Snow? Did I say snow? I meant to say, "There'SNO reason to worry" about the weather today. Yeah, that's it. Obviously the all-day snow, sleet and freezing rain the National Weather Service was forecasting yesterday for today in Baltimore has gone elsewhere while we slept. Like Cincinnati. There is something wet headed our way. Just look at this radar loop. But it is clearly not what was in the forecast yesterday, and forecasters suggest it may never even reach the ground.
I called the NWS forecast office in Sterling this morning and got meteorologist Calvin Meadows on the line. He explained that this was a "double-barreled system," with one storm center coming at us from the Tennessee Valley, and another forming off the coast of the Carolinas. Yesterday, forecasters and their models figured the Tennessee Valley low would hold onto enough energy to produce nasty winter weather for the Baltimore-Washington area, with frozen precipitation but not much accumulation. That's why they issued a "winter weather advisory" to take effect between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. today. And that was the information we went with for our blog posts late yesterday, and the print article we filed at 6 p.m. for this morning's paper.
Which is why it's never a very good idea to forecast the weather in a newspaper that's written 12 hours before people pick it up off the sidewalk. Readers will invariably know more, just by looking out the window, than we do.
Overnight, Meadows said, things changed. "The energy has transferred over to the coastal low, taking the energy away from the Tennessee Valley," he said. And the coastal low is headed out to sea. "We're not getting as much snow, as far north as it looked like we were going to get yesterday." Here's AccuWeather's take on what happened. Makes sense to me.
As it stands then, there's no more than a "slight" chance we'll see anything in the air today in Baltimore and points north. "An inch or less is possible this afternoon for places like Anne Arundel County, Montgomery County, and the District of Columbia," Meadows said. Southern Maryland could still see an inch or two by 7 p.m. when the advisory expires.
So much for that. Meadows seemed pretty relaxed about the whole thing. Models are models, and sometimes the natural forces take their own course. "It's not unusual for this to happen with this sort of setup in the mid-Atlantic (states). It was a marginal event to start with," he said. "Nothing's perfect."