At first glance, this is a classic winter event for our region. Mostly snow north and west and a mix or rain for the southern and eastern sections. In the middle is where most people live and the zone where the biggest change can happen. My final snowfall forecast is made with some reservations, but along the lines of my first call for snowfall with a few adjustments on the southern end, but there is less confidence there. Perhaps this full moon really will help enhance this storm. That is still an unproven theory, but has some support.
The snowfall maps and storm track can be found in the slide show below on the left. One thing to point out I you have trouble reading my “Bust Potential”, it is word for word below.
- This storm is showing signs of being a little stronger and perhaps could have a little more moisture.
- I see an upper level piece of energy that will enhance the precipitation between 9am and 1pm. This is in the slide show using the GFS Model to demonstrate it. There is support for this among most of the models. This burst energy will boost the snow where it is falling at that time. That is the main reason I made the all snow zone UP TO 6” for the mountains in southern PA and western Maryland.
- The trend this past week and much of the autumn season has been for storms to verify farther east. The Nor’easter after Sandy did that. The result kept the snow away from Maryland, but dumped it on the NJ Shore and Long Island Sandy hit areas as a surprise.
- If this storm does prove to be farther east, then snow amounts for most of our region will a little higher.
- Snow is very hard to forecast because just 0.10” of liquid could result in another 1 inch or more of snow.
- There general projection is about 1/3” of liquid equivalent moisture for Baltimore. That would translate to 3-4 inches on average, but wet snow will compact more. Sleet will compact results. Colder air will fluff up higher conversion rates, while the hills and mountains can enhance heavier amounts as well.
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Comparing my forecast with The National Weather Service
NWS is basing their numbers on about 1/3” of liquid precipitation. All I am doing is increasing that a little more. The result could fluff it higher for the mountains, but only a little bit in central Maryland. This is all based on just a slightly stronger storm with a track a little farther east and a little colder.
NWS Forecast: Snow/Rain line: Along I-95
All Snow Zone: 2”-4”
Mix Zone: 1”-3”
Annapolis: On the Edge of 1 inch or less, but has snow to about Rt. 50
My Forecast: Snow/rain line about 30-50 miles east and south of I-95 with cold air catching up at the end to turn over some snow for places east
All Snow Zone: 4”-6” (Hills and Mountains get the high end)
Mix Zone: 2”-4”
Annapolis: The will be on the edge of 2 inches, extending across Kent Island to Easton.
Southern MD: I expect a mix early, maybe to rain then back to snow for a coating to 1 inch at the end. This is lower than my first call and my least confident part of my forecast.
Beaches of MD and DE: I cut back on the snow to stick, but this area may get wrap around snow as the coastal storm rapidly develops late afternoon and evening.
For now this looks like a day event, most of Saturday.
- Arrive: Before sunrise over the course of a few hours from southwest to northeast. Roughly 3-6 am west and south; 5-7am east.
- Heaviest: The most intense snow 9am-1pm.
- Ending: The storm will wind down from west to east during the afternoon and be gone by evening. The winds will get strong again. Gusts over 40 mph possible as the storm departs
Please see my Winter Storm Forecasting Manifesto for more on my practice. I love snow but that does not influence my forecasts. I know how just a little bit can be a big problem in many places the first time of the season. So be careful driving.
- More Snow: If storm tracks farther east like the last few, colder air would expand these snow bands to more areas. *Note the last two ‘events’ over performed
- Less Snow: All depends on where the snow/rain line sets up. Models try to place it along I-95. I am expecting that to be farther south by just 30-50 miles. That is a very small shift in a system this size.
- Southern MD/Eastern Shore: Models are warmer for this region. I expect it will turn colder sooner.
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