Storm Potential on East Coast Starting This Weekend

By , Senior Meteorologist
February 20, 2013; 7:42 PM ET
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Play video AccuWeather Expert Senior Meteorologist Bernie Rayno discusses the blizzard unfolding in the Plains and New England snow potential.

One or more storms maturing over the Plains have the potential to spin off new storms along the Atlantic Seaboard bringing a chance of big snow to some areas this weekend into next week.

The pattern we are entering will create an atmospheric roadblock for storms moving from the Plains and will limit warm air moving northward.

The pattern is referred to as an Omega Block by meteorologists, because steering winds high in the atmosphere, known as the jet stream take on the shape of the Greek letter Omega.

In a simple sense, the pattern allows cold air to sneak in or hold its ground more than what you might expect and could open the window of opportunity for snow along part of the Atlantic Seaboard.

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Sometimes this pattern can lead to a rain changing to snow situation as the storm strengthens and draws in colder air. meteorologists foresee two to three attempts at storm formation along the middle part of the Atlantic coast through the end of the month with the first system this weekend.

The form (rain versus snow), coverage and intensity of the precipitation from the storms at the local level are uncertain at this time.

The storms have not been birthed yet and are still days away. The question is not so much will they form, but how close to the coast will they track and how strong will they become.

However, for those desperate for snow, the short-lived pattern may offer the best chance at significant snowfall for areas from Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia and other areas in the mid-Atlantic that have seen so little this winter.

It could also mean more heavy snow for some locations that have been hammered by heavy snow in recent weeks, such as Long Island and New England. The storm coming this weekend is likely to bring heavy snow to at least part of New England and could expand its reach a bit into part of New York State and New Jersey.

The details will unfold over the next few days. The latest from meteorologists is available in: Another Weekend Storm for New England.

Interestingly, the Omega Block is already likely to give a large part of the Plains a big boost in snow and moisture Wednesday into Thursday and could end the snow drought in some areas.

For now, you can talk turkey like a weather pro around the dinner table by mentioning that an Omega Block could lead to snowstorms along the East Coast this weekend into next week.

Credit: Flickr photo of little boy shoveling snow taken by David Gutierrez


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