Jan 26, 2014 Brief Update

[notice]Note: Daily updates will return to a morning schedule starting on Monday. Since the last full update was posted recently, on Saturday night, today’s update will be brief.[/notice]

Forecast Overview:

A clipper system will track north of the area tonight, with a strong southwesterly flow bringing temperatures into the low to mid 30s for most and upper 30s near the coast for Monday morning, the first time in a week that temperatures surpass the freezing point. This will be short lived, however, as the cold front follows in the early afternoon, producing isolated rain showers north of NYC, considering that temperature profiles are likely to be warm enough from the surface up to 850mb to support liquid precipitation near the area. Following the front, the final arctic blast for a while will enter the region, with highs on Tuesday in the mid 10s to near 20 degrees with wind chills near 0 to -10 degrees in the morning, with lows in the single digits for most and near 10 degrees in NYC and the coast.

The main highlight in the outlook is for Wednesday, when a wave of low pressure will develop along the frontal boundary off the southeast US coast, which along with the anomalously strong and deep cold air mass will produce a major snowstorm unusually far south, extending into southern Louisiana/Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, and even northern Florida, where snow accumulations of at least 4 to 8 inches are possible along with freezing rain. The uncertainty is how far north the snow expands, with today’s models trending northwest with the precipitation shield to place the northwest fringe of the snow shield just southeast of NYC, as the shortwave trough trended slower and slightly sharper, with a stronger southern stream shortwave over Mexico more favorably aligned to interact with the northern shortwave. The trough setup is less favorable than last Tuesday for a major snowstorm over the area, however; at this time, the forecast is for mostly cloudy skies, with any significant snow further south towards southeast Virginia, although considering that most of the energies involved for this time frame have not been fully sampled yet, along with the frequency of short range surprises observed this winter, most recently today when snow showers unexpectedly crossed the Appalachians and reached the area, this will continue to be monitored for the possibility of a continued northwest trend to enough of an extent to produce at least isolated snow showers in eastern parts of the area.

The next potential for a storm system to affect the area is towards next weekend, when temperatures will also warm back up into the low-mid 30s. With systems both from the Pacific and Canada involved in this time frame, originating in poorly sampled regions, the models will not have a solid handle on the time frame for another few days, although at this time overall thinking is for a potential minor rain/snow event on Saturday and possibly for Sunday, with the possibility for a more significant system towards the middle of next week. More information will be posted with Monday morning’s update.

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