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Final call for snowfall: March 3rd 2014

There will be heavy snow in Maryland. If that's all that matters, then the rest is academic, and for the outliers. But there are more details I would like to share. Besides the fact that this storm will start as rain and turn to a very cold and dry snow overnight, there are more questions. How much of southern PA will be included. How much will fall over southern MD and into VA? Even Delaware?

Compare my forecast to NWS and a few computer models for March 3, 2014
Compare my forecast to NWS and a few computer models for March 3, 2014
Just In Weather, Justin Berk
The two extremes: The Canadian Model shows heavy snow farther north than the Hi-Resolution NAM Model. Maryland will still be in the bulls eye
NWS, CMC, Just In Weather

This storm is more complicated than most because it is based on an arctic front that is moving our way and expected to stall, allowing a final wave of Low Pressure to bring in a surge of snow. Where will it stall? The variation on computer models is a spread of about 100 miles. While that might sound like a rather large area, considering order of 1000 miles for the front, this is a blip. That blip just happens to be on to of us.

Record Event?

The cold and heavy snow will bring up comparisons to extreme conditions of the past. Here is a look for Baltimore:

  • Normal High: 49°F
  • Normal Low: 30°F
  • Record coldest afternoon high: 26°F in 1960
  • Record Snow: 10” in 1960

My Thoughts:

After analyzing multiple models along with the satellite, radar, and core energy from California now in Texas that will head out way, I’ve determined this: The arctic boundary is a force beyond the norm in the climatology/history included in the model calculations. There is a lot of history included in how this may play out, but we often don’t have arctic air like this in early March. But the storm that hit California is also stronger than the norm and has a lot of warmer subtropical energy with it. So while the front has been seen to drop father south, I see the final wave of low pressure on Monday that will either push it back north a little or send the moisture farther north with its momentum. Since the Canadian Model does the best with arctic air and it does not push the front too far south, I have considered that to hold the heaviest snow right in the middle of central Maryland.

The easy part of this forecast is the arctic air will spill in for sure. The rain will change to ice and snow overnight. The snow will eventually be the light and fluffy kind that will increase snow ratios. With expected temps in the teens for the tail end of the storm, those snow ratios could be as high as 20 to 1, double that of normal. That means more snow for the same amount of liquid equivalent.

I had a large 10”+ range and I still have that in Maryland, just shifted a little.

Changes:

The main adjustments to my original ‘first call’ map are:

1) Lower snow on the north side in southern PA. Yes, a little lower than my low confident number on my first call map, but still a moderate amount. This will be the first test of my forecast based on the Canadian Model for where the front stalls. Any lower amounts would justify the NAM and a few others models.

2) Higher snow totals in central and southern Maryland. This does fit with my format of upside potential. The bust potential here will be the heavy snow burst on Monday morning. There will be over 1 inch of liquid equivalent for this region over the entire storm. I see part of that used up as freezing rain sleet before the change over. Then the snow will be more of a 10 to 1 standard ratio.

*My snow map shows wide range bands to include the fact that there will be bursts of snow that could at times fall at 2”/hr rates or higher. Especially if you hear thunder-snow like a few other storms this winter had. We have already seen how snow can vary 4 inches or more across the same town.

I called for a cold and snowy winter based on many reasons, and it has been since the record early start for the local ski resorts the day after Thanksgiving, helping to prove validation for my atmospheric memory theory…

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