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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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Where's March? It's down in Texas.



Looks more like summer to this darned yankee ;)
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


completely not buying it obviously

I'm sorry... im just excited that im getting something... I typed before I thought
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folks Prepare for a Nor'easter.............................THIS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK IS FOR SOUTHERN
CONNECTICUT...NORTHEAST NEW JERSEY AND SOUTHEAST NEW YORK.

.DAY ONE...THIS AFTERNOON AND TONIGHT.

HAZARDOUS WEATHER NOT EXPECTED AT THIS TIME.

.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...TUESDAY THROUGH SUNDAY.

A NOR-EASTER WILL DEVELOP ALONG THE MID ATLANTIC COAST EARLY
WEDNESDAY. THE STORM WILL INTENSIFY AS IT SLOWLY TRACKS
EAST THROUGH THURSDAY.

FORECAST UNCERTAINTY SURROUNDS THE EXACT DETAILS OF HOW THIS STORM
WILL EVOLVE...BUT THE POTENTIAL EXISTS FOR:

* SEVERAL INCHES OF SNOW.
* WIND GUSTS OF 50 TO 60 MPH.
* MINOR TO MODERATE COASTAL FLOODING.
* HIGH SURF AND SIGNIFICANT BEACH EROSION ALONG THE OCEAN FACING
BEACHES AND TWIN FORKS OF LONG ISLAND.

THESE IMPACTS ARE POSSIBLE WEDNESDAY THROUGH THURSDAY.

SEE THE AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION FOR ADDITIONAL DETAILS.

.SPOTTER INFORMATION STATEMENT...

SPOTTER ACTIVATION MAY BE NEEDED.

&&
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Great article (CT biased) on the possibility of the storm: Link
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Where's March? It's down in Texas.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32838

Todd Gutner‏@ToddWBZ

The final track of storm is still in question but cold rain and wet snow is likely with some accumulating snow possible.

2 minTodd Gutner‏@ToddWBZ

A lock that the Coast has problems from midweek storm: large waves, beach erosion and gusty, if not damaging wind.
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Quoting Doppler22:

oh yeah.... that was a big duhh moment... :p


completely not buying it obviously
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Quoting ConnecticutWXGuy:


SW Connecticut would be New England

oh yeah.... that was a big duhh moment... :p
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Ryan Maue‏@RyanMaue

GFS 18z similar to 12z for overall precip from DC to Boston thru 3-days. Link
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Quoting Doppler22:

Blizzard Watches for New England or the Mid Atlantic?


SW Connecticut would be New England
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
SW CT Weather Info %u200F@SWCTweather

18z GFS coming out now also shows a direct hit for much of SW CT and an extreme wind threat. I think winds may cause more problems than snow

If the 0z ECMWF trends again towards the GFS and the GFS/NAM stay firm, we could be looking at Blizzard Watches going up tomorrow.

that's a bit too far from this storm, but still not out of realm of chances...


I can't see NWS hoisting blizzard watches for a day 2.5 to 4 event... but winter storm watches I can see
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nvm
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203. VR46L
All good things come to an end eventually .. looks like the UK and Ireland beautiful dry spell is going to end with that storm moving north from Spain ..

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SW CT Weather Info %u200F@SWCTweather

18z GFS coming out now also shows a direct hit for much of SW CT and an extreme wind threat. I think winds may cause more problems than snow

If the 0z ECMWF trends again towards the GFS and the GFS/NAM stay firm, we could be looking at Blizzard Watches going up tomorrow.

that's a bit too far from this storm, but still not out of realm of chances...
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
The map (post 180) gave me around 22"
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Quoting jonger1150:


The Feb anomaly for the arctic was the coldest in perhaps decades.


Really? I'm very surprised by that. I wouldn't have thought the figures would be out this early. Have you got a link?
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I'm now under a Winter Storm Warning!

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WILMINGTON OH
426 PM EST MON MAR 4 2013

.LOW PRESSURE WILL TRACK THROUGH KENTUCKY ON TUESDAY AND
INTO SOUTHEAST OHIO TUESDAY NIGHT. WINTRY WEATHER WILL DEVELOP
ACROSS THE REGION ON TUESDAY AND CONTINUE INTO WEDNESDAY.

INZ050-051200-
/O.UPG.KILN.WS.A.0001.130305T1800Z-130306T1800Z/
/O.NEW.KILN.WS.W.0001.130305T1600Z-130306T1800Z/
WAYNE-
INCLUDING THE CITY OF...RICHMOND
426 PM EST MON MAR 4 2013

...WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 11 AM TUESDAY TO 1 PM EST
WEDNESDAY...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN WILMINGTON HAS ISSUED A WINTER
STORM WARNING FOR SNOW...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 11 AM TUESDAY TO 1
PM EST WEDNESDAY. THE WINTER STORM WATCH IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT.

