Tuesday Night Notes On Major Weekend Storm

Tuesday Night Notes On Major Weekend Storm

January 19 – This update is for the purpose of showing another side of the storm. At this point, I realize I keep showing weather maps that look almost identical.  They show a band of heavy snow and plot the red L some place south and east of Baltimore. I am tempted to just geek out on the dynamics, but you many just want to know certain questions. Especially if you read my last post or read online about a shift to the south. I don’t change my thoughts on one model run, I look for trends. Also, I like to give more credit the the model that performed best with the last event.  Plenty of  info below is in bullet point form to make it easier to digest.

There is still a LOT of moisture available and energy to produce thunder-snow and blizzard conditions in the Mid Atlantic. This morning I mentioned the work ‘Epic’ as the storm as a whole should be. This is first time I’ve used that ‘B’ word. But where exactly? That does not guarantee it will be like that at your place, but it could be.

A formal blizzard means: Snow of 1″+/hour, plus 35 mph winds for 3 or more hours in a row.

For starters, this map below is NOT a snow projection map. I will make my first call for snowfall on Wednesday. But for now, here is the GFS Model showing over 2 inches of liquid equivalent for metro Baltimore, with more south. I am using this model to see if it can maintain a winning streak from last Sunday’s snow. While the European Model gets so much credit and has shifted the farthest south, I want to remind you that same model was too far south last weekend and had no snow at all for Maryland.  The GFS Model was best in the last event. Something to think about. Especially since that was also a southern branch system that the GFS allowed to come farther north. I will focus on tonight’s model runs to see if there is more agreement or any hint of a shift in either direction.

Storm Total Liquid Equivalent




But How Much Snow?

  • There are still a few things to sort out in addition to seeing if this GFS model is the right one with the moisture spread or if the Euro push south is right. Also:
  • Some southern and coastal areas will have rain AND THEN change to snow
  • Temperature in the Cold Zone: Will the snow be heavy and wet, or will colder air ‘fluff’ it up more… especially north and west of the Bay.
  • If there is thunder-snow, that could boost totals dramatically, but localized to where that action is.
  • Will there be any mixing near the Bay? We’ve had a drastic cool down, but some mild Bay water exists from a warm start to winter.

I will answer more common questions below, but here is a look at the upper level feature. My favorite is the 500 mb (18,000 Ft level) vorticity/jet stream plots.



  • All winter I have said we are in a fast/progressive flow. That was the point of my Winter Outlook 2015-2016. But the maps above show an upper level Low closing off. This slows it down, making the trip from Kentucky to the coast take about a full day.
  • The core of the upper level Low passes through southeast Virginia. That will direct the surface Low or L on the map… just to the south and east. It also keeps the I-95 corridor in primarily snow.
  • The upper level energy taps into the Gulf of Mexico bringing heavy moisture northward. That is why we have 2″ to 4″ of liquid to deal with.
  • The upper level energy supports explosive growth of the storm on the coast.
  • The upper level energy supports added convection or lift to make for thunder-snow. We’ve had that quite a bit in recent large winter storms. That can burst snow at 3″+/hour rates and throw off totals where they fall.
  • The last images show the upper level energy helping the snow wrap around last into Sunday morning.

Common Questions/Answers:

The rain line will be based on the track. That is what I am working on tonight.

Southern Maryland-Virginia-Delmarva: If you get rain to start, all models support moderate to heavy snow change over with decent accumulation to finish.

Arrival Time: This depends on if the storm slow down, pushes south, or stays on course. I would still focus on mid day Friday in general. Earlier in southern Maryland. Later/Afternoon in York-southern Pennsylvania through New Jersey.

Friday Night: Garth Brooks may have trouble getting a crowd if he decides to play. Conditions should deteriorate quickly when the snow arrives.

Saturday look snowy for most of us. I coach my son’s basketball team with two friends and we want to play! My boy just had a stellar game on his birthday last weekend.. including the game wining shot! I don’t want to miss this one, but planning on it.

Sunday Morning: The back edge of the snow showers moves out. There will be some clean up time, but the new snow should be done by then.


I will have my ‘first call for snowfall’ on Wednesday. See ya then.

Faith In The Flakes: Show Off You Pride As The Snow Arrives

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January 19th, 2016|Tags: , , , , , , |