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January 29, 2009

Next week's big storm: snow or rain?

Everybody seems to be talking about it now. Forecasters are looking at computer models that predict a powerful storm will spin up out of the Gulf of Mexico early next week and track into the Northeast. The big question appears to be where that track will go. Into the Ohio Valley and we get Sun Photo/Karl Merton Ferron 2003lots of rain. Up the Atlantic coast and we get a big snowstorm.

Wherever it goes, some meteorologists believe it signals a change in winter weather patterns and a harbinger of a snowier February. Only time will tell, and this event is still assembling itself in the eastern Pacific Ocean. It's still four days out. In the meantime, here's a sampler of the meteorological opinions:

The National Weather Service discussion out of Sterling, noting the disagreement between the two main forecast models (GFS and ECMWF). (I am spelling out the NWS shorthand abbreviations for clarity):

"ALTHOUGH BOTH DEVELOP STRONG SURFACE CYCLONE BY LATE MONDAY AFTERNOON, GFS YIELDS A COASTAL SYSTEM, WHILE ECMWF DEVELOPS CYCLONE INLAND ... WILL FAVOR GFS EVOLUTION [FOR NOW].

"SURFACE LOW PRESSURE DEEPENS AS IT MOVES NORTHWARD ALONG COAST. STRONG WARM AIR ADVECTION MONDAY WILL INCREASE TEMPERATURES AND DEWPOINTS... ESPECIALLY IN THE EASTERN HALF OF THE FORECAST AREA. AS
SURFACE LOW PRESSURE APPROACHES, COLD AIR WILL BE DRAWN IN SURFACE AND ALOFT. PRECIPITATION TO COMMENCE AS RAIN LATE MONDAY AFTERNOON... EXCEPT HIGHER TERRAIN WHERE COLD AIR WILL INVADE.

"REGARDLESS OF WHETHER GFS OR ECMWF [PROVE CORRECT] IF EITHER/...PRECIPITATION EXPECTED MONDAY NIGHT ... WITH SNOW SPREADING EASTWARD ACROSS FORECAST AREA MONDAY NIGHT IN GFS, AND RAIN CONTINUING MONDAY NIGHT IN ECMWF. BY TUESDAY, COLD AIR INVADES...AND ANY WRAPAROUND PRECIPITATION SHOULD BE SNOW."

Here's AccuWeather.com's main piece on the storm, which the eager beavers there are already calling the "Groundhog Day Storm."

Here's AccuWeather.com's snowstorm blogger, Madman Henry Margusity, who is now calling it the "Big Daddy" storm, and comparing it to the 1993 "Superstorm." Sigh...

Accuweather.com's John Kocet is calling it "big, and perhaps even colossal" inland, but just rainy for us along the coast.  

Here's AccuWeather.com's Frank Strait, with his more cautious predictions. And Joe Lundberg, with a lengthy discussion of the big-storm possibilities, including a heavy rain event that will melt snow along the east coast and threaten flooding.

The Weather Channel keeps the storm track to our west, leaving us in rain.

The Capital Weather Gang takes a cautious line, too, calling a big snowstorm here "a long-shot."

So, what's your preference? Had enough winter yet?

 

Posted by Frank Roylance at 1:46 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Winter weather
        

Comments

Why say anything until they are extremely certain it will happen.
This always gets people in a panic and for absolutley no reason other then making grocery stores very happy.
Could they please stop this as they also have been wrong about 90% of time.
FR: Because it draws eyeballs to their web sites, which increases ad revenues, which keeps them in business and their people employed, which is the American way. It also gives people time to plan, if necessary. "Should we schedule the roofing and hire the laborers for Tuesday?" Besides, they do seem rather certain we'll get a storm, but less so about whether the coastal cities will get rain or snow.

No, not enough winter for me yet. But I also leave Tuesday morning for a few days in Jamaica. Couldn't we please have our Big Daddy storm the week after next?
K-

I've had enough cold rain and ice. It's time for some REAL SNOW!!

My dog is just begging to pull me around the neighborhood in several inches of snow. She's tired of the ice too!

I second the calls for REAL SNOW!

My dog is wild about the wintry white stuff, too. The ice, not so much. His daily works have been cut short by all the slippery spots and I know he does not like that at all.

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About Frank Roylance
This site is the Maryland Weather archive. The current Maryland Weather blog can be found here.
Frank Roylance is a reporter for The Baltimore Sun. He came to Baltimore from New Bedford, Mass. in 1980 to join the old Evening Sun. He moved to the morning Sun when the papers merged in 1992, and has spent most of his time since covering science, including astronomy and the weather. One of The Baltimore Sun's first online Web logs, the Weather Blog debuted in October 2004. In June 2006 Frank also began writing comments on local weather and stargazing for The Baltimore Sun's print Weather Page. Frank also answers readers’ weather queries for the newspaper and the blog. Frank Roylance retired in October 2011. Maryland Weather is now being updated by members of The Baltimore Sun staff
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