* HAZARD TYPES...SNOW AND SLEET.

* ACCUMULATIONS...SNOW ACCUMULATION OF 5 TO 7 INCHES.

* TIMING...A WINTRY MIX WILL CHANGE TO SNOW TUESDAY AFTERNOON. THE
HEAVIEST SNOW IS EXPECTED IN THE LATE AFTERNOON AND TUESDAY NIGHT.

* IMPACTS...HAZARDOUS TRAVEL CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED DUE TO
REDUCED VISIBILITIES AND SNOW ACCUMULATIONS.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

REMEMBER...A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW MEANS SEVERE
WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. SIGNIFICANT
AMOUNTS OF SNOW ARE FORECAST THAT WILL MAKE TRAVEL DANGEROUS. ONLY
TRAVEL IN AN EMERGENCY. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL...KEEP AN EXTRA
FLASHLIGHT...FOOD...AND WATER IN YOUR VEHICLE IN CASE OF AN
EMERGENCY.


&&

$$
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Quoting JustPlantIt:
The same people who are killing us by feeding us those GMO's!!! Kudo's
This is a problem here in the US... many people just look at news and think that this is what is true. Google has shut numerous sites down. One that comes to mind is the Louisiana Sink hole. Hard to get any info. Yesterdays water issue with the pressure.... nothing. IT was 'BREAKING NEWS' on Fox... Shut down.
FEMA had the bags for this and it is just like 'Discovery'. They do not want a riot.
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Quoting ConnecticutWXGuy:


Note that even though the time stamp claims the forecast is valid through Friday, that image is really always bound to 48 hours. Not sure why they do the time stamp that way but I have never seen the image depict anything beyond 48 hours.


I lost you.(?).. The storm is done by Friday.

In my twitter I see posts for huge snowfall across Stamford, Norwalk, Fairfield, Bridgeport and New Haven.
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Quoting Doppler22:

1-2' for Northern Maryland? Thats great for me! Cause im very close to MD


Im still not buying that map..especially for the eastern areas
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
well, it's updated now... not impressive at all



Colossal... big nowstorm.., actually that's how Im calling it now: Colossal Saturn.


Note that even though the time stamp claims the forecast is valid through Friday, that image is really always bound to 48 hours. Not sure why they do the time stamp that way but I have never seen the image depict anything beyond 48 hours.
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Quoting Luisport:
Ryan Maue%u200F@RyanMaue

NAM 4km (WRF) huge 60-hr snowfall totals in mountains of VA, 1-2 feet northern Maryland. Actual ground depth ~50%
Link

1-2' for Northern Maryland? Thats great for me! Cause im very close to MD

And Im loving that map!!!!
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Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
well, it's updated now... not impressive at all



Colossal... big nowstorm.., actually that's how Im calling it now: Colossal Saturn.
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Quoting kwgirl:
So you prepare differently, knowing you may be house bound unable to get supplies. My best friend used to live outside Chicago and she told me of times they were snowed in for days. I just can't fathom that, even though I have seen pictures. It boggles my mind.


Yes, in my case I make sure I have plenty of gas for the snow blower, full tank in both vehicles more for the added weight/traction factor than anything else. Just went to the store so we are good on food. Its no real big deal, just can be a pain at times.
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Thanks for the blog, Dr. Masters.

You might want to fix a mistake though:

- Last 10"+ snow event: Feb. 9-10, 2010 (9.3")

Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
NAM calling this snowstorm a colossal snowstorm???...For the NYC area

Elaborate on the usage of colossal.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32838
Quoting ConnecticutWXGuy:


Not to mention the FDA would NEVER approve any drug that wouldn't make the pharmacies a profit.... many of the drugs the FDA refuses to research are the ones that could be sold at prices like 25 cents per pill. In otherwords if we can't be cured profitably, we won't be cured as far as the FDA is concerned. Not a conspiracy theorist, but I know my stuff... the FDA is NOT our friend.
The same people who are killing us by feeding us those GMO's!!! Kudo's
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Quoting PalmBeachWeather:
Jarhead.... Do you mind if I use that on my boss? I am in south Florida...I won't be in today...The lovebugs have absolutely covered my windshield... I can't freekin' see... Hope it works. Thanks for the suggestion


Sure go for it...let me know how that works out for you...LOL
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Quoting JustPlantIt:
Please keep in mind too, that we already DO have cures for Cancer... just costworthy to 'Go see a docter'. Just like chemicals, the same people who approve those... also approve the drugs we take:(


