Friday-Saturday Snow Still On Track

Snow can be a beautiful thing. It is all in the eye of the beholder. The storm expected on Friday and Saturday will likely produce some beautiful pictures but it does have the potential to test our patience with the way winter weather is behaving this year.

So far this snow season we have racked up 35.6 inches of snow officially at BWI-Marshall Airport, 10.2 inches above the 30 year seasonal average. The next storm in the pipeline could produce half of this season’s total in one fell swoop, at least in some areas.

This morning’s full disk satellite image of the big blue marble is of course a thing of beauty.  In the Western Hemisphere, the weather is pretty quiet south of the equator. To the north, it is a different story. Two major storms are spinning through the north Atlantic. Our expected storm now reaches from the Mississippi Valley into the western Gulf of Mexico. Another storm is out in the Pacific, approaching the west coast of the U.S.

The developing storm in the central U.S. is going to drive eastward toward the Atlantic coast in the next 24 hours.

The Hydrometeorological Prediction Center forecast map above shows the expected timeline of the storm’s low pressure center over the next few days. The color coded symbols clustered around each “L” show the positions various computer models position the “L” at at a given time. The clusters are fairly well packed but there is still some difference in the track that various models give to this storm. In other words, the verdict is not in yet but it certainly looks more like a hit than a miss. The black line and “L” positions show the consesus forecast drawn from the various model conclusions.

The forecast map below shows the forecast position of the storm for Friday evening, when the storm is expected to start cranking out its’ highest hourly snow rates. The rain/snow line runs across southern Maryland and the lower DELMARVA Peninsula.

HPC forecasters still put Maryland in the bullseye for heavy snow.

This is a probability map and only reflects the situation through Saturday morning. The storm is expected to produce a second burst of snow Saturday as it pulls out to sea.

So, How much?

The computer model we use frequently at the station indicates a potential for snow accumulations over much of northern Maryland in the 12-16 inch range by early Sunday with one spot on the Pennsylvania line north of Baltimore up around 20 inches. Higher elevations to the west are targeted for potential of about 2 feet of snow. Keep in mind that this model and many others did not handle last weekend’s storm very well, at least regarding the portion of the storm that was over the Baltimore-Washington area. It should also be noted that temperatures to the south of the Baltimore-Washington area may be warm enough, at least for a period of time, to allow for some liquid precipitation to mix with the snow, cutting accumulations down. The storm is still 24-48 hours away. A lot can happen to alter the outlook.

The map above shows the various Watches and Warnings that are in place as of Thursday morning.

Keep checking for updates and watch Tom, Tony, Sandra and me as we track the storm through the weekend.

To check out an hour-by-hour look at Futurecast, please click here.

To watch a Tony Pann forecast posted Thursday morning, please click here.

John Collins


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