Uncertainty Surrounds Weekend Storm …

February 17, 2012

Forecasters say it’s much too early to determine where and how much snow will fall Sunday. But here is the speculation so far.

The National Weather Service forecast discussion: 

“PRECIPITATION IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN AS A RAIN/SNOW MIX OVER THE COASTAL LOCALES AND WEST TO THE MAJOR METRO AREAS OF WASHINGTON D.C/BALTIMORE. ALL SNOW IS ANTICIPATED FOR THE HIGHER ELEVATIONS WEST OF THE METRO TO THE ALLEGHENY FRONT. DYNAMIC COOLING AND BACKING FLOW TO THE NORTH WILL COOL THE COLUMN AND CHANGE THE MIXED PRECIPITATION TO ALL SNOW EAST THROUGH THE METRO AND COASTAL LOCALES LATER SUNDAY AFTERNOON INTO SUNDAY NIGHT WITH THE SYSTEM PULLING AWAY THEREAFTER. IT IS MUCH TOO EARLY TO TELL HOW MUCH SNOW WILL FALL AND WHERE. IT DOES APPEAR THAT AT LEAST A LIGHT TO MODERATE ACCUMULATION COULD BE POSSIBLE.”

Baltimore professional meteorologist Eric the Red is also feeling the uncertainty:

UPDATE 1 p.m.: 

“All the morning models have come in, and they have definitely gone lighter and farther south… except the Canadian, which has gone a bit wetter and a hair farther north.  So, … ‘Think low, Aim lower.’  I’ll pull back my forecast amounts… and hope that I’m wrong.
 
North of MD – Nothing.
Northern MD – I’m thinking 1 to 3″ may be generous, but I won’t pull the plug entirely north of Baltimore.  I would not be at all surprised now if nrn MD ends up with nary a flake as well.  Man I hope I’m wrong.
Baltimore to DC – Here, 3-6″ is my new take, and I’m afraid this also could be high.  Again, hope I’m wrong.
South of DC – 4 to 8

Previous quote below:

“The first real winter storm of the season is coming, but with serious, serious caveats.  … Despite taking a very favorable track out of the Gulf to the Carolina Coast, an incredibly tight south-to-north precipitation gradient will set up.  We’re talking that within the span of 20 miles or so, you could conceivably go from 6-12″ of heavy wet snow to nothing.  Where this sharp gradient sets up is anybody’s guess – I sure don’t know – but we’ve got some ideas.  It appears the gradient will set up… yup, right across central Maryland, with northern portions of the state ending up on the light side, while central and southern portions of the state get smacked pretty good. … This one is tough, and I do not envy the NWS forecasters out at Sterling, Va. on this one who have to issue a forecast for the entire region.  Storm will impact the area Sunday into Sunday night.”

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… Just look out the window after it stops and you will know how much fell, if any. …

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