Monday, 11:55 A.M.
What a wonderful finish to last week and weekend! The much-anticipated break in the cold, wintry weather pattern was welcomed by a vast majority of people, and the snow piles clearly took a big hit. The most recent snow cover analysis:
On a personal tour down to northern Virginia on Saturday to escape the snow fields and all of the snow melt (and strong winds) of central Pennsylvania to ride the Washington and Old Dominion Trail, virtually all of the snow was erased south of the Mason-Dixon Line, with just little patches here and there. And, as you can see from the image above, the snow cover line has clearly been peeled back across the Ohio Valley. For all practical purposes, what remains is what you would typically expect to see in late February. What does remain, especially from southern New England through Pennsylvania and out into the northern Ohio Valley, is not your average snow. Instead, its probably as much ice as it is snow, and with the freeze-thaw cycle in play, it will be that much harder to get rid of what remains in the coming cold pattern despite sunshine and a higher sun angle.
The cold air is just moving into the East today, so the cooling will be more entrenched by tomorrow. If you start the clock running with tomorrow, and go for a week, the cold will be overwhelming for most of the country from the interior Northwest and northern Rockies to the Northeast. And the cold farther south, while not nearly as intense, will still be noteworthy. Look at the 6z GFS ensemble seven-day means:
That is a HUGE area with temperatures being forecast at more than 20 degrees below average - not just for a day, but for an entire WEEK. And much of that area has already had a very cold February, averaging anywhere from 6 to as much as 12 degrees below normal for the first three-plus weeks of the month.
So, we know the cold is moving into place, and its staying for a while. A long while. I know the snow geese are ecstatic over this, as typically the cold leads to snow. But is that the case here? We have been talking about a storm for the middle of this week, and that's still on the table. The problem is the storm won't really get its act together until it is well south and east of Cape Cod. And that means the snow will be sparse when you get right down to it. In fact, you could make a strong argument that the upper level disturbance coming out of the northern Plains into the middle and upper Mississippi Valley this afternoon and early tonight could wind up generating as much snow in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast as the bigger system that follows. And in both cases, it won't be much. Look at the48-hour QPF forecasts of the NAM through Wednesday evening:
The GFS is a a little different, with a bit more in the mid-Atlantic with the trailing feature:
Really, live downwind of the Great Lakes if you want snow this week. There should be plenty!
Another weak and moisture-starved storm will roll through the Lakes Wednesday night, producing a little fluffy snow, and a little snow in parts of New York and New England on Thursday. More lake-effect snows will follow. This will be followed by another feature to start the weekend that may have a bit more moisture to work with, but even that one shouldn't be scary. And that's why the week as a whole is forecast to be so dry:
The next storm of any concern will probably be next Monday and Tuesday. There won't be a worry about arctic air, so maybe a storm coming out of the southern Plains will be able to gather more Gulf moisture as it moves eastward.
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