Complex Pattern Keeps East Coast Forecast Less Than Certain

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Even today there remain questions about what is likely to happen regarding the storm system moving across the Plains this morning and targeting the Midwest later tomorrow, the Mid-Atlantic Wednesday and then off the East Coast on Thursday, although the focus is becoming more clear than it was yesterday. It’s a complicated pattern as the Plains low follows quickly on the heels of a low pressure area now moving off to Nova Scotia as it brings snow to New England. Additionally, an area of strong high pressure moves into eastern Canada by the end of the week; it’s position and strength will directly influence the track of the low as it reaches the Mid-Atlantic in 72 hours time.

For now, the European numerical model and the American GFS model are showing some agreement in their solutions and this is the beginning of a hopeful consensus. However the two models vary significantly once the low moves off the coast. As mentioned above, there’s a lot going on: two low pressure areas and a following high. By the end of the week, the GFS takes the low offshore and then northeast in a pattern that could bring more snow — and potentially significant freezing rain — to the Northeast, especially Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Europe’s ECMWF model, on the other hand, takes the low almost due east from the coast of Virginia. Longtime readers of YourWeatherBlog know the ECMWF typically has the most reliable record, while the GFS sometimes flip-flops quite a bit before finally coming to a near-agreement with the Euro solution.

Lastly, all this talk of snow and freezing rain might lead one to think it’s still winter. Technically, it remains winter until the Vernal Equinox on the 20th of March when spring officially kicks off. However, we’re already seeing the first signs of spring across many areas of the country but especially southern states east of the Rocky Mountains where, out my Houston window, strong southerly winds are leading to temperatures that are quite mild and pleasant. But let’s not forget that with spring comes the high likelihood of severe weather and with this in mind, the National Weather Service’s Severe Weather Awareness Week is now underway. Visit the website for more information about severe weather, knowing your risk, building an emergency kit and an emergency plan and much more. Each day this week features a different topic.

Snowfall will continue across southern Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the Dakotas through Tuesday morning as low pressure pushes southward out of southern Canada. This system will continue to spread snow as well as gusty winds across the Midwest, Ohio Valley and eventually the East today through Wednesday. This system is expected to bring a swath of 4-8 inches of snow from the Northern Plains, Midwest, and southern Great Lakes Region today and into Tuesday with locally higher amounts of up to 10-14 inches possible. On Wednesday, the system will bring snowfall across the Ohio Valley and eventually offshore the East Coast with snowfall totals of 6-10 inches possible and isolated higher totals up to 1-2ft possible across the higher elevations of the Central Appalachians.

Snowfall will continue across southern Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the Dakotas through Tuesday morning as low pressure pushes southward out of southern Canada. This system will continue to spread snow as well as gusty winds across the Midwest, Ohio Valley and eventually the East today through Wednesday. This system is expected to bring a swath of 4-8 inches of snow from the Northern Plains, Midwest, and southern Great Lakes Region today and into Tuesday with locally higher amounts of up to 10-14 inches possible. On Wednesday, the system will bring snowfall across the Ohio Valley and eventually offshore the East Coast with snowfall totals of 6-10 inches possible and isolated higher totals up to 1-2ft possible across the higher elevations of the Central Appalachians. Click for larger size. Image: ImpactWeather

The Euro model shows the potential for 18 inches of snow especially in the mountains of West Virginia. Indicated in millmeters of water, the conversion to snow is indicated by the bold numbers placed on the image. Image: StormGeo

The Euro model shows the potential for 18 inches of snow especially in the mountains of West Virginia. The colored scale is in millimeters of liquid equivalent (see scale in upper right), but the conversion to inches of snow is indicated by the bold numbers placed on the image. Click for larger size. Image: StormGeo

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