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    Pattern-Changing Storm Aims for the Northeast

    By By Alex Sosnowski, expert senior meteorologist.
    January 11, 2012, 4:50:33 AM EST

    A growing storm over Texas will swing northeastward during the middle of week and is destined to bring a change in the weather pattern for part of the nation.

    A semi-permanent buckle in the jet stream will develop over eastern Canada and the northeast U.S. in the wake of the storm.

    The storm itself will bring rain to much of the mid-Atlantic and southern New England spanning later Wednesday into Thursday.

    According to Meteorologist Brian Edwards, enough rain would fall to cause flooding in poor drainage areas from Washington, D.C., to New York City and Boston, Mass.

    However, enough cold air will linger in parts of northern New England for the storm to start as snow or a wintry mix. Portions of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine can get up to few inches of snow. Slippery roads are possible from Augusta, Maine, to Rutland, Vt., for a time during Thursday.

    The storm will proceed into Atlantic Canada late in the week, but more energy and cold air will pinwheel around from the northwest.


    As this Arctic air drives southeastward, a period of accumulating snow is possible in and west of the Appalachians Thursday night into Friday. Where snow does fall and initially melt, a rapid freezeup may follow leading to dangerous and quickly deteriorating road conditions, such as along I-76, I-80, I-81, I-86 and I-90.

    While the majority of similar weather situations along I-95 usually bring just a change to dry and colder weather, gusty snow showers could accompany the frontal passage Friday.

    "Significant lake-effect snow will follow the storm Friday into the weekend," Edwards said.

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    Cold air has been in and out during much of the winter thus far in the Northeast, like low tide on the beach. The cold push coming in this weekend and those that follow may be more like the waves leading up to high tide. The waves of cold air may just keep coming, thanks to an anticipated major shift in the jet stream.


    Cold air "streaming" to set up beginning this weekend.

    More persistent cold waves would not only translate to frequent rounds of lake-effect snow, but the cold waves will also bring fast-moving storms and light to moderate snow from the Canada Prairies to the northeast U.S.

    While these may not be the big blockbuster snowstorms some people were hoping for, the clipper storms, combined with the more persistent cold, are a step in the right direction for skiing interests and snow lovers. The storms are likely to build the snow cover, little by little over much of this swath.

    Reservations have been sent out and the table has been set for the Northeast. Whether or not big snowstorms show up for dinner is out of our hands.

    According to long range expert Paul Pastelok, "Not only does the pattern of southern storms have to remain active, but it has to phase in with cold at the right time to get the 'big one' and that hasn't happened since the freak October snowstorm."

    "The earliest that could happen is the last week in January. Until then it would be nickel and dime snow for most in the Northeast," Pastelok added.

    However, even light and moderate snow events would be quite a shift for many areas.

    Unfortunately for those wanting snow and rain along the West Coast, the upcoming pattern will be a stingy one for precipitation, at least initially.

    As for the area from the northern Plains to the Ohio Valley, this region will take part in some significant shots of cold air, but pushes of warmth from the south and west will continue in between.

    This story was originally published at 12:35 p.m. EST Monday, Jan. 9, 2012.

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