I'm a CMU Honors student and love meteorology and extreme weather. I've been fascinated by weather since I was 5, and plan on becoming a meteorologist
By: wxchaser97 , 4:45 AM GMT on March 04, 2013
A winter storm is taking shape for parts of the Mid West, Great Lakes, and Mid Atlantic. Winter storm warnings, watches, and advisories are in effect for areas in the path of this storm. This system has the potential to drop a swath of 6-12" of snow in some areas. Winds will be gusty in some of these areas, but not high enough to warrant blizzard warnings/watches. The low is currently on the Montana/Canada border moving southeast. It is expected to continue to move southeast and slowly weaken as it gets into Minnesota. A new low should form, partly by the energy from the old one, and move east bringing the Mid Atlantic snow.
Fig. 1 A loop of the current low.
Computer models are still uncertain with the evolution of this storm. They don't agree on where the low will track and where the heaviest snowfall will be. Obviously, the farther north the low goes the farther north the heaviest snowfall will be. The NAM and SREF are the northern models with the ECMWF and UKMET the southern ones, GFS and GEM are more or less in the middle. This means that the heaviest snow could set up from S Michigan/N Ohio and moves ESE or south central Indiana/Ohio and move ESE. As we get closer to the event, this should be ironed out. Personally, I would like models to shift north some to put SE MI in the heavy snow axis. It looks like Minneapolis, Chicago, Milwaukee, and Washington DC are cites that should get 6"+ of snow from this storm. It is possible that the low, once out to sea, turns northeast and brings the Northeast some accumulating snow. That is something that is uncertain and needs to be watched in later runs. For the Mid Atlantic, precipitation may start out as a rain or rain and snow mix before changing to all snow. This, combined with iffy temperatures, could create issues for accumulating snow in the DC and coastal areas. I still think DC should get between 6-12" of snow. Snowfall rates, however, will be very intense and that is a plus for accumulating snow. Snow won't be the only problem, there will also be gusty winds with the storm. Areas could see gusts up to 30mph in some instances throughout the storms path. Blowing and drifting snow would be a problem, even in areas where snow is wet. Coastal flooding could be a problem as winds will be onshore. My snowfall forecast for the entire storm can be seen below. While I am pretty confident in it, models can and will change resulting in changes in track/snowfall amounts. I will have to likely update this map in the next 18-36hrs.
Fig. 2: My current snowfall forecast.
I will definitely have a new update tomorrow or Tuesday regarding this winter storm. If you are going to be in the path of this system, heed the winter weather statements and be prepared. Have a great Monday, if that's possible, everyone.
The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.