Round 2 starts by mid-afternoon
Ready or not, here comes the region's second bout of brutal winter weather in five days. The National Weather Service says Central Maryland should expect the next two-day snowstorm will get underway sometime in mid-afternoon Tuesday.
It should start slowly, like the last storm, with no more than an inch or two east of the mountains before dark this evening. But then the storm will gather strength over the ocean off Cape Hatteras, pumping more Atlantic moisture into the equation overnight.
The forecast calls for 6 to 10 inches by daybreak at BWI, followed by 5 to 9 inches more during the day Wednesday. The heaviest snowfall should occur Wednesday morning, forecasters say. The peak should be early in the afternoon as colder air moves in, the atmosphere becomes more unstable and heavy snow bands move through.
The Winter Storm Warnings first posted on Monday still call for 10 to 20 inches of new snow at BWI by Wednesday night, on top of the 24 inches or more that fell Friday and Saturday. Winter Storm Warnings for this impressive storm are also posted for Northern Virginia, all of Maryland, Delaware, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, as well as parts of 10 other states.
For the weather geeks among us:
- 2 inches of new snow at BWI will establish this as the snowiest winter season since Baltimore began keeping snow records in 1883.
- 11 inches of new snow will make this the snowiest February and the snowiest month on record for the city.
- 18.2 inches of new snow will mark the third time this season we have received snow equivalent to our average annual snowfall - in a single storm.
- 26.6 inches of snow at BWI (God help us) would make this the deepest two-or-three-day snowfall for Baltimore, the longest recognized by the National Weather Service.
- 28.3 inches of new snow would beat the four-day accumulation during the series of storms on Feb. 15-18, 2003 - the deepest accumulation for any storm or series of storms on the official record.
Could it really get that deep? Maybe, if you believe some of the other forecasters in the area.
Mr. Foot's student team at FootsForecast.org (I managed to make that a "dot.com" in the paper today; been working too hard) is calling for 22.5 inches by midnight Wednesday at the Maryland Science Center, with less as you go south from the city.
They think the moisture content of this storm will be as high as 18-to-1, with 1.5 inches of rain equivalent on the way. If so, their forecast accumulation is conservative.
AccuWeather.com has us in a 6-to-12-inch band, with more close by to our northeast. "Over a foot of snow will bring travel to a standstill along the I-95 corridor from Baltimore to New York City, where blizzard conditions could develop," they say.
"HEAVIEST SNOW IS EXPECTED FROM MARYLAND AND EASTERN PENNSYLVANIA TO NEW JERSEY ... LONG ISLAND...AND THE SOUTH COAST OF NEW ENGLAND ...WHERE SOME 12 INCH PLUS
TOTALS ARE SUPPORTED ON THE MAJORITY OF MODEL GUIDANCE. THERE
SHOULD BE AN INTENSE BAND OF SNOW WEST OF THE SURFACE CIRCULATION ON
WEDS WITH THE APPROACH AND PASSAGE OF THE UPPER LOW....WITH THE
POTENTIAL FOR BLIZZARD CONDITIONS FROM NJ TO LONG ISLAND."
(Top: AP Photo, Carolyn Kaster/Bottom: SUN PHOTO- Barbara Haddock Taylor)