Sunday January 31 at 5 PM

After what many have deemed a slow start this morning, snow has evolved and expanded this afternoon. It may have seemed light, but most areas should hit the expected snow for today (3″+) before any change over.

At 5 PM The National Weather Service Snow Report:

  • Baltimore at BWI = 2.3″ (almost doubling our seasonal total)
  • Washington (National) = 1.7″
  • Washington (Dulles) = 2.2″

This is a long duration 2-part event.  That means it is spread out, then will come to an end on Tuesday.  There is more to go.  This evening there will be a change over to sleet moving north. Large flakes possible before the sleet and freezing rain.  Then we return with the coastal storm on Monday.

We are still under a Winter Storm Warning, but there could be a few hours or more where it seems like not much is happening.

I want to address  the analysis this afternoon, change over this evening, and Part 2 snow with the Coastal Low Monday.

At the bottom, I have an explanation for the Snowflake Sprinkles this morning,


Please recall my forecast breakdown:

  • Today = Part 1: Snow 3 to 6 inches by evening.
  • Tonight: Mixing and lull.
  • Monday is Part 2: Snow returns mid day and afternoon. May be heavy at times with stronger winds. Additional Accumulation.
  • Tuesday: Snow showers end as the storm moves away.   

THEN We measure the FINAL TOTAL


I will post my call for snowfall map again with the new model snow maps below.



Afternoon Set Up

Doppler Radar

Snow has appeared to fill in the bands and intensify this afternoon.   The energy has come in waves with bands of heavy snow, and lulls in between.

But the sleet and freezing rain is advancing north, as expected. At 5 PM this had reached south of Washington at the Pentagon and southern Maryland.

Note: Flakes may appear to grow larger right before the change to sleet. That is due to warmer air at cloud level partially melting the edges of flakes, and then they stick together to come down in clumps.

A ‘thump’ of snow is possible for a quick additional inch before a change in your area around the Bay.

January 31 weather storm doppler radar snow 5 PM



The Freezing Line has reached Easton and southern Maryland. Upper 20s seems to be holding tight around metro Baltimore, central Maryland, and into the mountains/southern PA.

January 31 weather storm temperatures 5 PM


Mesoscale Surface Map

The Primary Surface Low has been passing through southern Ohio.  As it gets closer and compresses up agains the Cold Dome in New England, there has been more lift in the atmosphere to enhance the snowfall.

This is also allowing the warmer air from the south to move north up the Bay.

January 31 weather storm Mesoscale Analysis Sunday Evening



Mesoscale Cloud Level

850mb to 700mb Map (around 3,000 Ft)

This is called Frontotgenesis, where we can see developing boundaries at cloud level.

January 31 weather storm upper air Sunday Evening



Evening: Mixing From Snow To Sleet And Rain

NAM 3 Km 

Around 8 PM (wiggle room of 2 hours) the mixing should be spreading through Washington and Baltimore. At that time Annapolis should be rain, with snow lingering in the far northern suburbs.

By this point most of the region should have reached or be close to the Part 1 snow total of 3”+

January 31 weather storm Sunday Evening 8 PM

By 11 PM we can see the snow line retreating north of Frederick to the Pennsylvania line.

January 31 weather storm Sunday Evening 11 PM



Monday Morning

The tough part of this is forecasting a storm that has not formed yet. That is what tomorrow is all about.

  • This will be in the ‘Lull’ as the Coastal Storm takes over.
  • A light mix or even a few dry hours may appear as if the storm is over.
  • We will watch for that coastal Low to intensity and pull back closer to the coast.

January 31 weather storm Monday morning



Afternoon and Evening Snow Returns

I expect the snow to return between 10 AM and 4 PM

Why such a large window? Because we are talking about a storm that has not formed yet, not knowing exactly where it will be.  A wobble of 50 to 100 miles can make a big difference in the arrival and intensity.

We will get snow and strong winds, but the models do differ.


January 31 weather storm Monday Afternoon ECMWF


GFS Model

January 31 weather storm Monday Afternoon GFS


Canadian GEM Model

This model has been the outlier.  Here it brings the Low closest to the coast, but pushes the heaviest snow north of Philadelphia. At that time it keeps the warmer air and icy mix here a little longer.  Then changing over by evening.

Just because this model shows it, doesn’t mean it will happen.  I simply want to compare all the options.

January 31 weather storm Monday Afternoon 4 PM Canadian


Evening: Moderate to heavy snow reaches I-95. But mixing takes longer too return to snow on the bay. It will turn to all snow overnight before ending.

January 31 weather storm Monday Afternoon 7 PM Canadian



How Much Snow:

I know some of you have seen the models or other bloggers talking about the shift of the heavy snow northeast. I am not worried about that.  I have stayed with my snow forecast and it remains.  Even a pull back of snow on the models, still fits in with my consistent forecast.  Compare here:

My Forecast

Still The Same. We have mostly reached the 3″ I expected to this point.

January 30 snowfall my call


European Model

This still fits with my forecast…

January 31 storm new snow total ECMWF


GFS Model

This still fits with my forecast…

January 31 storm new snow total GFS



Canadian Model

(This was always the highest and I felt too high) That bullseye shifted to The Poconos.


January 31 storm new snow total Canadian



Winter Storm Warning Through Tuesday Morning
Winter Storm Warning January 31 to February 2

My Forecast Timeline Highlight List

Sunday Morning:

  • First flakes will arrive between 6 AM and 11 AM. This may rain into dry air, and appear on radar for a few hours before reaching the ground (virga).
  • Flakes will be light and powdery at the start.

Sunday Afternoon:

  • Moderate to Heavy snow. Much of the region will get 3 to 6 inches by sunset.
  • Flakes get heavier/wetter and more slushy before the mixing.

Sunday Evening:

  • Rain begins to advance north up the Bay.
  • Cities will mix with sleet and freezing rain between 6 PM and midnight.
  • Still snow on norther counties.

Sunday Night- Monday Morning

  • Lull in the action as the coast Low takes over.
  • Light mix or rain for cities.
  • Mix or light snow north.


Monday Afternoon/Evening:

  • Snow Returns.

Monday Night:

  • Snow will be heavy at times. This may be the peak of the storm!
  • Flakes gradually turn lighter/dryer due to colder air aloft.
  • Winds may gust to 35 mph overnight, making for near blizzard conditions. Midnight to Tuesday morning snow will be blowing around reducing visibility and covering over some roads faster after being treated.


  • The coastal Low will crank and be in full effect Monday night.
  • Steady winds 15 to 20 mph may gust to 35 mph. This will bring near blizzard conditions at times.



  • Snow tapers to snow showers and flurries by mid day. Blowing snow may cover treated roads.

Snowflake Sprinkles

This was the common question I was getting at the start: Why are the snowflakes like this?


My friend Katie Hancock sent these from Westminster, MD and I got many more like it. Did you see them?

She asked why these perfectly shaped snowflakes appears like this, solid.

The best I can explain is all based on the dry air aloft.   It caused the edges to sublimate, but not completely. As the atmosphere cooled, there was a flash freeze and the flakes solidified quickly.

It was like ‘Shrinky-Dinks” some of us played with as kids.  The flakes shrunk, condensed, and froze in a smaller, thick, solid form.




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