Winter storm to spread heavy snow from North Dakota to Virginia

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:44 PM GMT on March 04, 2013

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The flakes are flying in Minnesota and North Dakota, where up to 10" of snow has fallen from an "Alberta Clipper" that is barreling southeastwards across the U.S. These type of storms, so-named because they originate in Alberta and clip along at a fast forward speed, typically bring the Midwest moderate amounts of fluffy snow that is relatively easy to shovel. The storm, dubbed Winter Storm Saturn by The Weather Channel and "Snowquester" by The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang, is expected to bring a swath of 6 - 10" of snow from Minnesota to Virginia Monday through Wednesday, with Chicago expected to get 6 - 9", their biggest snow of the season. Once the storm moves off the coast on Wednesday, its strong winds will make coastal flooding a major concern for the Mid-Atlantic coast, particularly Delaware, on Wednesday and Thursday. The computer models are still showing quite a bit of disagreement on what the storm might do on Wednesday. The European model has been the most consistent model, and maintains that the storm will not bring heavy snow to New England. I would lean towards this solution at present. However, keep in mind that the latest run of the GFS model shows a more northerly track, with heavy snow falling along a swath of coast from Long Island, NY, to Boston, MA, Wednesday through Thursday. The exact position of the rain/snow boundary along the Mid-Atlantic coast is also quite uncertain. Washington D.C. could end up with mostly rain, and just 1 - 2" of snow, or get a 6+ inch dumping, picking up more snow from one storm than from the all the snowstorms from the past two winters, combined:

Reagan Nat'l Airport (DCA):
- Snowfall this season-to-date:  1.5"
- Snowfall all last season:  2"
- Last 5"+ snow event:  Jan. 26, 2011 (5")
- Last 10"+ snow event:  Feb. 9-10, 2010 (10.8")

Dulles Airport, Virginia (IAD)
- Snowfall this season-to-date:  5.3"
- Snowfall all last season:  3.7"
- Last 5"+ snow event:  Jan. 26, 2011 (7.3")
- Last 10"+ snow event:  Feb. 9-10, 2010 (9.3")

(Thanks go to Jonathan Erdman of TWC for these stats.) The Capital Weather Gang has an interesting article on historical March snowstorms in Washington D.C. In order for Winter Storm Saturn to crack the top-ten, it would have to dump at least 6.6" of snow on the nation's capital.



Coastal flooding a concern in the Mid-Atlantic
As the storm moves off the coast on Wednesday night, winds gusting to 50 mph will build waves of up to 15' and a 3 - 4' storm surge along the coast to the north of the center. Heavy rains will bring runoff down rivers that will act to increase water levels along the coast. The latest Forecast Discussion from the Mount Holly, NJ NWS office highlights the likelihood of at least moderate coastal flooding in Delaware during the high tide cycles on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning, with the possibility of major flooding. The latest storm surge forecast from the GFS model calls for a storm surge of around 3' at Lewes, Delaware on Thursday morning, which would bring the 8th highest water level on record to the coast. This is of concern due to the damage Hurricane Sandy brought in October, which weakened the dunes and left the coast more vulnerable to erosion. Sandy brought the 3rd highest water level on record to Lewes.

We'll have ongoing coverage this week of Winter Storm Saturn in our Winter Storm Section.

Jeff Masters

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someone says this on twitter

this is NOT going to be a big snow for NYC. boundary layer in NYC are super warm with large East flow. Friends in NWS in NYC seem to concur


5 mins after, this

It is great to have Colleagues. I can see how NYC does get 6" last tweet premature.

get your mind straight
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14871
ANOTHER SINKHOLE, THIS TIME NORTH IN MY COUNTY..we need a whole week of soaking in rain to fill up the aquifer..........Palm Harbor Fire Rescue is on the scene of an apparent sinkhole at a residence.

Authorities said initial reports show extensive cracking on the interior and exterior of the home at 114 Harbor Dr.

All occupants have been evacuated from the home and there are no injuries. The county building inspector is en route.

The apparent sinkhole was discovered sometime Tuesday morning.

