Thursday, February 13, 2014

February 15-16 Potential Coastal Snowstorm

Yet another snow event is possible for the East Coast, with this next threat coming in the February 15-16 period.

The GFS model indicates we will see another trough develop in the Southeast, with an uncanny resemblance to the storm we are currently fighting through along the East Coast. The GFS sees this storm coming about as a result of the strong-yet-suppressed ridging in the West US, which leads to a west-northwest or northwest flow across the US, a favorable pattern for East US snow events.

The GFS model brings a 984 millibar low pressure system along the waters just off the East Coast, dropping snowfall in the eastern portions of North Carolina, Virginia, Massachusetts, Maine, and all places in between. This snapshot, valid on the evening of February 15, shows the heaviest snow staying offshore, but moderate snow still being able to impact the easternmost parts of the Northeast. As of now, accumulations for regions up to Maine look to be in the 2-5" range.

The storm system really gets going when it approaches Maine, with the MSLP for this storm clocking in at a minimum of 973 millibars. We see 6 hourly snowfall amounts in eastern Maine approaching 12", which would average out to 2 inches per hour for those 6 hours overnight from February 15 to 16. Now, heavy snowfall doesn't fall for 2 inches an hour at that steady rate- my guess is that we would see a period of intense snowfall rates (i.e. 3" an hour not unreasonable) with some lighter snow rates mixed in.

Only a slight shift west or east could flip the forecast- stay tuned for more details about this potential snowstorm.


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