in the eastern United States, significant amounts of wintry precipitation are harder to come by and there does not appear to be any arctic air headed this way before the storm arrives. The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) is currently positive and this usually means any cold air that does filter into the region will have a tendency to retreat as the storm moves north. In addition, the computer models have been trending farther west, or inland, with the track of the surface low, which would push the heaviest snow and sleet back into the mountains. So for now, about all that can be said with some degree of confidence is that a storm will move up from the south Sunday night and linger into Monday. Details on the amount of cold air that will be in place prior to the storm’s arrival and the exact track of the storm itself will determine if we are dealing with wet or white conditions by Monday morning. Check back here for additional discussions on this potential winter storm.

Tom Tasselmyer

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