As precaution, the two homes next to this location were evacuated.
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36881
Quoting Neapolitan:
Yes, they've generally underestimated the rate of warming. But there are lots of smart people working to ensure that they become even more accurate in the future.
Really, why don't you post the graphs to back up your position. Is it because they do not back up your position. Here is a link to Real Climate, notice the temps forecast vs observations. It is also fun to look at Hanson's predictions vs observations. Real Climate
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36881
Quoting VAweathernoob:
The black guy with the moustache on abc, talking about how the ground is too warm and the precipitation will be strung out over many hours and not come down strong enough all at once for major accumulation
See and people looked at me like I was crazy.Now I have proof!.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 16409
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36881
Quoting VAweathernoob:
The black guy with the moustache on abc, talking about how the ground is too warm and the precipitation will be strung out over many hours and not come down strong enough all at once for major accumulation


wrong information..the ground could be warm... STILL having snow falling.
why?
The upper atmosphere is colder so any snow fallinng won't have time to change to rain as it reaches the thin warm layer near the surface.

What could happen, at least, is the snow accumulation could be slower.

yes, your are up for more than 7" in DC
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14871
when I told my neighbor about people up north wanting big snowfall..he said..only ones who Want big snowfalls are the ones who DONT have to go out and shovel it.............My guess is he's right on the money there.
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36881
458. MahFL
Quoting Neapolitan:
study speculating that the onset of Spring will occur five weeks earlier than it presently does by 2100. Can you imagine?)

I'll be dead by 2100, so I don't care.
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The black guy with the moustache on abc, talking about how the ground is too warm and the precipitation will be strung out over many hours and not come down strong enough all at once for major accumulation
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Quoting washingtonian115:
I told you last night that the local mets don't see is barely getting anything in the immediate metro area.


that is incorrect for the DC area...
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14871
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


2"?.. who is saying that?
I told you last night that the local mets don't see is barely getting anything in the immediate metro area.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 16409
Yesss!! get that cold Outta here lol...........
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36881
Quoting Neapolitan:
No, Chuck; it will never happen so long as global warming continues across the globe. (I read this morning of a study speculating that the onset of Spring will occur five weeks earlier than it presently does by 2100. Can you imagine?)


Spring will never come earlier, the equinox will never change. Anyway, that article is just another climate change talking head paid to "follow the lemmings".

BTW, everyones GW hero Dr. Mann may have a little splainin' to do.

Link

Also, Bastardi found this info on tree ring data and how there has been no big change to the climate for quite a while.

Link

Go ahead Nea, spin it.
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36881
Quoting VAweathernoob:
Hey Guys, I know this is more a tropics place, and some people from DC were already on earlier this morning......but we are having some major trouble planning some critical work projects tomorrow in northern VA. We've got local mets conflicting saying anything from 2 inches to 18 inches. Can I get a little expertise from someone here about what the newest data says?


2"?.. who is saying that?
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14871
Hey Guys, I know this is more a tropics place, and some people from DC were already on earlier this morning......but we are having some major trouble planning some critical work projects tomorrow in northern VA. We've got local mets conflicting saying anything from 2 inches to 18 inches. Can I get a little expertise from someone here about what the newest data says?
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This will be a virginia and western Maryland storm.This will be another non factor storm here like they all have been this winter.I'm ready for spring to come now.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 16409
This time next week..............
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36881
Guys...let us welcome

Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14871
warming up now,mid 70's later on...............
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36881
Good morning guys
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14871
this has changed since early this morning..................URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON DC
923 AM EST TUE MAR 5 2013

DCZ001-MDZ005>007-009>011-013-014-VAZ052>056-0522 30-
/O.CON.KLWX.WS.A.0004.130305T2300Z-130307T0500Z/
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA-CARROLL-NORTHERN BALTIMORE-HARFORD-
MONTGOMERY-HOWARD-SOUTHERN BALTIMORE-PRINCE GEORGES-ANNE ARUNDEL-
PRINCE WILLIAM/MANASSAS/MANASSAS PARK-FAIRFAX-
ARLINGTON/FALLS CHURCH/ALEXANDRIA-STAFFORD-SPOTSYLVANIA-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...WASHINGTON...WESTMINSTER...
GAITHERSBURG...COLUMBIA...BALTIMORE...ANNAPOLIS.. .MANASSAS...
MANASSAS PARK...FAIRFAX...ALEXANDRIA...FALLS CHURCH...
FREDERICKSBURG
923 AM EST TUE MAR 5 2013

...WINTER STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM EST THIS
EVENING THROUGH WEDNESDAY EVENING...

* PRECIPITATION TYPE...SNOW.

* ACCUMULATIONS...5 OR MORE INCHES ARE POSSIBLE.

