Mar 29, 2011: Snow Potential Friday, But Will It Happen?

As the cold air mass over the region continued to weaken, temperatures today were once again warmer than yesterday, peaking in the mid 40s inland and in the upper 40s for the rest of the area with a few lower 50s in the immediate NYC area. Today brought sunny skies once again to the area, however tomorrow will end this stretch of sunny days as a storm approaches the region.

This storm is not expected to affect the area at this time with much more than light rain/snow showers on Wednesday night, however there may be a more significant storm on Friday. There is still uncertainty with Friday’s storm, and it is possible that if the right conditions fall in place, the storm may produce a heavy wet snow north/west of NYC, however it is a possibility that this may fail to become anything significant for the area. Below, I will discuss in more details the possibilities for this storm and what may happen in the area.

Tomorrow’s Outlook:

Tomorrow will bring increasing clouds to the area as a storm approaches from the souhtwest. A few showers are possible towards the evening, but most of the light precipitation from this storm should fall in the overight hours. High temperatures will continue the warming trend, peaking in the upper 40s to lower 50s for the western parts of the area, lower 50s in the immediate NYC area, and in the mid to upper 40s for the eastern parts of the area.

Wednesday Night – Thursday: Weak Storm Potential

Yesterday, every model kept the storm on Wednesday night to the south of the area, with only a few rain/snow showers at most. Today, however, especially with the NAM, we are seeing two potential scenarios for this storm. The difference between these scenarios is not a big one for the area for this storm, but it may have a greater impact on Friday’s storm, which will be discussed in more details below.

At this time, a weak storm is expected to move off the coast of North Carolina, bringing moderate rainfall to the Mid Atlantic. Precipitation is expected to make it far north enough to bring at least light rain/snow showers to the area on Wednesday night, which has been mentioned in the updated 5-Day Forecast, which is not expected to amount to anything significant, most likely up to at least 0.1″ QPF. Even if the western parts of the area see a steady light snow, due to warm surface temperatures, accumulations are not expected.

The GFS mean, however, has been showing a wetter and stronger storm on Wednesday night, as well as the NAM. These runs would bring slightly more precipitation into the area in the form of snow early on Thursday morning north/west of NYC. This solution is unlikely at this time, but given the latest model difficulties in handling the storm, it will be watched.

Thursday Night – Friday Afternoon: April Fool’s Snowstorm?

Up until yesterday, the models have had a lot of difficulties handling this storm, with some of them showing the storm well west of the area, others such as the UKMET showing a very intense storm, and others such as the CMC taking the storm out to sea. Today’s models began converging on a solution, however this solution, should it verify, would bring a significant snowstorm north and west of NYC.

In this scenario, snow would begin falling after midnight on Thursday night, becoming heavy at times by Friday morning while mixing with rain and ending by early Friday afternoon. Most notably, the GGEM, ECMWF, and the 06z/12z runs of the GFS show significant snowfall for the interior parts of the area with the GFS even showing snow into NYC, and should these scenarios verify, as much as 10-12 inches of wet snow may accumulate towards Sussex and Orange counties.

There are other potentials, however, including the storm intensifying later, bringing in warmer temperatures with mostly rain falling for most of the area ending as a wet accumulating snowfall inland. The NAM and GEFS show the storm failing to become anything significant, and instead being absorbed by the stronger Wednesday storm. This solution is the less likely one at this time, but it will be watched.

Overall, there is still a lot of uncertainty with this storm, but a potentially significant late season snowstorm may be possible north and west of NYC. Stay tuned for more information on this storm and how it may affect the area.

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