Major Northeast Winter Storm

A potent winter storm will impact much of the Northeast over the weekend, which will dump feet of snow and create blizzard-like conditions (see Fig. 1). A strong low moving out of the Tennessee Valley will intensify over the Mid-Atlantic, coupled with the region being on the right entrance region of a potent upper-level jet streak, will generate widespread heavy precipitation for the region.

Fig. 1: Current winter weather products (warning, watch & advisory) in place

The heaviest snow will fall from northern Ohio into New England (this includes Pennsylvania western/central New York). These locations could see more than 2 feet of snow. It is not out of the question that some of the higher elevations in New England could see 3-4 feet (see Fig. 2). Along with the heavy snow accumulations, snow rates of 2-4″ per hour could occur with strong winds gusting between 40 to 60 mph. This will reduce visibilities, which could create blizzard conditions. This will make travel extremely dangerous.

Fig. 2: Forecast snowfall totals

Warmer air will be pulled into the system across coastal areas of New England and New York, down to northern Virginia, which will increase the freezing rain and sleet probabilities. Significant ice may accumulate in these regions (see Fig. 3), which will not only make travel difficult but put stress on other infrastructure and trees. It is possible that power outages will occur due to the weight of the ice.

Fig. 3: Forecast ice totals

It should also be noted, that as this low deepens, coastal flooding may occur. This threat is enhanced during high-tide on Sunday for all coastal areas in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. The precipitation should begin to depart the region late in the day on Sunday (see Fig. 4) but a few lake effect snow bands may establish themselves as the low moves well off to the northeast by late in the day on Sunday.

Significant storms impact both coasts

Active Pattern leads to a significant storms early next week:

Significant Storms are set to take place in an active pattern across the United States will bring severe weather to the Gulf Coast and Widespread rain with heavy mountain snow to the West.  These frequent West Coast fronts will eventually lead to a strong system developing in the south and moving off the coast of the Northeast.

Significant Storms

Showers and thunderstorms are expected to be widespread tonight in association with an upper level disturbance from portions of the Gulf Coast and Southeast to the Ohio valley and portions of the Great Lakes.   An evolving cluster of thunderstorms bring the risk for potentially damaging wind gusts, and perhaps a tornado or two, across southeastern Alabama and portions of the western Florida Panhandle by late this evening.  An increasingly organized convective system is forecast across the region and extends the Severe risk into West Central and Southwestern Georgia overnight, but this system will continue to be just disorganized enough to only cause a few severe storms.  Issuance of a watch is not likely at this time.  Rain will spread northeast on Friday across portions of the Mid-Atlantic and lower Great Lakes. Farther south, another round of showers and thunderstorms is expected to develop during the afternoon and evening along the Gulf Coast, some of which could once again become severe across the lower Mississippi Valley and adjacent Gulf coastal areas.  Primary convective development may occur in response to strengthening low-level warm advection on the leading edge of the deeper/more favorable low-level moisture return.  This is expected across parts of the northwestern Gulf of Mexico/upper Texas and Louisiana coastal areas Friday evening, northeastward through portions of southern Louisiana and central Mississippi Friday night, primarily as a risk for severe hail.  By late Friday night, forcing for ascent may become strong enough southward toward southeast Louisiana/Mississippi/Alabama coastal areas, to overcome inhibition and support increasing convective development.  In the presence of increasing boundary layer based instability, the risk for supercells with potential for tornadoes, in addition to large hail and damaging winds, may increase by or shortly after Saturday morning.

