A storm has a chance to take a sharp enough left turn up the East Coast this weekend, perhaps affecting part of the Northeast U.S. and neighboring Canada. The storm would be part of a series of potentially major weather events through the end of February.
Part of the system that could produce a major storm along the East Coast this weekend (Feb. 16 and 17, 2013) was moving southeastward along the Rockies Thursday.
However, with the way cold air will plunge southward over the Central states this weekend may not only set up a corresponding northward storm track along the Atlantic Seaboard. It could cause the storm to strengthen rapidly as it moves up from the South.
It will be a matter of how quickly the storm strengthens to determine if heavy snow is thrown back over the Atlantic Seaboard or falls over Atlantic waters.
The early estimate of timing for the storm would be Friday night into Saturday for portions of the Appalachians and coastal mid-Atlantic then Saturday night into Sunday for New England for the maritime provinces of Canada.
The initial part of the storm, regardless of whether or not it becomes an East Coast monster, would spread a swath of snow southeastward over the Rockies and High Plains Thursday, part of the southern Plains Thursday night and the Ohio and Tennessee valleys Friday. How quickly the storm then turns the corner northward is uncertain at this time.
Even if the storm fails to erupt over U.S. soil this weekend, there are almost a half-dozen additional candidates for major winter storms reaching from the southwestern U.S. to the Midwest and the East Coast through the end of February, essentially a whole pipeline of storms.
There is more than one way to get an intense storm to form like last weekend's New England blizzard.
Unlike the recent New England blizzard, this scenario would be a singular storm that simply strengthens rapidly, rather than a scenario relying on two systems merging together. The scenario suggested this weekend is a bit more common occurrence than a merging of two systems.
The problem with a singular storm dipping to the south and turning northward is that such a setup can still bring tremendous amounts of moisture northward. Cold air feeding into the storm from the north and west would help the storm spin faster and faster, potentially bringing high wind and conditions ranging from dry and cold to a major blizzard or nor'easter.
The track of the storm will determine where the warm sector and rain will end up. Just like the heavy snow area, the rain could also work northward reaching part of the Atlantic coast.
The details on the track and intensity of storm will slowly unfold as the week progresses, as will which areas have the greatest chance of a major snow and windstorm.
There is the potential for severe weather outbreak(s) in the warm sector of the storm(s) as well.
A storm rolling out from the southern Plains at midweek will not pack the punch of storms later in the month, but could bring a quick moderate snowfall to a few locations from Oklahoma to coastal New York state and southern New England.
For those concerned about snow in the Midwest, another storm may come along during the middle of next week, perhaps taking a northeastward track west of the Appalachians, perhaps into the Great Lakes region.
This story was originally published on Mon., Feb 11, 2013, at 11:00 a.m. EST. A new story on the same subject is forthcoming Thurs., Feb. 14, 2013.
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