2 Scenarios for Friday's Winter Storm

As of Tuesday models are still picking up on a developing area of low pressure that will eventually become a winter storm for the Mid Atlantic states. Its journey across the country will put it around Texas by Thursday. It will organize further and pick up moisture from the Gulf of Mexico as it moves across the Southeastern part of the country. By Thursday and Friday it will be very apparent on radar images where the center of the storm will be.

There’s no question that the airmass in place across the Mid Atlantic states is, and will stay, cold enough to support snow. However, there may be some areas that will see a changeover to rain for part of the storm. This storm will approach our area Friday. . . but it’s still too early to see the exact timing, as is normally the case three days out. Right now it does appear that it will be late Friday, but just how late will depend on its speed once it organizes into this Nor’easter. Models are in agreement that this storm will cause heavy snowfall. In our area, that looks likely as of now. But WHO sees heavy snow will be determined on the track of the storm. A small shift in the track can mean a big difference across the area with snow coverage and the placement of the rain/snow line.

Here’s what we know is true
A winter storm will develop. It will be cold enough for snow through parts of our area. This storm will have an impact on our area. Saturday would be the main day for this event. We expect impacts at the shore which could lead to moderate flooding with high tide and a new moon as the storm moves by.

Here’s what we also know
Computer models fluctuate with storms of this scale, this far out in time (keep in mind that as of Tuesday-the future winter storm is still over the Pacific NW). As computer models forecast these storms, they are also forecasting the weather patterns around the storms and around the rest of the country. This in turn will impact the storm’s track. The shifting storm track will then impact wind direction locally. Wind direction will then impact temperature, where the rain/snow line is, and precipitation cut-off.

It could be a matter of only 50 miles for a storm to move that would bring heavy snow instead of rain to some areas. So these small details in the forecasting are important.

Below you will see what the most recent European model shows for the storm. It has a track which is farther offshore now, which would mean less snow N&W (sorry Poconos) and more snow through Philadelphia, New Jersey and Delaware by Saturday. I would not be surprised if this track keeps changing slightly as we get closer to the event. All it takes is a small shift. 

Now we look at another model, the GFS, which has the track of the storm closer to the shore. This would mean more heavy snow N&W (ski resorts will love this track), mainly snow in Philadelphia which could change to a mix at the end, and snow for NJ and DE which could have rain in the middle of the event and possibly toward the end.

The two scenarios are not day and night in terms of “snow or no snow,” but that also depends where you live. Updates on this storm will be coming in every day for the rest of the week, so stay tuned!

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