Monday storm looking more like a rainy mix
The chances that Marylanders will be dealing with snow on Monday seem to be melting away this morning. But predictions that the storm center will pass to our north and west and bring us a "wintry mix" and rain instead of snow may not be all that comforting. Rain on top of whatever remains of this snow pack by Monday could cause us new headaches, as the risks of flash and urban flooding rise.
The National Weather Service has increased the probability of precipitation on Monday and Monday night to 60 percent.
For Baltimore, forecasters out at Sterling say the event should begin with a 30 percent chance for some snow after 1 a.m. Monday. That shifts to a 60 percent chance of rain and snow before noon Monday, changing again to all rain in the afternoon and evening as temperatures rise close to 40 degrees.
Here's a bit of this morning's forecast discussion from Sterling:
"00Z GFS/EURO OPERATIONAL GUIDANCE [COMPUTER MODELS] NOW IN AGREEMENT ON THE UPPER WAVE TAKING THE SURFACE LOW UP THE OHIO VALLEY MONDAY...KEEPING THE SOUTHERN MID ATLANTIC IN THE WARM SECTOR THROUGH THE STORM PASSAGE.
"AS FOR PRECIPITATION-TYPE...SURFACE LOW DEVELOPMENT ALONG THE COLD FRONTAL ZONE
OVER NORTH CAROLINA/SOUTHEAST VIRGINIA LOOKS TO SET UP A [COLD AIR] WEDGE ACROSS NORTHERN VIRGINIA AND MARYLAND MONDAY AND MONDAY NIGHT. WHILE THE MAJORITY OF THE PRECIP LOOKS TO BE RAIN...THE LOW LEVEL AIR MAY BE COLD ENOUGH TO SUPPORT A WINTRY
MIX...PARTICULARLY ACROSS NORTHERN SECTIONS OF THE [FORECAST AREA] THROUGH THE EVENT."
Here's AccuWeather.com's take:
"For now, it appears a line from Chicago to Cleveland, Ohio to Scranton, Pa. and Worcester, Mass. might get the most snow from this storm. We will say, however, the track of this storm is still uncertain. A change in path by as little as 100 miles could mean the difference between heavy snow, drenching rain or a wintry mix in your location ...
"Climatologically, odds favor snow versus rain this time of the year, due to coldness of the oceans, Great Lakes and (snow covered) ground. While this does "not" appear to be a storm that produces 2 to 3 feet of snow, it will add more water and snow weight to the existing snow on the ground and on roofs. If the storm does track north of your snow-clogged area, concerns of flash and urban flooding will be raised due to snowmelt."
Mr. Foot and his student forecasters have issued as "Level 2 Alert" for Central Maryland. They see two possible storm tracks:
"One closer to Maryland, meaning less wintry precip and more liquid; one further south, meaning more snow and some ice."
Eric the Red sees "winter slop" in his crystal ball:
"All ... of last night's ... model runs take the core low into the Ohio River Valley. Doh. If this forecast holds, we will see little if any snow, and a whole lot of sleet, freezing rain, and rain ... So New England seems to be under the gun for a prolonged snowstorm, while we're relegated to our more typical Maryland winter slop ... The best chance for snow and sleet will be across northern MD, while central and southern MD would be more apt to see rain and freezing rain."
With some luck, the 40+ weather we're due for the rest of this week will release much of the water in the snow pack before the new storm arrives. Last night was the first at BWI since Jan. 25 - and only the third night this year - in which temperatures have not dipped to the freezing mark. The low at the airport was 34 degrees.
(SUN PHOTO/Top: Kenneth K. Lam, 2005; Bottom: Amy Davis, 2007)