A major winter storm will slam the East Coast this weekend, impacting millions, bringing hurricane-strength wind gusts and feet of snow. An area of low pressure will begin to get its act together early Saturday off the coast of the Carolinas, then accelerating north-northeast just off the Mid-Atlantic and New England coast. As it does, the low pressure will rapidly strengthen bringing strong winds and heavy snow to coastal areas of the Mid-Atlantic and New England. Watch the latest video forecast on this winter storm!
Because of the expected impacts from the winter storm, a plethora of winter weather alerts have been issued from South Carolina to Maine and all areas in between. There are Blizzard Warnings, Winter Storm Warnings, Winter Weather Advisories, and Winter Storm Watches.
Areas of heavy snow are expected, impacting major Metro areas across the Northeast and New England as the winter storm really begins to ramp up late in the day Saturday. Farther south, as the storm starts to develop, snow is even expected into eastern Tennesee, northeastern Georgia, and South Carolina. This is where a dusting to a couple of inches of snow is possible in the higher elevations. Heavier snow totals are expected in North Carolina with the favored areas being the mountains of western North Carolina and northeastern North Carolina where more than half a foot are expected. Farther north, along coastal parts of the Mid-Atlantic and New England, over a foot of snow is expected Saturday into Sunday as the storm begins to rapidly intensify. Isolated areas of nearly two feet of snow cannot be ruled out for southern New England. It’s also important to note, the snow will be wind blown in these areas so blizzard conditions are possible for many coastal areas from the Mid-Atlantic through New England late Saturday.
A high-impact winter storm looks to impact many areas along the East Coast this weekend. An area of low pressure will develop and track just off the East Coast this weekend, rapidly intensifying as it does so. This track will spread impacts into many areas from the Carolinas, to the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast & New England from Saturday through Sunday as the low pressure moves north-northeast.
The low pressure will start to get its act together Saturday off the coast of the Carolinas then rapidly strengthening overnight Saturday into Sunday off the coast of New England. While there are some questions about the track (i.e. how close or how far from the coast the low will track), models are starting to come into an agreement of the track of the low and that agreement suggests impacts will be felt from the Carolinas to Maine with significant impacts possible for some areas.
Right now, it appears the low will track in the “sweet spot” in which the low will track close enough to the coast for precipitation coastal areas and far enough off the coast for cold air to be pulled into the system for wintry precipitation. Initially, some rain is possible for coastal parts of the Carolinas overnight Friday into Saturday with snow wrapping into those areas and other parts of the Carolinas, and most areas farther north seeing all snow along the coast from Saturday through Sunday as the low tracks northeast.
While it’s too early to focus on the exact snowfall numbers, we have moderate confidence in which areas will be favored to see what type of precipitation and a general idea of how much. Right now, it appears this will mainly be a snow event for coastal areas from the Mid-Atlantic, and New England with some snow extending down into the Carolinas. At this time, half a foot to a foot of snow looks to fall for coastal areas of the East Coast from Virginia to Maine. Isolated higher amounts are possible for Southern New England into Maine. Extending farther, inland amounts will be significantly less with a tight snowfall accumulation gradient from the coast to inland areas. Farther south into the Carolinas, it appears some areas will see up to two inches of snow with the favored upslope areas of higher terrain seeing higher amounts. The higher terrain of North Carolina and South Carolina could see a few inches fall. Even far northeastern Georgia could see a few flakes. (Keep in mind, a slight shift in the track of the low pressure would cause significant changes in the current forecast)
As this system strengthens off the coast of New England, expect the winds to really ramp up for coastal parts of New England. Gusts higher than 60 mph are possible along with the heavy snow.
Another winter storm will impact the Carolinas Friday into Saturday. The storm will deliver a round of snow and freezing rain even to coastal parts of the area. Some of the accumulations could be significant. Because of the expected impacts on travel and electricity, a Winter Storm Watch (blue) has been issued for much of the Carolinas. This will likely be upgraded to a Winter Storm Warning and Ice Storm Warning tomorrow. Watch the latest video forecast on the winter storm.
Eastern and Coastal parts of the Carolinas could see 0.25 to 0.50 inches of freezing rain with central Coastal parts of North Carolina receiving up to 0.75 inches of freezing rain. Snow is also possible with the best snow accumulations expected in eastern North Carolina where several inches may fall.
Areas of light wintry precipitation are possible tonight into Thursday from northern & central Arkansas into western and northern Tennessee, northern Mississippi, and northwestern Alabama. It appears this will be a wintry mix of sleet and freezing rain for most areas but northern Tennessee could see snow. Light, patchy freezing rain cannot be ruled out for northeastern Georgia, North Carolina, and Upstate South Carolina.
