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Winter, the Sequel

Steve Scolnik @ 5:20 PM

Now that temperatures have returned to more seasonable levels, attention has turned to the possibility of more seasonable precipitation. There is still considerable uncertainty, but there is a good chance that the Washington area will see accumulating snow over the weekend.

The most likely starting time is mid day Saturday, continuing to early Sunday morning. Based on current model indications,'s snowfall probabilities are shown in the chart to the right. For more details, see the Snow Lover's Crystal ball and the rest of Josh's post below.

Chart above by, photo © Kevin Ambrose

Starting with a very innocuous-looking weather map this afternoon, the major numerical prediction models are finding the ingredients in place for a snowstorm along the East Coast this weekend. There is a large supply of cold air over eastern North America, a source of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, and upper-air energy support in the jet stream. (See Camden's Friday Feature last week for a discussion of the ingredients needed for snow in the Washington area.)

As late as last night, the two major U.S. models were in serious disagreement over the path and intensity of the storm. They are now more in agreement, but they are still not as consistent as we would like, especially in terms of the timing.

Bear in mind that except for an incipient low pressure area (1005 mb for those of you keeping score at home) in southeastern Colorado this afternoon, this storm does not yet exist. There are many things which could go wrong, although lack of cold air doesn't appear to be one of them at this time. Given that the storm will develop, it could fail to intensify as much as expected, move further east and out to sea, or be starved of moisture and not deliver as much precipitation.

The members of the team will be in full Storm Alert mode, meeting in the virtual glass-enclosed nerve center to bring you the best consensus forecast we can throughout this developing situation. Stay tuned through tomorrow and the weekend as events unfold.

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