|Images courtesy of TropicalTidbits|
Above are two forecast images from TropicalTidbits, showing the forecasted sea level pressure and precipitation in mm/hour. The top image is valid on the morning hours of January 30th, with the bottom image valid the evening of January 30th. The synopsis involves a storm system cutting along the the Midwest from the Plains and into the Ohio Valley and eventually the Northeast. Throughout this process, strengthening appears to be the key word of this system, as it eventually drops to 982 millibars off the coast of New England. If you look really closely, you can make out a blue dashed line with the number '540' on the line. This is the rain snow line; any precipitation north of the line is snow, and any precipitation south is rain. Using that as our guide, the GFS calls for possibly upwards of 1 foot of snow in parts of the Midwest, with possibly amounts nearing 10 inches in portions of the Northeast. If only this were a trustful forecast. Alas, beyond 5 days out the GFS model is biased towards making storms too strong and temperatures too cold, giving many the long range forecast of over a foot of snow, only to find rain and warmer temperatures when the forecast verifies- and that's even if the storm happens!
Either way, I will provide updates on this storm as the date draws closer, but for now, don't get too hung up on the forecast.