First Major Snowstorm for East Just Around the Corner?

December 5, 2010; 8:00 AM ET
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The weather pattern across the Eastern part of the country could soon yield the season's first major snowstorm.

According to Chief Long Range Forecaster Joe Bastardi, a major snowstorm could hit around mid-December. This may be the type of storm that brings 6-12 inches of snow and 30- to 40-mph winds to parts of the mid-Atlantic and New England.

One of the factors that supports a major snowstorm in the East is the presence of strong high pressure over Greenland. When a high is set up like this, it can act like a road block, backing up storms across the Atlantic and steering storms that are crossing the U.S. into the East Coast.

It will take just one storm to hit the East Coast to explode into a major snowstorm.

It is the blocking pattern with the high pressure system and the extent of the cold air in the East that are the key drivers for the major snowstorm concern.

A storm of the magnitude which we are concerned about could produce a swath of snow over thousands of square miles from the southern Plains to the Northeast. It's not unusual in December to have such a storm.

Fortunately, a storm occurring around mid-December will have little impact on holiday travel.

On a positive note, this storm could put down snow cover that will stick through the holidays and would give many people a white Christmas. It would also provide ski resorts a huge boost in pre-holiday skiing sales.

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