* TIMING...RAIN MIXING WITH AND CHANGING TO SNOW FROM WEST TO EAST
TONIGHT AND WEDNESDAY MORNING. SNOW CONTINUING THROUGH
WEDNESDAY EVENING...POSSIBLY HEAVY AT TIMES.

* TEMPERATURES...IN THE MID 30S.

* WINDS...NORTHEAST 15 TO 25 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 35 MPH.

* IMPACTS...HEAVY WET SNOW AND GUSTY WINDS COULD LEAD TO POWER
OUTAGES AND DIFFICULT DRIVING CONDITIONS.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A WINTER STORM WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANT
SNOW ACCUMULATIONS THAT MAY IMPACT TRAVEL. CONTINUE TO MONITOR
THE LATEST FORECASTS.

&&

$$
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36881
Quoting Neapolitan:
That could happen, though the extent and depth is still up in the air. For today, at least, there's a bit of a heat spell, with lots of record high temperatures being experienced in the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, and France. (Even Iran is seeing some temperatures in the mid 80s at the moment, very atypical for early March.)



From a german weathersite (wetterzentrale.de)
Sigh, I really don't hope this will come true next week in south-western Germany. My plants are already outside to enjoy the sun after this long and bleak winter. Probably they'll have to move inside once again.
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LOL LOL LOL LOL
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Quoting VR46L:


So are Climate models are more reliable when they are looking so far into the future than short term Weather models ?
Here's an often-used analogy. Any astronomer can tell us at what time the high tide will occur in a given location and on a given date even 20 or 30 years from now--but not even the most powerful supercomputer on the planet can tell us precisely how high a wave that occurs five minutes from now will be. That's because waves are chaotic, as is weather. And chaos will probably always by definition remain unpredictable.
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440. VR46L
Quoting nymore:
From what I have read the climate models seem not to do so well either.



I know little about them , except I heard the UK MET changed their predictions around climate recently ...
Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6832
Quoting nymore:
From what I have read the climate models seem not to do so well either.

Yes, they've generally underestimated the rate of warming. But there are lots of smart people working to ensure that they become even more accurate in the future.
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Quoting Chucktown:


That will never be "allowed" to happen as the global warming brainwashing MUST continue across the globe.
No, Chuck; it will never happen so long as global warming continues across the globe. (I read this morning of a study speculating that the onset of Spring will occur five weeks earlier than it presently does by 2100. Can you imagine?)
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Instability should track NE across GA:





EHI


Marginal helicites up north:




I might be in a good position to catch a storm today.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9720
Quoting VR46L:


So are Climate models are more reliable when they are looking so far into the future than short term Weather models ?
From what I have read the climate models seem not to do so well either.

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I am hoping:

FOR THIS REASON...HAVE
ADDED A SMALL SLIGHT RISK AREA TO ACCOUNT FOR THE POSSIBILITY OF
SUPERCELL DEVELOPMENT IN WCNTRL GA LATE THIS AFTERNOON.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9720
434. VR46L
Quoting Neapolitan:
True--but, of course, weather and climate are two different things...


So are Climate models are more reliable when they are looking so far into the future than short term Weather models ?
Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6832
WRF says flurries will impact all of N GA..... lol

Either way 70s by next weekend here.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9720
Quoting biff4ugo:
Neo,

Does March have a shot at being the first month in over 300 that is cooler than average?


That will never be "allowed" to happen as the global warming brainwashing MUST continue across the globe.
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Quoting matara28:
Almoast all weather models shows a cold snap for European continent for the next week. Could someone please correct me if i'm wrong?
That could happen, though the extent and depth is still up in the air. For today, at least, there's a bit of a heat spell, with lots of record high temperatures being experienced in the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, and France. (Even Iran is seeing some temperatures in the mid 80s at the moment, very atypical for early March.)
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My favourite blogger is back.Anyway it is very hard to believe snow will be coming tomorrow.The sun is out and the the temp is approaching 40 degrees already.

Post 428 to be exact :).
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 16409
the WRF shows a supercell outbreak over the mid atlantic ocean.... lol
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9720
Quoting biff4ugo:
Neo,

Does March have a shot at being the first month in over 300 that is cooler than average?
I would put the chance at that of slim to none. It would have to turn far colder than expected, and for a far longer period of time. The month's early, of course, but high temperature records have so far outnumbered low temperature records by 1.7 to 1--and that's with the month's largest expected cold blast having already occurred.
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Quoting Luisport:
Breaking News Storm‏@breakingstorm

More than 7 inches of snow recorded so far in Minnesota's Twin Cities, causing commute times to double or triple - @StarTribune
Here are the traffic cams for Murderapolis and St. Paul. Cams

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5.0 magnitude in Oklahoma yesterday,


04-MAR-2013 10:22:54
34.18
-96.66
5.0
5
0
OKLAHOMA

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WxGeek, #399

That is a great model graph that I haven't seen before. I'm not used to snow models.
Which model do I need to be on if I want to get off at Charing Cross?

