Thursday February 15 2018

Officially Baltimore hit 69ºF today, but there were plenty of lower 70s just inland to the west and north. Tonight we are watching some heavy rain sliding across southern Pennsylvania, which actually had some lightning farther west in the mountains. This is along a cold front that will briefly send in colder air and help develop our winter storm over the weekend.

The short version of the story is this:

  • Tonight: Rain
  • Friday: Rain with falling temperatures from morning highs
  • Saturday: Chilly with snow and a wintry mix developing during the afternoon and evening

The amount of snow has been a hot topic and I do not want to feed into the hype. While some computer models have spit out large numbers, we need to consider the warm ground and that temperatures will be near or above freezing for much of the event. So not all of the flakes that fall will lay and stay (stickage). Those that do even in the colder locations will then have heavy wet snow compact on itself.

Below is my look at the high impact areas and marginal areas from the snow.  Compare that to snowfall maps from the National Weather Service and a few computer models. I will make my first call for snowfall on Friday.

Rain Timeline Tonight Into Friday

The rain as of post time has been a little farther south than this model suggests.  That does not make much of a difference for this event, but any error or shift for the weekend snow could make a big difference.

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Falling Temperatures


Skipping To Saturday

Snow Timeline

I do not have an hourly timeline yet… nor would I trust one this far away. The basis here is that snow or a windy mix will begin during the late afternoon and evening of Saturday. We will have temperatures above freezing, so stickage should not be an issue right away. The heaviest snow (or mix) will be between 8 PM and midnight. The storm should pull away shortly after midnight and be gone by Sunday morning.

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There has been some suggestion for the snow to shift a little south, like the rain tonight. If that is the case, it will still have to deal with the marginal freezing line.

Temperatures at 1 AM Sunday

Notice the freezing temperatures line up with the normally colder Northwest Suburbs


My Best Call For The Snow Impacts

Snowfall Maps from NWS compared to a few models are below.

I still don’t trust the amount of snow falling all measuring up. There will be melting and even where the snow sticks, some will compact due to high water content.  I will post my first call for snowfall on Friday. Here is where I see the most likely impacts.


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Snowfall Forecast Maps

National Weather Service Regional Zone Maps





Snowfall Forecast: Computer Model Comparisons

The Canadian and GFS Models are similar, just a slight adjustment of the focus for the snow. I think the 1 to 3 inch range is reasonable. Yes, we can get snow busts in a late season snow, but I still need to respect the warm ground and air temperatures barely freezing in the top snow zone.



I saved the most snow for last… Because I do NOT agree with this. The NAM 3 Km tends to over play precipitation. This is one of the reasons some other forecast reports have high numbers. I prefer not to go to the high number since we tend to lock on the top number and it is hard to pull back.  The reason I am showing this is mainly for the regional perspective. Despite the top numbers in the purple shading, that is the region this model sees the top snow accumulation.

This is the model I showed above with the temperatures above. I still see flakes wasted due to melting for at least part of this event. 




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Also See:

My Winter Outlook 2017-2018 for more snow

Maryland Winters

La Nina Formed: What it could mean to our winter

NOAA Winter Outlook: Not The Best But Not The Worst For Snow

Two Farmers Almanacs Winter 2018 Outlooks

Winter Weather Folkore: Suggestions from Animals and Crops

First Frost and Freeze Dates For Maryland (southern PA and northern VA)

My Preliminary Winter Outlook Notes

Low Snow Winters In Baltimore: To Repeat Or Not Repeat

NOAA Ranks Blizzard 2016 4th Worst Snowstorm On Record

Blizzard 2016 Record Top Snowstorm: Area Totals

Extreme Weather of 2015 balanced out on both ends