Not to mention the FDA would NEVER approve any drug that wouldn't make the pharmacies a profit.... many of the drugs the FDA refuses to research are the ones that could be sold at prices like 25 cents per pill. In otherwords if we can't be cured profitably, we won't be cured as far as the FDA is concerned. Not a conspiracy theorist, but I know my stuff... the FDA is NOT our friend.
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Quoting JustPlantIt:
One could hope as this happened with a sinkhole in Florida and low water pressure in Louisiana with stories of a fire... broken equipment, power failure...., ETC. No record on the news, just a lot of BS.
Please keep in mind too, that we already DO have cures for Cancer... just costworthy to 'Go see a doctor'. Just like chemicals, the same people who approve those... also approve the drugs we take:(
Yes... sorry can't spell
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Quoting Jarhead6012:


Yes it can make a HUGE difference, 6" is an inconvience for the most part. Roads are still passable just slow. When you start to get over 10+ then you run into issues keeping the roads clear enough to drive, and if it is a heavy wet snow then you have to worry about tree limbs coming down, roof's collapsing, etc.


So glad have never had to deal with that or any of those ice storms.

6" causes total meltdown since they're not used to or prepared for that amount...and doesn't happen often enough for them to really. Yet, will see if that global warming scenario freezes the UK someday maybe!
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Keep in mind that the NAM was the only model to accurately forecast snowfall totals of 20 to 40 inches in the great blizzard of last month
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Quoting WunderGirl12:


I hope it is true!
One could hope as this happened with a sinkhole in Florida and low water pressure in Louisiana with stories of a fire... broken equipment, power failure...., ETC. No record on the news, just a lot of BS.
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It appears to me that the European might cave to the GFS this time. The Euro can't ALWAYS be right, afterall ;)

I just have that feeling guys. Plus the Euro has been edging the storm about 50 miles further north per run for the past 3 runs.
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Ryan Maue‏@RyanMaue

NAM 4km (WRF) huge 60-hr snowfall totals in mountains of VA, 1-2 feet northern Maryland. Actual ground depth ~50%
Link
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
on a not-so-weather-related note:

I'm pretty sure you guys know about this..

A baby with HIV is deemed cured...Im so happy about this, even happier if it verifies.

A milestone in medicine!


I hope it is true!
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URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MORRISTOWN TN
332 PM EST MON MAR 4 2013

...SIGNIFICANT SNOW ACCUMULATIONS POSSIBLE ACROSS SOME OF THE
HIGHER ELEVATION AREAS OF SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA...EAST TENNESSEE...AND
EXTREME SOUTHWEST NORTH CAROLINA...
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on a not-so-weather-related note:

I'm pretty sure you guys know about this..

A baby with HIV is deemed cured...Im so happy about this, even happier if it verifies.

A milestone in medicine!
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Well I guess alot of folks will get 5 inches and some up to 14 inches of snow..and thats an educated guess from them,storms still a day or two away..stay safe up there folks..
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Ryan Maue‏@RyanMaue

Chicago snow-totals thru Tuesday should be substantial w/about an inch of liquid equiv precip a href="https://twitter.com/RyanMaue/status/30868614 0012130304/photo/1
" target="_blank">Link
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URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CLEVELAND OH
345 PM EST MON MAR 4 2013

.AN AREA OF LOW PRESSURE OVER THE NORTHERN PLAINS MOVE TO THE
OHIO VALLEY LATE TUESDAY AND TUESDAY NIGHT. MODERATE TO HEAVY SNOW
ASSOCIATED WITH THIS STORM WILL SPREAD ACROSS THE AREA TUESDAY
AFTERNOON AND CONTINUE INTO EARLY WEDNESDAY MORNING.

OHZ017-027>030-036-037-047-050445-
/O.UPG.KCLE.WS.A.0002.130305T1800Z-130306T1700Z/
/O.NEW.KCLE.WS.W.0001.130305T1700Z-130306T1700Z/
HANCOCK-WYANDOT-CRAWFORD-RICHLAND-ASHLAND-MARION- MORROW-KNOX-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...FINDLAY...UPPER SANDUSKY...CAREY...
BUCYRUS...MANSFIELD...ASHLAND...MARION...MOUNT GILEAD...
MOUNT VERNON
345 PM EST MON MAR 4 2013

...WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM NOON TUESDAY TO NOON EST
WEDNESDAY...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN CLEVELAND HAS ISSUED A WINTER
STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM NOON TUESDAY
TO NOON WEDNESDAY.

* ACCUMULATIONS...6 TO 9 INCHES.

* TIMING...SNOW WILL OVERSPREAD THE AREA TUESDAY AFTERNOON WITH
THE HEAVIEST SNOW EXPECTED TUESDAY EVENING. THE SNOW WILL TAPER
OFF FROM WEST TO EAST WEDNESDAY MORNING.

* WINDS...NORTHEAST 10 TO 15 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 25 MPH.

* IMPACTS...SNOW WILL BE HEAVY AT TIMES TUESDAY EVENING AND WILL
MAKE FOR DIFFICULT TRAVEL. SOME BLOWING AND DRIFTING IS LIKELY
IN OPEN AREAS.

