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On the edge of the storm...

Jason Samenow @ 1:42 AM

Don't be surprised to see some snow this afternoon, but also don't be shocked if you don't see a flake. That's the take away message from this post.

As advertised in previous posts, the storm in the Gulf of Mexico has formed, snowed on Corpus Christi, Texas and New Orleans, Louisiana and now has its sight set on the East Coast. In fact, it's already snowing in parts of the Carolinas.

The operational models have consistently underestimated the strength of this storm as well as the extent of the precipitation. So even though they indicate little or no precipitation for our area - their performance to date does not inspire confidence.

When the models aren't working well, sometimes the best thing to do is look out the window, (and/) or see what's happening on the radar and satellite. The precip does seem to be heavier and bit further north and west than the models indicate. So there's a decent possibility the DC area will get clipped by some light snow or flurries this afternoon. However, the overall movement of clouds/precip has enough of a eastward component that I think the models are right to forecast the heaviest amounts of precipitation well east of Washington. Generally speaking, the overall pattern does NOT support a major snowstorm for I-95 and points west.

Snowfall probabilities, Dec 26, 2005 for Washington, DCThe image to the right shows my probabilistic snowfall forecast for DC (city and close-in suburbs). Here are the main points:
  • There is a 50% chance of no accumulating snow, and this is the most likely scenario. The second most likely scenario is 1" of snow, for which there is a 20% chance. Take these together and you can see that I believe there is a 70% of 1 inch or less.
  • There is just a 30% chance of more than 1" of snow.
  • There is a 10% chance of more than 6" of snow.
Finally, I give you a snowfall forecast map (below), which presents my forecast (deterministic) of the most likely snowfall amounts across our region.

Overall storm assessment:
Storm Impact:
Schoolcast: Not applicable

Please comment if it's snowing where you are. I will update this page if conditions warrant.

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