Mar 17, 2014 Brief Update

Forecast Overview:

Mainly cloudy skies continued across the area today as a late season snowstorm affected the Mid Atlantic, with up to 8-10 inches of snow in Maryland; the northern end of the precipitation shield approached the area but failed to extend north of central New Jersey. With a strong upper level low in southeastern Canada and an unseasonably cold air mass placed over the region for the seemingly countless time this winter, temperatures today were once again colder than average, peaking in the low to mid 30s. Central Park’s high temperature of 35 degrees was 15 degrees below the average high of 50 for this time of the year.

A somewhat longer but still temporary relief from the cold is on the way as the cold air mass departs the region and the storm track focuses north of the region, starting on Tuesday and Wednesday as a deepening low pressure tracks through the Midwest into Canada, bringing highs into the low 40s further west and upper 30s further east on Tuesday, and the mid-upper 40s further west and low-mid 40s in LI/CT on Wednesday. Scattered showers are expected on Wednesday night as a cold front pushes through, with clearing skies on Tuesday along with westerly winds; with this anticipated setup, I am siding warmer than the model guidance with highs reaching the low-mid 50s inland and mid-upper 50s across the rest of the area. Temperatures will cool down a little on Friday with increased cloud cover, and another low will track to the north on Saturday with scattered showers anticipated again. High temperatures will depend on how far north the low pressure tracks as well as its intensity, with a stronger and further north low pressure allowing for highs to surge well into the 50s again.

While the upcoming pattern suggests that for the first time in quite a while, probability of a widespread snow event does not appear high at this time in the medium to long range, the stubborn cold pattern will not be easy to break, and yet another cold air mass is expected to spread into the region by next Sunday into early-mid next week. Taking typical model biases into consideration, the models are likely exaggerating the southward extent of the cold, with temperatures currently likely to reach at least the mid 30s-low 40s range for highs in this time period. The possibility of additional snow this winter cannot be completely ruled out with the anticipated late month cold surge, but given the time range, it is too early to go into any such possibility more in-depth.

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