A few inches due, mostly north and west of cities
You can handle this, Maryland. Not to worry. The National Weather Service is looking for a few inches of snow late today and tonight out of the approaching Alberta Clipper, mostly north and west of the I-95 corridor. The rest of us will likely see less than an inch of accumulation, along with some unpleasantly cold and wet weather.
UPDATE: 4:30 p.m.: Forecasters are losing faith in the ability of this storm system to measure up, even to their much-reduced expectations. Dry air is surging into the storm center, threatening to bring the precipitation to an early end. Sterling may have to lift the Winter Weather Advisories early. Earlier post resumes below.
So focus on the good part: Once we get past mid-week, we can expect sunshine to assist with the nice, slow melt we've experienced so far, while temperatures remain well below normal for this time of year.
The National Weather Service forecast office in Sterling has issued Winter Weather Advisories for counties north and west of Baltimore and Washington (purple on the map below). That's actually good news. It means no more than 3 or 4 inches of snow, which feels like nothing these days. More specifically, they're expecting just 1 to 3 inches in places like Westminster, Frederick, Gaithersburg and Columbia.
Baltimore can expect some snow in the air, starting in mid-afternoon, changing over to a nasty mix of rain and snow, then back to all-snow after dark before ending late Monday night or early Tuesday morning. Less than an inch is likely, forecasters said. The rain should speed some melting. Make sure your roof drains, downspouts and storm drains are clear.
AccuWeather.com's MeteoMadness blogger Henry Margusity (map above) keeps the worst of the storm well to our northwest, then moves the heavier snowfall to New England as the Clipper intensifies near Long Island. Says Henry:
"As you can see, Ohio and West Virginia up to the Northeast have the big snow the next 24 hours. New England will end with the 8-10 inches of snow when the storm hits the coast and intensifies. The good news is that the people hit by major snow will get a break from any large amounts of snow with the clipper.... But... there's plenty of winter left and I see the GFS has several storms to watch later in the month."
The student forecasters at FootsForecast.org are now calling for 3 inches at BWI from the new storm.
Eric the Red, a professional meteorologist in Baltimore, says this storm is "kinda shaping up to be a non-event."
He says the storm is tracking farther north, and dragging dry air in toward its center (right-hand side of the dark "u" in the satellite image below) and cutting off the precipitation. Three inches for Central Maryland "might be pushing it," Eric said. Washington could see nothing in the way of snow accumulation.
UPDATE at 4:30 p.m. from Eric: "This event has totally fallen apart, as the dry slot has more or less caught up to the precipitation ... This falls under the 'passing snow shower' category, and I'd be surprised to see anyone in the immediate metro area get more than an inch. In fact, I'd be surprised to even see that."
The weather service says Southern Maryland may see some flakes initially today, but that should change to all rain.
The far western counties may see more considerable accumulations - as much as 7 inches are possible, forecasters said, as the storm passes by and draws cold, moist air in from the Great Lakes as it departs. So far, though, there are only advisories out there, no Winter Storm Watches.
Down the road, forecasters see a small chance for snow showers Wednesday as a weak disturbance slides by late in the day. Beyond that, there is sunshine, with daytime highs in the upper 30s to near 40 degrees. Overnight lows remain in the 20s. The lows are about right for this time of year in Baltimore. But the daytime highs remain cold. The averages for this time of year at BWI would predict highs in the mid-40s.
We are still running 6.6 degrees below average at BWI for February.