* TEMPERATURES...IN THE UPPER 20S AND LOWER 30S.

* VISIBILITIES...LESS THAN ONE HALF MILE AT TIMES.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A WINTER STORM WARNING IS ISSUED WHEN SEVERE WINTER WEATHER IS
EXPECTED. IF YOU WILL BE TRAVELING IN THE WARNING AREA YOU SHOULD
PREPARE FOR DIFFICULT TRAVEL. STAY TUNED TO NOAA WEATHER RADIO FOR
FURTHER DETAILS OR UPDATES.

&&

$$
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Quoting JustPlantIt:
I am Berks Co..... And I've still got wood to burn, dump mother nature... just dump and shut these people up! I hope Washie gets her wish... Storm of March '93!!!! I am ready.

Haha Im saying the same thing! Dump it all on us!
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Quoting Doppler22:

York County, PA

and it says 6" and more but someone told me a foot and someone told me 2 feet so I have no clue for how much
I am Berks Co..... And I've still got wood to burn, dump mother nature... just dump and shut these people up! I hope Washie gets her wish... Storm of March '93!!!! I am ready.
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Quoting yonzabam:


Arctic Ocean sea ice area is now at its greatest annual extent, and will now start to decline. It's at exactly the same areal extent as this time last year.

2012 set a record summer low ice area by a large margin, partly due to an unseasonal storm which broke up much of the ice.

If 2013 were to set a new record, that would be quite an event, and strong evidence that Arctic Ocean summer ice cover will disappear (apart from small coastal vestiges) in the near future. Just 10 years ago, climate models were still predicting total summer loss arond 2100. Makes you wonder how much else have they've got seriously wrong.

Given that last year's record was 'helped' by a storm, I'd guess that 2013 will probably not beat the record. If I was a bookmaker, I'd put the odds at about 2/1 against.


The Feb anomaly for the arctic was the coldest in perhaps decades.
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Quoting kwgirl:
So you prepare differently, knowing you may be house bound unable to get supplies. My best friend used to live outside Chicago and she told me of times they were snowed in for days. I just can't fathom that, even though I have seen pictures. It boggles my mind.

Yeah I have my "supplies" now... Just went to the store and stocked up
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URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PITTSBURGH PA
250 PM EST MON MAR 4 2013

...HEAVY SNOW FOR TUESDAY NIGHT INTO WEDNESDAY...

MDZ001-PAZ074-076-WVZ023-041-050400-
/O.UPG.KPBZ.WS.A.0003.130306T0000Z-130307T0000Z/
/O.NEW.KPBZ.WS.W.0005.130305T2300Z-130307T0000Z/
GARRETT-WESTMORELAND RIDGES-FAYETTE RIDGES-PRESTON-TUCKER-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...OAKLAND MD...GRANTSVILLE...LIGONIER...
DONEGAL...NEW FLORENCE...ACME...CHAMPION...NORMALVILLE...
FARMINGTON...OHIOPYLE...MARKLEYSBURG...KINGWOOD.. .TERRA ALTA...
PARSONS...DAVIS...THOMAS
250 PM EST MON MAR 4 2013

...WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM TUESDAY TO 7 PM EST
WEDNESDAY...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN PITTSBURGH HAS ISSUED A WINTER
STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM
TUESDAY TO 7 PM EST WEDNESDAY. THE WINTER STORM WATCH IS NO LONGER
IN EFFECT.

* HAZARD TYPE...HEAVY WET SNOW.

* SNOW ACCUMULATIONS...8 TO 14 INCHES.

* SNOW BEGINNING...LATE TUESDAY AFTERNOON.

* PERIOD OF MOST INTENSE SNOW...10PM TUESDAY TO 10AM WEDNESDAY.

* SNOW ENDING...WEDNESDAY EVENING.

* IMPACTS...HAZARDOUS TRAVEL CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED DUE TO
REDUCED VISIBILITY AND SNOW ACCUMULATION.

* WINDS...NORTHEAST 5 TO 15 MPH.

* IMPACTS...HAZARDOUS TRAVEL CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED DUE TO
REDUCED VISIBILITY AND SNOW ACCUMULATION.

A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR SNOW MEANS THAT HEAVY SNOWFALL WILL
MAKE TRAVEL DANGEROUS. IF YOU MUST VENTURE OUT AT ALL...USE
EXTREME CAUTION. REPORT SNOW ACCUMULATION TO THE NATIONAL
WEATHER SERVICE BY CALLING...412-262-1988...POSTING TO THE NWS
PITTSBURGH FACEBOOK PAGE...OR USING TWITTER @NWSPITTSBURGH.



&&

$$
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NWS Boston‏@NWSBoston

Confidence increasing that late Wed-Fri storm will impact our region. #NHwx #MAwx #RIwx #CTwx
Link
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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.

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