NWS: Groundhog Day storm will be an icy mix
Forecast models are predicting this week's "Groundhog Day" storm will track to our west, leaving Central Maryland on the "warm" side of the action. That means we should see no Snowpocalypse. But expect a nasty mix of precipitation. It begins Monday night with a chance of snow, but evolves with snow, sleet, freezing rain and cold rain before ending late on Wednesday.
The storm is forecast to develop east of the Rockies Monday, moving toward Texas and Louisiana before turning Tuesday toward the Ohio Valley.
Meanwhile, high pressure to our north will continue to hold a layer of cold air in place east of the Appalachians. Meteorologists call this "cold air damming." And that layer of cold air will provide the low temperatures - for a while - that will cause the precipitation that's headed our way to freeze when it lands. It's too thin to bring us snow - at least not for long.
The official forecast for BWI-Marshall calls for a chance of snow Monday night, with lows near 25 degrees. Snow and sleet chances are set at 40 percent for Tuesday morning. That will be followed by rain or frezing rain in the afternoon as more warm air slides into the region, flowing counter-clockwise around the low that will be tracking north along the Appalachians to our west. Daytime highs will hover just above the freezing mark.
The AccuWeather.com folks have us solidly in the icy mix corridor for this storm.
After midnight Wednesday morning, forecasters say we have an 80 percent chance of seeing all rain, with overnight lows at the surface still near freezing. The rain should begin to slack off by mid-afternoon, but forecasters continue with a 30 percent chance of showers into the evening. This event should wash away a good portion of the snow remaining from last Wednesday's storm.
The sun is due back Thursday and Friday, but temperatures will continue to run nearly 10 degrees colder than the norms for this time of year in Baltimore. (We've seen just eight days in January with temperatures averaging above the daily norms. Only seven days were above-average in December.)
The next chance for snow comes next Saturday. Models are hinting at a coastal low forming off the Carolinas. That will be the anniversary of the first of last February's back-to-back blizzards. You may remember them.