Spring is a dream-like thing these days. March 1st marks meteorological spring and March 20th this year will be the start of astrological spring. But the next winter storm has no regard for the calendar and it will be an impressive event for Maryland. You are going to hear March ‘roar’ (insert Katy Perry here) as we have a complex, long duration event with a bulls eye set on northern and central Maryland. It really might seem like we have had a target on our backs all winter. I called for a cold and snowy winter based on many reasons, and Baltimore's seasonal total snowfall so far of 26.9" is above our 20 inch normal total winter already. We are going to add more to what has been very active since the record early start for the local ski resorts the day after Thanksgiving. The storm pattern helps to prove validation for my atmospheric memory theory…
This is widespread for our region to get attention for the event. Any WARNINGS or ADVISORIES are usually issued within 24 hours of those conditions starting when a better handle of what will happen for your area is known.
What makes this storm unique is that it will start as rain, but transition to ice and then snow as a slow moving arctic boundary will drop through our region. As this happens, a few waves of Low Pressure will provide ample supply of moisture as the temperatures drop into the teens during the afternoon. This will make the snow less heavy and wet like a typical March event, and more dry and fluffy. That will do two important things:
1) Snow ratios will be higher, resulting in more inches fluffed up from the same amount of moisture
2) The colder air will allow for more stickage despite the higher sun angle and solar radiation through the clouds.
Please see the map images in the slide show to help guide the likely timeline and computer models. There is also an animation of the storm progress in the video clip on the left.
What To Expect:
This entire system will gradually build in from west/north to the east/south.
My First Call for Snowfall Map is the lowest confident number I believe in now. The '+' is for upside potential based on temperature, timing, and set up of the heaviest snow bands. In short: Baltimore will get 8 inches OR MORE of snow, while 10 inches or more will fall in the western and northern zones. Annapolis and Washington should be good for 6 inches or more, with a large upside potential. Again, this is a first call 48 hours ahead of the storm peak.
Sunday afternoon and evening: Rain arrives. This may mix with sleet and freezing rain north of Baltimore.
Sunday Night: The ice line may reach Baltimore metro with rain south. This will be the first way moving out and allow the colder air to drop in with a lull in precipitation as the main part of the storm builds our way.
Monday Morning: The main event!
This may start 2-5 am with ice and snow north of I-95 and rain/ice south, but quickly change over to snow around daybreak. Winds will increase to gust near 25 mph, making for blowing and drifting snow.
Heaviest Snow: The peak of this system appears to show on Monday between 7 am and 1 pm. At that point the arctic air buils in and temperatures will drop into the 15F-20F range. This will turn the snow from heavy and wet to dry and fluffy. That will increase snow ratios to 15 or 20 to 1. The net result will bump up our snow totals.
The top snows will be well over 10 inches from southern PA to the Baltimore and Washington suburbs. That is based on climatology. There is a chance the big cities themselves and southern suburbs get in on the higher amounts as well... that al depends on where the heavy bands set up at this time.
Lightning and thunder: This has happened a few times this winter, and may happen again with the final wave of low pressure during the day on Monday. While this may be a new thing to you, it also happened multiple times during our blockbuster 2009-2010 winter, and every large storm I’ve experienced in Baltimore in the past 16 years. Those usually drop over 10 inches nearby and this will surely bring that as well. Within the bands that have thunder, snowfall rates can jump up to 2-4 inches/hour briefly.
Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore: They will get in on this too. The Canadian Model I have shown here is quite aggressive with the cold air, but that is why I have trusted it all winter It handle arctic air the best. So if this is correct, then ice will change to accumulating snow for much of Maryland by Mid Day and eventually to the beaches during the afternoon with more accumulation.
Iced Up Monday Night: Temperatures will settle into the single digits and low teens near the bay. This will be anything like a spring storm. It will certainly feel like mid winter.
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