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Potential for Plowable-Crippling Snowfall Increases DC to NY Suburbs and Interior New England

5 Mar 2013, 11:37 am


Winter Storm Headlines

*Twin Cities digging out from 6-10″ snow, significant disruptions to Chicago travel (land and air) today with 7-10″ expected.

* Heavy snow/rain mix reaches Washington D.C. tonight, changing to mostly (heavy/wet) snow north and west of D.C. Over a foot of snow is possible from near Dulles International into Loudon County (Leesburg) into western Maryland, west of I-270 Tech Corridor. Many facilities may be in cold shut-down mode tomorrow. Over 2″ liquid water content means heightened risk of power outages.

* New York City will see wet snow late Wednesday night into Thursday, probably plowable. There’s a 1 in 3 chance of a crippling 12-16″ snowfall.

* Boston sees enough warm air off the Atlantic for mostly rain, but some 1-2 foot amounts are possible just inland.

Snowy Arc Of Trouble. The same clipper that’s dumping 6-10″ from the Twin Cities to Chicago and Indianapolis will spin up a significant coastal storm, tracking closer to the coast. Enough warm air will surge inland for mostly rain roughly east of I-95, but the farther inland you go the greater the chance of some 6-12″+ amounts Wednesday into Thursday night.

Midwest: Conditions Slowly Improve Next 24 Hours. The heaviest snow is over for the Twin Cities – today the roughest day for Chicago, with more than 8″ expected. I expect rapid improvement by Wednesday, a higher March sun angle keeping major roads mostly wet/slushy by tomorrow.Small, But Growing Risk Of A Major Dumping. Here is a high-resolution snowfall prediction; one that made me want to curl up into the fetal position. It suggests some 12-16″amounts for Washington D.C. and the New York City area, while Boston picks up mostly-rain. The odds of this solution verifying? About 1 in 3, but growing over time. I want to see more model runs today, to see if this is a model fluke, or a real trend. It’s going to snow – the question is: how much? Plowable or something closer to crippling?

Snowquestered. Washington D.C. will see a mix of rain and snow tonight, changing to mostly wet snow late tonight into Wednesday. The most likely accumulation is 4-8″, but recent model runs (up top) are hinting at some jaw-dropping numbers, as much as 14-18″. High water content may bring down tree limbs, increasing the potential for power outages, especially Northern Virginia, western Maryland and West Virginia, where some 1-2 foot amounts are likely.

New York City Numbers. The risk of at least 4-8″ of snow continues to grow, enough to shovel and plow, with the heaviest snow coming Wednesday night into Thursday; conditions slowly improving Friday. The best chance of a foot? North Jersey into Westchester and Fairfield Counties.


Minor Storm Surge. Models show a 5 foot surge in Lower Manhattan around 5 am Thursday morning, the peak of the storm. Minor lowland flooding can’t be ruled out. As a point of comparison, Sandy brought a 12-14 foot surge into New York Harbor.

Elevated Flood Risk Long Island Sound. Coastal properties and highways on Long Island and the Connecticut coastline that normally flood during major Nor’easters may see moderate flooding late Wednesday night into Thursday morning.

Summary: Our confidence level is still high that Washington D.C. will see a plowable snowfall, with potentially crippling amounts of heavy wet snow over the northern and western suburbs of D.C and Baltimore. New York City will see significant heavy wet snow, the greatest amounts north/west of Manhattan. The most likely snowfall range is 4-8″ for NYC, but there is a 1 in 3 chance of well over a foot, even for Midtown. High water content with this storm coupled with 20-35 mph. winds will increase the risk of power outages, although I don’t think we’ll see the widespread, long-lasting disruptions that came from the New England blizzard in early February. We’ll keep you posted.Paul Douglas, Senior Meteorologist

Alerts Broadcaster LLC– Minneapolis



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Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

Every day I sift through hundreds of stories, maps, graphics and meteorological web sites, trying to capture some of the most interesting weather nuggets, the stories behind the forecast. I’ll link to stories and share some of the web sites I use. I’m still passionate about the weather, have been ever since Tropical Storm Agnes flooded my home in Lancaster, PA in 1972. I’ve started 5 weather-related companies. “EarthWatch” created the world’s first 3-D weather graphics for TV stations – Steven Spielberg used our software in “Jurassic Park” and “Twister”. My last company, “Digital Cyclone”, personalized weather for cell phones. “My-Cast” was launched in 2001 and is still going strong on iPhone, Android and Blackberry. I sold DCI to Garmin in 2007 so I could focus on my latest venture: WeatherNation.

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