Monday, January 25, 2021

Taste of Winter On Tap

 Snow lovers will be disappointed by how the next two potential winter weather events have trended in the models. What appeared to be a week where winter might have roared back with a vengeance, has trended to a much more tame situation. We'll go in-depth below. 

Late in the work week last week, it appeared that a minor to moderate winter weather event would impact the area tonight into tomorrow. Additionally, it seemed that there was significant potential for a larger storm later in the week. However, due to some complex factors in the mid and upper levels of the atmosphere, both events have trended downwards. 

With regards to the winter weather event tonight and tomorrow - temperatures are quite marginal. While favored areas to the north and west (think the I-81 corridor) may see some icing and snowfall, the overall theme of this storm system is minor. There may be a a slushy inch or two even close to the metro area, along with a little dose of icing as well. However, I would think that by tomorrow afternoon, most areas will have safe travel close to the cities. This will be more of a nuisance storm than anything. 

High resolution NAM model showing potential snowfall primarily along and north of the Potomac River. This may even be a bit on the generous side. A slushy inch or two is certainly possible, however. (Source: College of Dupage)

You can see above that the high resolution NAM model shows a little snow accumulation focused north of the Potomac River. Even so, that accumulation should be relatively minor and slushy. 

Freezing rain forecast from the high resolution NAM model. A little icing is possible, especially to the west in the favored colder areas. (Source: College of Dupage)

Icing may be a story as well. Of course, even the tiniest amount of freezing rain accumulation can cause mayhem on the roads. The good news is that temperatures aren't frigid for this storm. Icing is still a concern, but as soon as temperatures rise above the freezing mark, things should improve. Perhaps the I-81 corridor will see a more prolonged period of icing conditions. Regardless, use caution on the roads during the precipitation, and be careful particularly on the bridges and overpasses. 

The attention will then turn to later this week. What appeared to be our first chance of a big snowstorm has petered out. Instead, a storm system looks likely to pass to the south. We may see some flurries around, but at the moment, the chances for substantial snow are going way down. Snow lovers will be stuck waiting again. 

The 06z GFS model run from Monday morning. You can see a low pressure area and its associated precipitation well off the coast. This storm system was forecast to be much closer to the coast a few days ago. (Source: TropicalTidbits)

There are indications that the overall Northern Hemispheric pattern may remain semi favorable for potential snow events going forward, but the problem so far has been a lack of cold air across the entire continent. We'll see where February takes us! 

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