Feb 8, 2012: Winter Finally Arrives, For Now

Forecast Highlights:

– Storm potential for weekend increases; widespread light snow likely
– Cold temperatures this weekend, highs struggle to reach 30 on Sunday
– Warmer next week, but not very warm


As this afternoon’s update noted, a light snow event affected the Mid Atlantic including the area today, with widespread 1-2 inch amounts in parts of Pennsylvania. This evening, a weak area of light snow not detected very well by the radar affected the area, bringing a dusting to most places with totals up to 1/2 inch towards southern Long Island, NYC and towards central New Jersey. The radar to the left shows that most of the snow has moved out, but occasional flurries are still falling in Long Island.

Today’s snow event marks the first snow event as a result of the temporary pattern change, which will finally bring a period of more winter-like conditions to the area through at least next week. The peak of this wintry-like time frame will be in the weekend, when a light snow event will affect the area followed by colder temperatures for the weekend. Although temperatures will warm up again next week, the pattern will fail to return exactly to where it has been until now.

Thursday – Friday: Warmer, Snow Quickly Melts

Temperatures will quickly warm back up tomorrow behind the snow event, with temperatures reaching the lower to mid 40s across the area along with mostly sunny skies and light winds, melting any leftover snow from today. Temperatures will slightly warm up again on Friday with partly sunny skies along with temperatures reaching the mid to upper 40s across the area.

Weekend: Colder, Light Snow Expected

With the temporary pattern change including stronger ridging in Alaska, there have been indications over the last 10 days that the best potential for a snow event could be around this time frame. This potential is now looking more likely, with the latest model guidance trending towards a coastal storm developing slightly closer to the coast. Regardless of the coastal low, a cold front will move through the region on Friday, bringing widespread snow showers to the region, including the area, along with highs in the mid to upper 30s for most of the area. The uncertainty comes in regarding any coastal low, as the GFS and NAM have been trending west and stronger with this feature, bringing light rain/snow changing over to snow for NYC for Friday night into Saturday morning. Surface temperatures are marginal for this event with the latest models as the storm is mostly offshore, resulting in light rain/snow with light accumulations at most. However, there is still some uncertainty with this time frame, and one of the possibilities is that the low pressure trends slightly further west and stronger, which may result in a scenario supporting light accumulations for the area above an inch. Regardless, the probability of at least some light snow affecting the area on Saturday appears to be moderate to high at this time. Stay tuned for more information on the light snowstorm potential for Friday night into Saturday.

Behind this storm, some of the coldest temperatures of the winter will move into the region. Sunday will be the coldest day with partly sunny skies and windy conditions, with gusts possibly up to 40 mph. Depending on later model runs, a Wind Alert may be needed for the weekend. Temperatures will be much colder, only peaking in the mid 20s to lower 30s across the area, with overnight lows in the upper 0s to mid 10s for most places except for NYC, which will be slightly warmer. Along with the wind, wind chills may end up in the single digits for parts of, if not most of the area.

Temperatures are expected to warm back up into the 40s by next week, although no significant warm spell appears to be in the picture yet. Stay tuned for more information on the weekend cold as well as the outlook for next week with tomorrow’s update.

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