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Possible scenarios for a spring snowstorm next week

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

On the possibility of a snowstorm next week

Computer forecast models are hinting at the possibility of another major winter storm next week. The first feature that will become pronounced in the northeast and Mid-Atlantic early next week will be a surge of arctic air that will send temperatures tumbling to as much as 20 degrees below average for this time of year on Sunday and Monday. As with the last storm, the cold and dry air will be a key ingredient in setting the stage for a potential winter storm. While the return to colder weather is just about certain for the region, what happens thereafter is still very much undetermined. Today's runs of the GFS, EURO, and Canadian models are now in more general agreement that a storm will form in the southeast and potentially impact the Middle Atlantic and New England states.

Here are the possible scenarios to consider

1) Arctic air forces the convergence boundary so far south that the Low forms deep into the southeast states before moving out to sea. This would bring a chilly rain to places like Georgia and South Carolina, but would keep areas to the north cold and dry.

2) A storm forms in the southeast and intensifies, but moves off the East Coast near North Carolina and out to sea. This would bring a round of lighter wintery precipitation to Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and North Carolina but would not impact locations north of the Mason-Dixon line.

3) A storm forms in the southeast states and intensifies on a negatively tilted trough that enables the flow of air to drive the storm up the East Coast. This would impact areas from North Carolina to Maine with significant winter precipitation.

4) A coastal storm develops, but the Low is far enough out to sea that only coastal areas of the Mid-Atlantic are impacted (largely missing Washington and Baltimore), but Long Island to Maine may be in line for heavy snow.

Other factors to consider

1) A storm that moves up the coast may move enough inland to bring a mixture of rain and snow, or plain rain, to areas of the coastal plain. A far inland track does not appear likely at this time due to the press of arctic air to the north & west.

2) Should the majority of the snow fall during the day, the high March sun angle would make accumulating snow more problematic (although heavy snow with temperatures below freezing could accumulate even in late March.) A nighttime snowfall would result in a significantly higher accumulation.

3) The amount of moisture associated with this storm is not yet certain. This is important in determining whether this storm has the potential to produce a few inches of snow or a more significant snowfall. A stronger storm may produce heavier snow, but may also bring in warmer air from the Atlantic along coastal areas and perhaps into the major cities.

Regional Weather Information

Video: Accu-Weather's Bernie Rayno discusses the potential for a winter storm

Baltimore average lows and highs

Washington average lows and highs

Philadelphia average lows and highs

National Weather Service daily weather discussion

Baltimore/Washington National Weather Service

Philadephia National Weather Service

Chesapeake Bay marine forecast

Delaware Bay marine information

Mid-Atlantic radar loop

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