This is not an easy forecast for the Mid Atlantic. It rarely is. There is almost certainty that the developing storm on Friday February 8th will turn into a full fledged blizzard for part of New England,. But the storm will mature quickly by the time it reaches that region. For Maryland, we get the storm just before it explodes with development and pulls in colder air. Parts of our state will also get clipped by the backside or wrap around of the storm on Saturday morning.
No Maryland Snow Map:
As much as I would like to make one, this is not an easy call. First- the initial precipitation on Friday morning will be a mix, but will trend to sleet and freezing rain. The back side snow threat does clip northern and eastern MD. Cecil County has the best chance, but there could be some snow with accumulation extend beyond that. It is honestly too hard to call, but the maps I’ve shown support waking up with ‘something’ Saturday morning.
More on my forecasting platform, please read My Winter Forecasting Manifesto
My initial expectations of the storm seemed to hold up well with the NAM Computer Model this morning. I’ve taken a few snapshots and placed them in the slide show for reference. For contrast I've included a look at the Canadian Model in the video clip. This shows a warmer solution, ignoring the chance of an icy start in Maryland. There are many possibilities. The location and timing of the storm phase could make or bust the forecast. The small outside chance for MD to get into the snow would take earlier development near North Carolina, compared to near Ocean City as shown here.
Note that the general development of this storm fits with my Atmospheric Memory Theory. The storm will pass through and explode along the Sandy Sweet spot east of New Jersey I keep pointing out. This is what that post Sandy snow storm did and a few recent clippers. It is hard to ignore the pattern. This is the best way I can simplify what is about to happen:
The set up:
There are storms on today’s weather map that represent the northern and southern branches of the jet stream.
1. The southern system along the Gulf Coast will be the main player. It has a lot of moisture with it already.
2. The northern system is the leading edge of the next push of arctic air. This will race eastward and catch up to the southern storm.
This is when two branches of the jet stream join forces and create one large storm. This can lead to rapid development due to the contrast of warm air on the east side and cold air on the west. The greater the distance and more available moisture can result in a lot of energy.
This is when the air pressure of a developing storm drops 1 mb per hour for 24 hours. At this point, the wind field increases as well as air rushes in toward the center and spirals around counter-clockwise.
A storm with sustained winds over 35 mph with snow rates over 1 inch per hour for 3 hours. This is a true white out, where visibility can be close to zero.
Mid Atlantic Expectations:
Please refer to the slide show for maps
Friday Morning: The Freezing line may be right along the Chesapeake Bay. What arrives before daybreak will be light, but it may be icy. This extends into southern MD, up into PA, and west to Frederick. There may be a brief period of snow and sleet, then freezing rain. The Eastern Shore and coastal areas could have some heavy rain.
Between 9am and noon, the freezing line will shift west and north as warmer air initially gets pushed out of the storm. The freezing temps may hold in parts of Carroll County and southern PA, but the main precipitation will be along the coast.
Friday Evening- Saturday Morning: Cold air gets pulled down south on the backside of the storm. This wrap around will be turning to all snow and may clip Roundtop Resort and down I-83 with a few inches. The final surge of snow could linger into Saturday morning with. This will have light snow and flurries pretty far west, but the best accumulation will reach Cecil County, perhaps Harford… and all points northeast. Traveling here, through Philadelphia, all of New Jersey and beyond will have to be postponed.
Winds will increase all day and into Friday night. Gusts in Maryland could get over 40 mph. I expect winds over 60 mph along the New England coast.
Winter Storm Watch: Worst conditions will be metro NYC in New Jersey and into New England. Over 6 inches of snow likely for much of this area.
Blizzard Watch: Rhode Island and eastern Massachusetts could get 18-24 inches of snow. Lucky Dogs!
No current advisories to note for Maryland, southern PA, or Delaware. I expect marine and wind advisories will be posted for later Friday into Saturday. As for snow... still that uncertain issue of how large and how close the storm is into Saturday morning. There will be adjustments along the way.
Airline delays may extend away from this region and it could take a few days to get back to normal.
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