P.S. Nymore... those cams made me shivver. That is some cold and snow.
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Quoting VR46L:


I guess we will see what the next 3 months bring... but the models can't even agree about the present storm two days away, will it Impact New England or go out to sea around Virginia ...
True--but, of course, weather and climate are two different things...
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I'm barely in a 5% tornado 15% wind today.
I actually thought we might see a SEE TEXT today but we get more:
A RECENT INCREASE IN ELEVATED TSTMS HAS BEEN NOTED OVER NRN MS WITH
STORMS LIKELY ROOTED WITHIN THE EML AND FORCED BY HEIGHT FALLS/DCVA
AHEAD OF THE EVOLVING...LARGE-SCALE TROUGH. THESE STORMS SHOULD
CONTINUE EWD WITH A RISK FOR SOME HAIL APPROACHING SEVERE LEVELS.
SURFACE-BASED STORM DEVELOPMENT IS ANTICIPATED THIS AFTERNOON ALONG
THE COLD FRONT FROM NWRN GA INTO AL WITH ACTIVITY GROWING UPSCALE
INTO A BROKEN CONVECTIVE BAND. GIVEN THE STRONG LOW-LEVEL AND
DEEP-LAYER SHEAR FORECAST...THE POTENTIAL WILL EXIST FOR EMBEDDED
BOWING AND/OR SUPERCELL STRUCTURES WITH A RISK FOR DAMAGING WINDS
AND PERHAPS A TORNADO.
EXPECT THE SEVERE WEATHER THREAT TO DIMINISH
LATER THIS EVENING INTO TONIGHT AS THE BOUNDARY LAYER GRADUALLY
COOLS AND STABILIZES.



NWS atlanta says further southwest than SPC and I would agree


and the snow should stay north
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Everyone have a great Tuesday. Aussie, have a great Wednesday. Looks like a chance of rain again now, but not much.
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Breaking News Storm‏@breakingstorm

More than 7 inches of snow recorded so far in Minnesota's Twin Cities, causing commute times to double or triple - @StarTribune
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Neo,

Does March have a shot at being the first month in over 300 that is cooler than average?
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419. VR46L
Quoting Neapolitan:
Mid-February to mid-March is always the coldest part of the year in the Arctic, and, of course, the time when ice volume, extent, and area reach their annual maximums. Having said that, the contiguous US is in a cooler regime than it was last year at this time, so Spring won't blast in weeks ahead of schedule as it did during 2012's freakish March. However, long-range forecasts call for the cooler regime to hold sway for another few weeks, then for April and May to be warmer than average for most of the nation.

cpc


I guess we will see what the next 3 months bring... but the models can't even agree about the present storm two days away, will it Impact New England or go out to sea around Virginia ...
Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6832
Quoting matara28:
Almoast all weather models shows a cold snap for European continent for the next week. Could someone please correct me if i'm wrong?


Nothing to correct. I'm in Iceland and it got quite cold and windy yesterday (we get heavy try-to-rip-the-door-off-your-car windstorms often here). This morning it was still quite cold and windy, but outside my window, it doesn't look as windy any more. Still looks cold, mind you. The current forecast at vedur.is shows it warming up a bit during the week, but then getting really cold again next weekend. A shame, we had such a warm winter so far.

Now, as for what's going on in *continental* europe, g hef ekki hugmynd...
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417. 900MB
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
My updated forecast this morning:

Chicago, IL: 5-7" (higher in suburbs)
Indianapolis, IN: 4-6"
Wilmington, OH: 4-6"
Roanoke, Virginia: 1-3"
Washington, D.C.: 10-12"
Philadelphia, PA: 1-3"
New York, NY: 8-10"
Boston, MA: 14-16"
Portland, ME: 2-4"


8"-10" NYC certainly possible, I'm afraid NYC sleeping on this one! We've been sold the southern solution all week, and even underground local forecast this am makes no mention of accumulating snow.
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416. VR46L
Loop embedded

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.