The main event arrives Friday into early Saturday as an upper-level system approaches from the Southern Plains. This upper air disturbance will spread lift of the region leading to the development of precipitation along with a surface area of low pressure developing along the coast of the Carolinas. This will pull moisture into the subfreezing air mass over the Carolinas and parts of the Southeast leading to a mixture of wintry precipitation. It should be noted: recent trends have shifted the main precipitation axis farther east which is depicted in the future radar below. Join the Firsthand Weather Supporter Group for this afternoon’s video forecast on this event.
It appears there will be a strong warm layer above the surface, which means many areas from eastern North Carolina, eastern South Carolina, and possibly eastern Georgia will see freezing rain extending all the way to the coast of the Carolinas. Farther inland into the Carolinas and northeastern Georgia, sleet, and snow are possible. This includes Upstate South Carolina and western & central North Carolina.
There are some questions about the depth of the warm layer above the surface, how far inland it will extend, the intensity and coverage of precipitation, along with how far inland it extends. With that said, accumulations do look likely for parts of the Carolinas with the favored areas being eastern & coastal South Carolina, and eastern, coastal, and central North Carolina.
A Winter Storm Watch has been issued for the eastern half of North Carolina and the northeastern quadrant of South Carolina from Thursday night through Saturday morning. Parts of this will likely get upgraded to a Winter Storm Warning and Ice Storm Warning and other areas will likely be included in winter weather alerts. It appears accumulations will be enough to cause disruption to travel and power outages.
It appears coastal and eastern parts of the Carolinas could see 0.25 to 0.50 inches of freezing rain with isolated higher amounts. This would cause significant issues. Farther inland, where the warm layer above the surface is less, a brief bout of freezing rain accumulating to around 0.10 to 0.20 inches is possible with an inch or two of sleet and snow. Isolated higher snow amounts are possible across northern and northeastern North Carolina.
Keeping a close eye on the weather pattern late this week into the weekend for the potential for wintry precipitation for parts of the South & Southeast. An Arctic cold front will move into the South on Thursday and into the Southeast on Friday, delivering a big shot of cold with temperatures dipping to or below freezing. Watch the video forecast on this system!
The focus then shifts to a low pressure that could develop near the northern Gulf of Mexico, tracking east-northeast across the region from Friday into Saturday. Depending on the track of the low, it could spread moisture into the subfreezing air mass across parts of the South & Southeast during this timeframe. As expected this far out, there is a lot of uncertainty and the models are disagreeing with the specifics; however, the pattern is favorable for the possibility of wintry precipitation from Thursday in central and south Texas, possibly spreading east on Friday into southern parts of Mississippi, southern Alabama, southern Georgia and Carolinas by Saturday. Watch the video forecast on this system!
Again, this is far out so a lot can and will change over the coming days. Don’t focus too much on the specifics but just take a mental note to keep checking back for updates as we gain more confidence in the forecast over the coming days. Watch the video forecast on this system!
Firsthand Weather is currently working on an updated snowfall & ice accumulation map based on the current trends and latest model guidance that is rolling in. Below is some of the recent model guidance rolling in. Keep in mind, this is not a forecast and this is one run from one model so look at these images with that in mind.
As parts of the South & Southeast prepare for the incoming winter storm later tonight through Sunday, a host of winter weather alerts have been issued for the region. Winter Storm Warnings, Ice Storm Warnings, Winter Weather Advisories, and Winter Storm Watches extend from Oklahoma to South Carolina. Keep in mind, these will change throughout the day and additional areas will be added and certain areas will see upgrades. Join the Firsthand Weather Supporter Group.
Here is a closer look at the winter weather alerts. Keep in mind the pink is an Ice Storm Warning, the dark blue is a Winter Storm Warning, the light blue is a Winter Storm Watch, and the dark gray area is a Winter Weather Advisory.
A Tsunami Advisory has been issued for the entire West Coast this morning! The coast of California, the coast of Oregon, the coast of Washington, the coast of Alaska, and the coast of Hawaii are under the advisory. Vulnerable areas may flood.
The advisory was issued after an earthquake and volcanic eruptions in the Tonga Islands.
A tsunami has already been realized for parts of Tonga Island after the volcanic eruption.
If you live along coastal areas of the West Coast or in Hawaii or Alaska, move farther inland, and if you have family or friends in the region, give them a call and let them know.
While tsunami is not expected to be large, a 1-3 foot wall of water is possible so please stay off of beaches. Dangerous waves and rip currents are expected today for the aforementioned coastal areas.