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 lots 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?