Joe Lundberg

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Tracking Next Week's Storm

March 1, 2013; 10:49 AM ET

Friday, 11:30 A.M.

I'm going to zero in on the one storm that is already setting the blogosphere on fire, something I've been keeping an eye on for the better part of the past week as it concerns some of our private energy clients. The storm has the potential to turn into a significant East Coast storm, and before you think it can't happen, all we have to do is turn back the clock 20 years to March of 1993. Remember the Super Storm of '93? Snow deep into the South and Southeast, severe thunderstorms, high winds, heavy rain and heavy snow, the whole enchilada!

Where is this storm right now? In the North Pacific.

It's not the feature along the Alaskan coast, nor the one off the coast of British Columbia, but the one farther southwest, well south of Kodiak Island. It's not a very impressive looking feature right now.

Here's another view of it:

Note the large plume of moisture streaming from north of the Hawaiian islands toward the Olympic Peninsula of Washington and Vancouver. It's produced a fair amount of rain over the past 24 hours, and there's plenty more to come in the next 24 until that trough can move in from the North Pacific and send a cold front through to slowly but surely turn the spigots off. And that it will do with time. Here's the latest NAM surface forecast for tomorrow evening:

Look ahead to Sunday afternoon. Here's the 6z GFS model 500mb forecast:

By late Sunday, low pressure will be reorganizing east of the northern Rockies, and there will some snow stretching from Montana into North Dakota, while at the same time it'll feel like spring farther south over parts of South Dakota and especially Nebraska, western Kansas and eastern Colorado with highs in the 50s or better.

The latest NAM forecast tracks this low almost due east into Minnesota by Monday evening:

The problem with what lies ahead is what is downstream. Note the presence of the old upper-level low still off the coast of Nova Scotia Tuesday morning on the GFS ensembles:

If you follow the operational GFS, it appears to hang onto that trough long enough to force the storm to the Carolina coast, and then offshore to the east, not north. The European and Canadian models, however, suggest that the upper-level trough ahead of it is largely out of the way, giving the storm room to rapidly deepen over the Gulf Stream, slow down, and hook to the left, or north. In that scenario, much of the mid-Atlantic and into New England would be at risk for a significant snow storm with a lot of wind.

The very latest GFS (12z) now has the storm off the mid-Atlantic coast Wednesday nigh, with heavy precipitation (probably snow over the interior):

It is a very volatile storm, one that has some significant differences from the one that clobbered New England less than a month ago, but one that has high potential. We'll be tracking it through the weekend, and be sure to check in with AccuWeather.com for the latest thinking on the storm!

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

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About This Blog

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