Latest on next week's snow
UPDATE 4 P.M. FRIDAY: Forecasters this afternoon posted the following Hazardous Weather Advisory:
"A STORM COMING OUT OF THE SOUTHERN PLAINS AND DEVELOPING OFF THE
SOUTHEAST COAST OF THE UNITED STATES WILL LIKELY AFFECT THE
REGION EARLY NEXT WEEK. SNOW MAY BEGIN AS EARLY AS MONDAY...
CONTINUING THROUGH TUESDAY NIGHT. AT THIS POINT TUESDAY LOOKS TO
HAVE THE BEST POTENTIAL FOR HEAVY SNOW AS THE STORM INTENSIFIES
OFF THE COAST. THIS SYSTEM WILL NEED TO BE CLOSELY MONITORED
THROUGH THE WEEKEND FOR THE POSSIBILITY OF A SIGNIFICANT STORM
EARLY NEXT WEEK. ALTHOUGH IT IS TOO EARLY TO FORECAST SPECIFIC
SNOWFALL ACCUMULATIONS...STAY ALERT THROUGH THE WEEKEND FOR THE
LATEST ON THIS POTENTIAL WINTER EVENT.
AFTER THE STORM...SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED
TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY FOR THE TIDAL POTOMAC AND MARYLAND PORTION
OF THE CHESAPEAKE BAY.
VERY COLD TEMPERATURES AND WIND CHILLS SHOULD BE EXPECTED TUESDAY
NIGHT THROUGH THURSDAY MORNING."
EARLIER: Forecasters at the National Weather Service office in Sterling seem to be getting more comfortable with their predictions for the storm headed this way next week. The computer models are beginning to converge on a solution, and the probabilities have climbed from 60 to 70 percent this afternoon. Here's the forecast from Sterling. Way too early for them to venture accumulation predictions.
And here's a bit of this morning's discussion (edited by me for clarity):
"QUIET CONDITIONS EXPECTED THRU THE WEEKEND AS HIGH PRESSURE BUILDS OVER THE
AREA. ATTENTION THEN TURNS TO SIGNIFICANT WINTER STORM WHICH APPEARS LIKELY
TO IMPACT THE REGION MON NIGHT-TUE. LOW PRESSURE (STORM) FORECAST TO ORGANIZE OVER
THE SOUTHERN PLAINS ON SUNDAY AND MOVE EAST ACROSS THE NORTHERN GULF COAST STATES
AND ACROSS THE CAROLINAS TUESDAY.
"FINALLY...BEGINNING TO SEE SOME CONSISTENCY IN THE MODELS WITH RESPECT TO TRACK OF (STORM) ... AND
AN ENSEMBLE (COMPUTER) PLOT ALSO SHOWS MUCH BETTER CLUSTERING THAN YESTERDAY
INCREASING CONFIDENCE THAT WE'LL SEE A HEAVY SNOW EVENT SOMEWHERE
ACROSS OUR (FORECAST AREA). BASED ON (COMPUTER MODEL CONSENSUS) ... STILL THINK MIXED PRECIP IS A GOOD POSSIBILITY
ACROSS OUR SOUTHERNMOST COUNTIES FROM NELSON/ALBERMARLE EAST THRU ST
MARYS COUNTY. COLDER WEATHER RETURNS FROM WEDNESDAY THRU THE END OF THE WEEK.
MODELS HAVE BACKED OFF ON SECOND STORM THAT THEY WERE ADVERTISING
COUPLE OF DAYS AGO."
Lest you get too freaked out, in weather parlance, "heavy snow" means 4 inches or more.
AccuWeather, of course, is much more enthusiastic about the stormy prospects for next week. Here's snow-hawk Henry Margusity on the Tuesday storm, which he calls a "Virginia, Maryland Special," with 6 inches of accumulation or better, and Baltimore, Washington, Ocean City getting "the good snows." Watch the video.
Finally, here's a 31-day loop of snow cover across North America. Slow it down and you can watch the snow line creeping up on Baltimore as January turns to February. By this time next week, we'll finally be well into the white zone.
In the meantime, we're headed into a nice, sunny-but-cold weekend. Cold for this time of year, that is. If the forecast holds up, and the high reaches 36 degrees at BWI tomorrow, it will be the first time we've topped the freezing mark since last Saturday at 9 p.m., when it was 33.5 degrees here at The Sun.