Meanwhile, A Pacific frontal system will move onshore along the West coast tonight, bringing widespread rain and mountain snow.  As the system moves inland, snow will spread into portions of the Great Basin and Four Corners region on Friday as this system becomes one of the significant storms expected to impact the states.  Winter Storm Warnings are in effect and some of the higher elevations could see as much as 4 feet of snow fall as this system passes through.    For lower elevations, rain and wind will be the issue with many counties under High Wind Warnings.    Some areas in this region have already seen as much as 6 inches of rain over the last few days and flooding is an issue.   Scattered convective development appears possible during the day Friday, in the presence of lower/mid tropospheric warm advection. The convective layer may be sufficient for low topped supercells, with a risk for strong surface gusts and perhaps a tornado.  The severe threat dies out overnight Friday but heavy snow will be possible through Saturday morning for the mountains in California as well as areas from the Mogollon Rim to the central and southern Rockies.  By late Saturday into Saturday night, rain and mountain snow will begin to increase once again from central California northward along the coast as another frontal system approaches from the Northwest.  Rain and snow will start first in Washington and Oregon before shifting south across California and the Rockies.   Winter Storm Watches are already beginning to go into effect for this system with the forecast calling for an additional 1 to 3 feet in the higher elevations.


On Saturday, widespread showers and thunderstorms are once again expected from the Gulf Coast and lower Mississippi valley to the Southeast along and ahead of a developing warm front.  Some storms could become severe by Saturday night and Sunday morning as the trough that’s currently moving onto the west coast shifts east across the Southern Plains by Saturday evening.  Any storms that form here will do so in an environment with steep midlevel lapse rates, moderate buoyancy, and sufficient deep-layer shear for supercells capable of producing large hail (potentially some very large) and damaging winds.  The stronger low-level wind profiles are expected farther east and overnight in association with a lead speed max progressing inland from the Gulf.  Enhancement to low-level shear from south and southeast AL into the FL Panhandle and southwest GA will favor supercells with damaging winds and potentially some tornado risk, depending on the details on the low-level shear and near-ground lapse rates inland.  The Storm Prediction Center has given this area a slight risk at this time but I expect that this will increase as the forecast period gets closer.

Model guidance continues to show a fair amount of uncertainty with the significant storms at the end of this weekend.   The system will be lifting from the Lower Mississippi Valley to the Northeast early next week and could potentially become a significant east coast storm, bringing severe weather to the Southeast and heavy precipitation through New England as the next system moves on shore from the pacific.   The timing and strength of the significant storms has below average confidence at this time, but that will improve as we get a better look at the storm systems involved as they move over land.  There is likely to be a large number of people who will see rain or snow to start next week.




Blizzard Warning, Storm targets East Coast

A Blizzard Warning is in effect for Virginia and Massachusetts as a major winter storm takes shape in the southeastern United States.

Blizzard Warning

The rain/snow line continues to slowly collapse over the Carolinas as surface temperatures begin to approach freezing in places like Fayetteville, Goldsboro, Greenville and Elizabeth City at this hour, which is 4 AM EST. Heavy and steady snow is falling across Virginia with the worst expected near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, where strong winds and heavy snow will cause blizzard conditions, prompting the issuance of a Blizzard Warning.


Blizzard Warning for Virginia

As the storm moves up and along the coast, many coastal locations will slowly get in on the snowfall, but the most snow is expected along the coastline near Norfolk, Hampton Roads, Virginia Beach and Chesapeake Virginia, where the Blizzard Warning is in place until 10 PM Saturday night . Blizzard conditions will be found in this area where 6-12 inches of snow will fall. Winds will be sustained at 20-30 mph with gusts to 45 mph reducing visibilities with blowing and drifting snow. Most counties in Virginia remain under a Winter Storm Warning and will see several inches of snow as forecast by Matt and Chris in earlier articles, maps, and posts to the Facebook page.

New Jersey and the Delmarva

The storm will move off the Mid-Atlantic coast late tonight into Saturday morning. While the major metro areas around New York City, Newark, Trenton, Philadelphia down to Baltimore and D.C will be spared major snowfalls, regions to those cities Southeast will see snow overspread the area from the South late tonight into the early morning hours of Saturday. The snow will be heavy at times during the morning and early afternoon and will taper off from west to east during the late afternoon and early evening.

Warnings and Advisories

A Winter Storm Warning remains in effect from 3 am to 6 PM EST Saturday for Atlantic, Cape May, Ocean, Cumberland and Southeastern Burlington County in New Jersey, Kent and Sussex County in Delaware and Caroline, Dorchester, Worcester, Somerset, St. Mary’s, Talbot, and Wicomico County in Maryland for 4-7 inches of snow. Winds will be out of the northwest at 5-10 mph increasing to 15-20 mph. Winds gusts into the 30 mph range can be expected, especially along the coast. Visibility could drop to less than 1/2 mile. While it’s possible that blizzard conditions could exist for a short time period in this area, a Blizzard Warning will not be issued.

