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Winter storm could bring spring snowstorm to Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington

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

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 on a southern system (A "Miller B"-type storm) with two scenarios that could a) move a storm out to sea and impact North Carolina and Virginia with wintery precipitation while missing Maryland to Maine, or b) intensify into a major storm and move up the eastern seaboard with the potential for heavy snow from Virginia to Maine.

The questions that remain include how much will the low intensify, what will be its ultimate track, and will it eventually run out to sea or will it move up the coast? Additionally, the point at which the storm intensifies will play a critical role in where the snow falls and where the rain/snow line sets up. Making matters more complex is the time of day in which snow falls in a given area. With the late-March sun angle making it difficult for snow to accumulate during the day even if temperatures are below freezing, the timing of the precipitation will be crucial in determining snowfall amounts. As we observed earlier this week when snow fell in our region mostly during the overnight hours, snow can accumulate rapidly when the the solar impact is nonexistent. Before we can begin to talk about snowfall impact, we need to verify whether this storm will indeed impact our region or move out to sea. This will become much clearer by the upcoming weekend.

I will continue to monitor the latest data in the coming days and try to narrow down more specifics regarding this potential spring snowstorm.

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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