Forecast calls for up to foot of snow from Denver to Dayton this weekend
Mar 23, 2013 at 8:07 AM
AccuWeather.com reports the same storm forecast to bring a half a foot to a foot of snow from Denver to Dayton this weekend will reach part of the Atlantic coast Sunday night.
The Palm Sunday weekend storm will mature over the Plains and Midwest but will still pack enough energy and moisture to bring up to a foot of snow over part of the central Appalachians later Sunday into Sunday night.
The west to east band of snow is scheduled to reach part of the I-95 corridor from Richmond, Va., to Trenton, N.J., Sunday evening.
At this time areas from Richmond to Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Wilmington, Del., Philadelphia and Trenton are not likely to get a blockbuster snowstorm. However, there is the potential for a manageable snowfall.
Much of the storm's snowfall in the mid-Atlantic states is likely to be bounded by I-80 in the north and I-64 in the south. Travelers within this swath should be prepared for road conditions ranging from wet to slushy and snowcovered spanning late Sunday into Sunday night.
There is a possibility that greater snowfall will occur along the I-95 mid-Atlantic than shown here, if the storm redevelops quickly just off the coast Monday morning.
The storm's wintry effects could linger into Monday, possibly causing delays for the morning commute, schools and flights out of the major hubs and smaller connecting airports.
A snowfall of 3 to 6 inches from Washington to Philadelphia would easily be the biggest snowstorm of the season (a season which has been very lean with snow thus far). However, for many folks over the central Appalachians, snowfall has been plentiful this season. Many hardy New Englanders have reached their tipping point as far as this winter and its snow have been concerned.
Arguments for Snow
Indications show there will not be a strong flow of warm air off the ocean this time. The air will be plenty cold enough as the storm arrives and swings by to support more snow and little or no rain. This time, the bulk of the storm would occur at night into the first thing in the morning and would mean minimal influence from the March sun. The storm is also taking a different track than most from this winter: west to east rather than up the Atlantic coast. This favors the idea that cold air will hold its ground.
A significant complicating factor is the storm will redevelop just off the mid-Atlantic coast Monday morning. How quickly this happens will determine whether or not heavier snow falls during that time or extends the duration of the storm for several more hours along the mid-Atlantic coast.
A rapidly redeveloping storm could fling more snow into southern New England, New York City and Long Island, for example.
Arguments Against Snow
The west to east setup with this storm also implies an abrupt northern edge of the snow. A few miles distance could mean the difference between dry weather or non-accumulating snow and a few inches with slushy travel.
This northern edge is likely to occur somewhere over northern Pennsylvania, northern New Jersey, the South Coast of New England, Long Island and the New York City metro area.
There also is a chance that a transfer of energy from the Midwest storm to the Atlantic storm could leave another "snow ripoff zone" in the middle somewhere from northern Virginia to eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
The details on the storm and its evolution in the East will unfold over the weekend with new and updated stories, maps and expert videos on AccuWeather.com.
In the wake of the storm, no rapid warmup is forecast. Instead, temperatures will tend to average below normal most days into the first part of April from the Midwest to much of the Atlantic coast.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was written by Alex Sosnowski, expert senior meteorologist for AccuWeather.com.