Joe Lundberg

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A Long End Game to the Eastern Storm

March 6, 2013; 10:33 AM ET

Wednesday, 12:15 p.m.

So far, this storm has performed rather well in terms of snowfall amounts. Have the forecasts been perfect? Hardly. But the general idea of a southeastward, then eastward-oriented band of heavy snows starting in the Dakotas and heading into northern Illinois has worked out, and over the past 24 hours, that snow has spread across parts of the Ohio Valley into southwestern and south-central Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia.

Some of the heaviest snows have been in northern and eastern West Virginia over into western Virginia, with multiple reports of over a foot of snow. The snow is a heavy, wet snow, too, resulting in some downed trees and scattered power outages. Farther east, the snow has had a tough time turning over along the I-95 corridor and especially points east, as the boundary layer temperatures have remained just warm enough thanks to the influence of the Atlantic Ocean. The storm is now moving off the Virginia capes and is deepening, but to there there's an upper-level ridge of high pressure building. That translates to a slow eastward propagation of the storm because of weak steering winds:

This will allow moisture to continue expanding across southern and eastern New England through tomorrow and into tomorrow night.

At the same time, another upper-level feature will come down through the eastern Great Lakes and more or less will be entrained into the western part of the circulation of this storm, resulting in a breakout of more precipitation in central and eastern sections of New York state down into eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey late tomorrow and tomorrow night into Friday morning. This means that these areas, largely out of the main storm's snow (and rain) shield, will still get a few crumbs on the back side of the storm. Up to a few inches can accumulate in the higher ground of upstate New York into the hills of northwestern New Jersey and northeastern Pennsylvania.

Finally, by Friday evening, it's all over. And with it, the end of the arctic air, at least for a while. Look at the projected 850mb temperatures Saturday morning in the Northeast:

After a clear, cold morning Saturday morning, temperatures will finally recover to more typical second week of March levels, if not beyond, especially where it will be sunny. And as mild as it becomes Saturday, it will become even more so on Sunday, especially in and west of the Appalachians! It will seem almost like Phil may have been right after all, an 'early' spring!

However, another storm will come out of the Plains later this weekend. It is likely to spark severe thunderstorms starting Sunday from Texas northeastward into Arkansas and Missouri, and those strong thunderstorms are likely to impact the Ohio and Tennessee valleys on Monday, and head eastward in some fashion Monday night and Tuesday. Behind that storm and its attendant cold front, chillier air will follow, though more for the Upper Midwest, the Great Lakes and the Northeast, with less of an impact for the southern Plains and Deep South into the Southeast later next week. And with downstream blocking strengthening again at the middle of the month, chances are we have NOT seen the last of the snow and cold.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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Joe Lundberg
Joe Lundberg, a veteran AccuWeather.com forecaster and meteorologist, covers both short and long-term U.S. weather on this blog.