Maybe next time ...
Puh... Looks like we got just about what forecasters, at the end, said we would. Maybe that's a relief to most. The roads seem to be in fine shape. But it has to be another disappointment for those Marylanders who love to see a good snowstorm now and then.
Somehow, school kids (and teachers) in the northern counties will get a more leisurely morning out of it. Two-hour school delays are in place from Carroll across to Cecil.
The reports are still coming in, but at 7 a.m., it looks like Bel Air, with 2.3 inches on the ground at daybreak according to the NWS/ Sterling snow map , gets the brass ring. CoCoRaHS tallies put Reisterstown in the lead, with 1.9 inches.
So why are we even bothering with this? Perhaps to make the forecast for next Monday night and Tuesday look more interesting. Models are sending another low across the South, and keeping cold air in place just to the north. Sterling is putting the snow chances at 40 percent. But this morning's discussion also has the possibility it will become a drizzle and freezing drizzle event. Nice.
Anyway, AccuWeather.com (map) is watching the models and urging readers to do the same. As our other prognosticators check in with their guesses later today, we'll add them below.
In the meantime, Here's Eric the Red explaining what went wrong with his forecast:
"Well... once again, I've got some explaining to do. A last-second twist to the forecast left many areas high and dry. The low nudged just a bit farther north... and with that nudge, 2 things happened: 1) Warmer air on the south side of the storm ended up farther north, causing the precip to the south to fall as rain or rain/snow mix. 2) The southern edge of the precip ended up farther north.
"On a continental scale, we're talking an almost inperceptible blip... but on a local scale, we were right on the line, so the implications were large. In north-central and northeast MD, 2" (locally more) fell. I noticed at the Halethorpe train station, maybe a half inch, and by the time I got to DC, nothing."
Here's the overnight storm on radar. And here, on the jump, is Eric the Red's take on next week's storm. In brief: Lots of potential. Lots of uncertainty.
"A major winter storm will likely impact the eastern seaboard early to middle of next week. There are still numerous differences with details, but the overall idea is pretty uniform. Snow, ice, and rain will spread up the East Coast early next week, and the precip could become quite heavy. This whole mess will start late Monday or early Tuesday... and last into Wednesday.
"Details: An upper-air low will drop from the Dakotas into the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys over the weekend, while a surface low develops in the Gulf and moves northeast along the coast. Energy from the western low will begin to transfer to the coastal low and cause the coastal low to rapdily intensify.
"This process is where some of the uncertainty lies; if it happens too late, then New England gets whallopped... and we're left once again to ponder what could've been. If it happens too soon, we could end up with ice or rain as a wound-up coastal low throws warm air into the equation
"Or, it could be - like the third bowl of porridge - juuuust right. The other issue will be the exact storm track... Obviously, if it tracks too far offshore, that as they say is that.
"I'll say this: The set up is favorable for a big-time winter storm. Arctic air is blasting into the region now, we'll have a high to our north, lots of energy feeding into the system aloft, plenty of time to tap into Gulf and Atlantic moisture, and a sfc low along the coast.
"If there's something I'm a bit worried about that could hose us... it would be if the coastal low tracks too far inland, which would give us snow to sleet to freezing rain to rain. It's way too early to say if this will indeed be the case. In simple terms, it will boil down to the track of the coastal low and how quickly it intensifies.... impossible to predict at this point."
And, here's how Foot's Forecast analyzed the outcome of their 2-4-inch forecast for last night's storm. Nothing from the students yet on next week's threat:
"We originally projected a general 2-4” and we believe that busted in most areas. Among the factors which affected the outcome:
"1.) There was a lot of dry air ...in place when the snow arrived, so that kept the snow from falling immediately, and that prevented a lot of snow from reaching the ground (we call it "wasted snow.");
"2.) The low pressure was projected to track just south of Central MD and through northern VA. Instead it tracked directly over Central MD. This was not the ideal track for us to get higher amounts, as it shifted the heaviest snow amounts just a mere 100 miles north."