A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect from Delaware, Eastern Chester, Eastern Montgomery, Lower Bucks and Philadelphia County in Pennsylvania, New Castle County in Delaware, Camden, Monmouth, Gloucester, Northwestern Burlington, and Salem County in New Jersey, Anne Arundel, Calvert, Cecil, Central and Southeastern Howard, Central and Southeastern Montgomery, Charles, Kent, Prince George’s, Queen Anne’s, Southeast Harford and Southern Baltimore County in Maryland as well as Washington D.C. 1-3 inches of snow is generally expected in this area with winds of 10-15 mph gusting to 25 mph. Snow will start from South to North tonight into Saturday morning and end West to East Saturday afternoon into the overnight hours.


New England and Long Island

A major winter storm will strike Southeastern New England with blizzard to near blizzard conditions likely and significant snow accumulations across much of Eastern New England. Snowfall Friday Morning brought a general accumulation of 3-5 inches across Southeast Massachusetts and South-Central Rhode Island with isolated amounts up to 7 inches on parts of Cape Cod and the Islands where snowfall rates briefly reached 1- inches per hour while lighter snowfall amounts occurred to the north and west of Boston.

Snow should overspread the region from Southwest to Northeast during the late morning hours on Saturday. The heaviest snow, and likely blizzard conditions will be between 4 PM and 10 PM, with the snow tapering off from there during the overnight hours.

Warnings and Advisories

A Blizzard Warning is in effect from 7 AM Saturday to 4 AM Sunday for Cape Cod and the Islands, Coastal Plymouth County for 12 to 18 inches of snow. Strong Northeasterly winds of 20-30 miles per hour with gusts to 45 mph will cause blowing and drifting snow to combine with the heavy snowfall to reduce visibilities to less than 1/4 mile at times.

A Winter Storm Warning is in effect from 7 AM Saturday until 4 AM Sunday for Bristol County and Western and Southern Plymouth County Massachusetts for 12-16 inches of snow with isolated higher amounts and considerable blowing and drifting snow with a period of near blizzard conditions as wind gusts get into the 40 MPH range.

A Winter Storm Warning is in effect from 7 AM Saturday to 1 AM Sunday for all of Rhode Island and Essex, Suffolk, Central and Southeast Middlesex, Norfolk Southern Worcester and Northern Bristol County Massachusetts, New London, Tolland, Windham, New Haven, and Middlesex County in Connecticut and Eastern Suffolk County in New York for 4-8 inches of snow and isolated higher amounts possible along Northeast coastal Massachusetts and Southern Rhode Island. Wind gusts to 35 MPH may result in considerable blowing and drifting snow. Blizzard conditions may exist for a short time period along the coast, but they will not last long enough to cause the issuance of a Blizzard Warning in these counties.

A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect from 7 AM to 10 PM Saturday for Northwest Middlesex, Northern Worcester Franklin Hampshire and Hampden Counties of Massachusetts, Fairfield, Litchfield and Hartford Counties in Connecticut and Western Suffolk county in New York for 3-6 inches of snow.

Areas outside of the advisory will likely see a coating to 3 inches of snow with the 3inches amounts closest to the advisory area.

Lake Effect Snow Warning

A Lake effect snow warning remains in effect until 1 PM EST Sunday for Oswego and Southern Lewis Counties. the highest amounts will near and south of the Tug Hill.

Snow should accumulate 4 to 8 inches during the course of the day on Saturday, and then add another 5 to 10 inches Saturday night with another 2 to 4 inches before the band tapers off on Sunday. This totals too 11 to 22 inches of snow from now until early Sunday afternoon.

For the Jamestown area off Lake Erie, the Lake Effect snow will take a break on Saturday, but will be back later on Saturday night into Sunday.

Robert Millette

Firsthand Weather

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