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Possible late weekend snow in Washington, Baltimore, and Philadelphia

National Weather Service forecast map.
National Weather Service forecast map.
Map courtesy National Weather Service

Today's weather in the Middle Atlantic region certainly felt like winter with high temperatures only in the upper 20s to mid 30s along with gusty winds that sent wind chill values into the 10s (even lower during the early morning hours.) Despite the bright mid-March sunshine, today felt more like January than one week before the spring equinox. Yet, today's conditions may be a hint of things to come with a possible late-winter snowfall in Washington, Baltimore, and Philadelphia on Sunday night and Monday. Until then, our weather will turn more spring-like on Friday and Saturday as a southerly flow allows morning temperatures in the upper 10s to mid 20s to rise into the 40s and 50s.

Meanwhile, various features on the national weather map may converge to produce snow in these same areas on Sunday night and Monday. The first feature is another shot of arctic air that will surge southeast into the Mid-Atlantic region by Sunday night. This will set the stage for overrunning precipitation to develop on Sunday in the form of rain showers as afternoon temperatures will be in the lower to middle 40s. At the same time, an area of low pressure is expected to develop to the southwest and move across North Carolina on Sunday night and off Cape Hatteras NC on Monday. As the center of low pressure intensifies, colder air will be drawn into the system and will change rain to snow across the region by late Sunday night. Snow may continue into Monday morning, perhaps mixing with or changing to rain on Monday. Precipitation may change back to snow showers on Monday night before ending.

The exact track and intensity of the storm is yet to be known. Computer models are in disagreement over where the area of heaviest snow will fall. A shift in a few miles, particularly this time of year, will have a significant impact on where snow falls. For example, the Canadian forecast model is more aggressive and shows a moderate to heavy snow event over Baltimore and Washington. Other models such as the GFS and the EURO are less bullish on the snow potential. At the moment, it appears that locations south and east of Washington DC and Annapolis MD will experience rain from this system. Washington and Baltimore appear likely to at least see some snow, while Philadelphia looks to be in a good position for an accumulation of snow.

I'll provide more updates on Friday and through the weekend as new data becomes available. Considering that we are moving into the middle of March, and that temperatures will be marginally cold, any snow that accumulates on highways and secondary roads on Sunday night will melt on Monday as temperatures flirt with the freezing point and solar radiation works its magic through the canopy of clouds. However, temperatures may fall below freezing on Monday night and snow showers may once again cause slippery conditions to develop once again.

For more weather updates, please visit my web site www.chesapeakebayweather.com, my Chesapeake Bay Weather page on Facebook, and if you're heading to Ocean City feel free to check out my Ocean City MD Weather page on Facebook. You can also follow me on Twitter @chesbayweather.