Snow talk cranks up
It is way too early in the season to be writing about snow, but I don't see how I can avoid it this afternoon. Both Eric the Red and AccuWeather.com are posting snow chatter, even snow maps. It's Oct. 27!
A coastal storm is expected to crank up on Saturday, dragging unusually cold (for this time of year) air down from the northeast, and throwing a lot of Atlantic moisture into it. AccuWeather.com forecasters are calling for as much as 6 to 10 inches of wet snow for inland portions of the Northeast, from Massachusetts west and south into northwestern New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania.
For us, they're predicting up to 3 to 6 inches in part of the mountain west, and 1 to 3 inches across a swath of the northernmost Maryland counties. We'll see. The biggest October snowfall on record for Baltimore was the 2.5-inch snowfall on Oct. 29, 1925.
AccuWeather.com's Elliot Abrams said the amount of snow the I-95 corridor sees - if any - will depend on how the temperatures line up. A few degrees either way will make all the difference, so elevation, distance from the still-warm Chesapeake Bay or the Atlantic will be critical to who among us sees white on Saturday.
"The bulk of the storm just north and west of I-95 will be wet snow, but even in cities from Washington, D.C. and Baltimore to Wilmington, Del., Philadelphia, Trenton, N.J., New York City, Providence, R.I. and Boston, rain will become mixed with or change over completely to wet snow," AccuWeather.com said.
The National Weather Service in Sterling is less encouraging to snow-lovers in the I-95 corridor: "This forecast includes a significant shift from previous forecast, including more widespread rain/snow wording. Cannot rule out possibility of advisory-level snow in Shenandoah Valley and at elevation. Such wording will be featured in the Hazardous Weather Outlook. Precipitation expected to remain as rain in Interstate 95 corridor owing to warm surface temperatures."
Eric the Red is pretty high on the snow forecast, but leaves it mostly to our west:
"It seems to me that we are now in for an unprecedented Mid-Atlantic and Northeast snow for inland locales, and a wet snow or wind-driven rain closer to I-95." He sees the potential for "some record-setting snow in the Piedmont and Mountains of Va., W.Va., Md., Pa. and points northeast."
He foresees "mostly cold rain" for the I-95 corridor. "But if the storm strengthens enough and tracks right along the coast, wet snow could enter the equation ... It appears that precipitation may change back to all rain in the Eastern Piedmont and immediate burbs, and then change back to snow as the storm winds up and begins to draw cold air back into the center."
"In areas that receive mostly snow, falling branches and trees and toppled power lines will be a big concern. Winds will also be an issue."
Nice. And it's not even Hallowe'en.