Wednesday, 11:55 a.m.
The first impulse of nasty weather moved through the South and Southeast yesterday, dumping 3 to 7 inches of snow on the Cape - as in Cape Hatteras, along with up to an inch of sleet on parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas. Now the 'real' storm is forming south of Pensacola, Fla., and it has already produced a lot of freezing rain and sleet in portions of northern Alabama and North Georgia into parts of South Carolina. As the storm slowly gets better organized and stronger this afternoon and heads for the Southeast coast tonight, the north to northeast winds are pulling a deeper cold southward, enough that most of the precipitation in central and northwestern South Carolina is now in the form of snow, some of it coming down quite hard.
That snow is now spreading into North Carolina, and as the afternoon progresses, the snow will break out across Virginia and southern West Virginia. In most of Virginia, it won't waste time getting down to business, either! By tomorrow morning, the low center will be nearing Cape Hatteras, and the precipitation shield will have expanded all the way into southwestern New England and the lower Hudson Valley, The leading edge of it will all be in the form of snow, as the frigid arctic air in place in the East won't magically give up ground willingly.
The deepening storm looks to hug, or, at the very least parallel, the coast as it travels north-northeastward tomorrow and tomorrow night, deepening along the way. The bulk of the precipitation will stay east of the spine of the Appalachians, but some of it will spill over to the western slopes later tonight and tomorrow. Still, this will be a major snowstorm for a high percentage of the East all the way down to northeastern Georgia and the Carolinas. Here's the latest snowfall accumulation for the storm from AccuWeather.com:
Pretty much all locations from the Maine coast through all of southeastern New England, including all of Rhode Island and much of Connecticut, will see a change from snow to at least sleet and freezing rain. In many cases, it will go over to all rain. That changeover line will get just beyond Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, as well as Philadelphia and New York City. While accumulations in those cities will be cut because of this changeover, there will still be an initial burst of snow that will make for a travelers' nightmare late tonight and early tomorrow.
Where it is all snow, which is from portions of South Carolina through central and western North Carolina, central and western Virginia, central and western Maryland and much of southern and eastern Pennsylvania, it will be a crippling snowstorm, with more than a foot likely to fall in the core that area. The same is true across the Northwest Hills of Connecticut up into the Berkshires and portions of Vermont, much of New Hampshire and a good percentage of Maine.
After that, winter is over, right??!!
No, there will be a couple of vigorous upper-level disturbances that will follow this storm. The first will split into two pieces, with the main low heading into the upper Great Lakes tomorrow night and Friday, while an area of snow will move out of the Dakotas and across the mid-Mississippi Valley toward Kentucky and Tennessee. Several inches of snow may fall in the heart of this zone, but that's going to be in a narrow region, with most places only getting an inch or two. Believe it or not, it is likely to snow again in Virginia and the Carolinas Friday night with this trough swinging through, though the amounts will be much lighter - again, generally an inch or two.
As the trough moves off the East coast Saturday morning, another storm will blow up out over the Atlantic. It could graze southern and eastern New England with snow for a time Saturday, but the main impact of this whole system is to draw another shot of arctic air southeastward from the northern Plains and Midwest to the East Coast for the weekend.
That will set the stage for still another upper-level disturbance to come flying over the top of the upper-level ridge over the interior West. As it tries to pull warmer air out of the Rockies and onto the Plains, it will run into the arctic air and cause snow to break out Saturday in the Dakotas, a snow that will then streak southeastward across Iowa toward northern and central Illinois into Indiana Saturday afternoon. The snow will then move across the central Appalachians Saturday night and tend to fizzle coming through the mid-Atlantic Sunday.
After that, a large surface high settle into the East Monday morning, meaning another very cold morning. Then the air mass will begin to moderate as the next storm is likely to head for the northern Great Lakes and pull milder air into the Ohio Valley and then the East. The real warmup, though, will wait until the second half of next week. Then we'll start to see the massive snow piles shrink!
The countdown to spring is underway, but there's going to be plenty of cold and snow in the days ahead from the Dakotas to the mid-Atlantic and New England.
The polar vortex will roll south-southeastward over the next three days, descending upon the Great Lakes and Northeast this weekend with the coldest air mass of the winter season.
A wave of low pressure will clip the mid-Atlantic coast late tomorrow and tomorrow night, possibly resulting in some snow. A stronger storm could bring snow to parts of the East next week.
A deepening storm coming out of the Rockies and head for the Great Lakes will dump heavy snow from Colorado to Wisconsin and Minnesota, while springlike warmth will fuel severe thunderstorms from the Ohio Valley to the Gulf Coast.
Despite the historical snowfall from the Blizzard of 2016, a warm surge later this weekend and early next week will wipe out most of the snow that fell during the storm.
A major nor'easter will bring heavy, wind-blown snow through the mid-Atlantic region later Friday through Saturday, sparing much of New England of its fury.