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 , 5:56 AM GMT on March 05, 2013
A winter storm, with blizzard conditions in the far northern plains, is in progress. Winter storm warnings, watches, advisories, and even blizzard warnings are in effect for parts of the northern tier. Heavy snow and gusty winds are occurring in parts of the plains and Mid west. This is part one of this winter storm, the first shortwave. Part 2, the second shortwave, is in Oklahoma. They are currently phasing and should be done phasing sometime tomorrow. The main feature will take shape in the southern Ohio Valley and track eastward. It will continue to track eastward and deepen over the next couple days as it heads off shore. As models indicate, there will be plenty of moister to work with and there could be some pretty decent snowfall totals in the Virginia's. Of course, we still have to get through the next 24hrs of the two waves coming together. Chicago, Fort Wayne, Columbus, Minneapolis, and Milwaukee are some major cities that will get heavy snow from the northern wave(and some from the merged system). Models are coming more in line of where the heaviest snow will be, in these areas. They do still have some minor differences on timing and precip type for some areas, but that will be worked out. Snow totals in North Dakota and Montana have been up to a foot with gusty winds. People in the path of this winter storm need to be taking it seriously. Also, snow may not be the only hazard with it. On the southern, warmer side of the storm, some strong to severe thunderstorms are possible. Dynamics are not all that great, but a damaging wind gust or two is possible in Georgia and South Carolina. There shouldn't be too much rainfall on the southern side, mostly <1" expect very near the low, for a change. The south has been getting a lot of heavy flooding rain, even though it is beneficiary, lately so they could use a small break. I think a state by state impact analysis is necessary to fully get my ideas out. But first, figure 1 shows a satellite loop of the US with the winter storm shown.
To explain my snowfall forecast, see below in fig 2, a state by state explanation is needed. I will go in order of which states are getting impacted first. Hopefully this is something that helps. For more deatails and the latest alerts, please visit www.weather.gov
Snowfall accumulations of up to over a foot and blizzard conditions have been observed in the eastern part of the state. Lesser amounts of snow and lesser winds elsewhere in the state. Traveling has been difficult to near impossible at times. The storm is winding down over there however.
Heavy snow and gusty winds are ongoing in most of the state. This is expected to wind down soon with not a lot of additional accumulations. Snowfall has totaled up to a foot with 6 counties current;y under blizzard warnings. Travel is not advised unless necessary.
South Dakota has gotten less amounts of snow, and only in the northern part of the state. Winds still have been gusty over there.
This is where snow is really getting going. As the wave moves SE and phases with the southern one, the snow will go SE too. The eastern part of the state should get the most amount of snow, 6-12", with the western side getting 1-6". Snowfall rates may get up in the 1-2" per hour range at the height of the storm. Strong winds will cause blowing and drifting snow. Schools may be closed tomorrow in some areas. Travel is not advised as conditions are poor, with visibilities dropping below 1/2 mile at times.
The western part of Wisconsin will be in the heavy snow axis, with central and eastern parts seeing less and less. Conditions will be similar as in Minnesota.
Iowa will get clipped by the heaviest amounts of snow, northeast corner. Most other areas seeing snow should see 1-6" of snow with poor travel conditions. The storm will continue into the early Wednesday.
Chicago will see some of the highest totals in the Mid west with this storm, 8-12". This will be the most significant March storm in the past few years for northern Illinois. Snowfall rates could reach 1-2" per hour and gusty winds will drop visibilities to less than 1/2 mile and poor travel. The snow will blow and drift around causing further travel troubles. In the central and southern part of the state, precipitation issues may be present. A mix of wintry precip is possible before all snow.
Southern Michigan will be on the edge of the deformation band. pretty much the first row of counties north of the Ohio border will see a semi decent snowfall. Conditions still need to be monitored for any slight changes.
Indiana will see similar conditions as Illinios. Fort Wayne should get between 5-10" of snow and Indianapolis 3-6". Precip type could bee a problem in the southern part of the state. The precipitation should begin in the middle of the day today.
Central Ohio is where the highest snowfall will be. The southern part will deal with some warm air and the northern part will the edge of the precipitation shield. Gusty winds will create blowing/drifting snow and travel will be disrupted.
Kentucky will be on the southern edge of the snow and won't get as much as states to the north.
The southern and eastern parts of the state have the best chance of seeing heavy snow. Most people should be prepared for 3"+ of snow.
Snowfall will likely be over 6 to even 12", especially in the higher elevation areas.
Virginia is where the forecast is tricky. Models show some of the heaviest totals in the DC area, but there could be some issues. it is possible that it is a little too warm it is a little harder for snow to stick and the rain/snow line is over DC. Personally, I think DC has a high likelihood of seeing 6"+ of snow. Mixed precip at the onset could cause icy conditions so be advised of that. The far southern portions will deal with a rain/snow mix and only pick up a couple inches at best.
The Appalachian mountains could see 1-6" of snow.
The Appalachian mountains could see 1-6" of snow.
Most of Maryland, besides the far southern area, should see 6"+ of snow. Some parts in the western side could see a foot or more. Gusty winds will cause blowing snow. Travel will be fully disrupted.
There should be a good event 4"+ for Delaware, and the northern most part of the state will see more. Warm advecting air could create a problem but that will be dealt with later. Coastal flooding is possible due to the strong onshore winds.
New England(New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, new Hampshire, and Maine)
A major snow event is possible in parts of New England. Models are only starting to latch onto this idea and it needs further watching. As we get closer to the storm, the better idea I will have of a snow event.
Have a great Tuesday everyone and stay safe! I'll have a new update Late Tuesday or Wednesday.
The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.