Wednesday, January 28, 2004


It looks like the pattern we just saw with the Mid-Winter 1-2-3 punch may repeat itself next week. Oh I know you are just thrilled to pieces. Here is the first call…This forecast is valid for all locations from BAL to PHL.

FRI-SUN: Just light snow to give you a Happy Friday on 1/30. A little heavier in the afternoon, maybe 1" at the absolute most. No early dismissal. Behind that cold air filters back in, return flow on the high pressure that settles in over the weekend will recharge moisture from the Gulf, as a new system dropping down from the Rockies encounters that moisture. It may take a while for this storm to take shape since the high it is running into will be strong at first, which tends to slow down these storms. This weekend it will be cold, cold, cold everywhere. In BAL, highs on Saturday not breaking 30, Sunday just around freezing. Colder in PHL. At least it will be sunny.

By MONDAY, a low will be moving up the Tennessee/Ohio Valley. Some computer models show cold air holding in place over the northeast, others show it departing. But either way, a warm push of air will be moving in at upper levels, so all this may start as rain, sleet and freezing rain AGAIN. The onset of this looks to be Monday night… which means the precip could start as something frozen, but as things warm up on Tuesday… it will probably change to rain. This is a pattern similar to what we just say… the first low moves sort of through the Tennessee Valley.. but due to the blocking high in Canada, it cannot “cut up through the Lakes” as the last storm did. That means it will get closer to us, bringing (sadly) the warm air closer to us. And yes, Virginia, there is a chance this storm will move slow, with multiple lows taking their good old sweet molasses in January time to roll up the Tennessee Valley and then to the coast.

TUESDAY: Precip starts frozen overnight Mon, and it is all in the timing. I think it will change to rain early to mid morning, rain for the day, and then as the second storm slowly takes shape and draws in colder air, it will change back to snow Tuesday night. That’s when the any snow will occur. How much? Too early to say. Overall this will be a wetter storm, with less snow and more rain and ice. How about some estimates based on computer model analysis of available moisture with this storm… 3 inches? Likely. 6 inches? Possible. 9 inches? Not impossible but not likely. Remember the minimum amount to close school in Baltimore area schools is usually about 4 inches occurring from late evening to early morning. The problem with this one is that it will START as rain and change to snow. Central PA folk will get mostly snow as usual…3-6” is likely the minimum for you. PHL NWS is already jumping on the rainstorm bandwagon while the surrounding offices (RIC, BAL, etc) are hanging back with a wait and see.

WEDNESDAY: Snow/ice ends, gets cool again. Clearing skies.

THU-FRI: Cold returns as a new storm begin to develop on the heels of the Tuesday storm. This will be your last shot for a while of a traditional big-time Nor’easter that dumps snow and more snow…an I-95 special if you will. This one has the potential to bring 4 or more inches to the DC-PHL corridor.

What about school?

THURSDAY: Many schools will likely have a 2-hour delay. I think BCPS will, but Howard County will not. I’m preparing to go a full day just in case. Already on the list is:
Anne Arundel, Charles, Calvert and several others have already announced a 2-hour delay. As Anne Arundel or Harford goes, so goes the rest of the area.

FRIDAY: Though it looks dicey, I think we will all squeeze in a full day despite light snow in the late morning through the afternoon. The storm is overall lacking in moisture.

MONDAY: No problems. Open all day.

TUESDAY: This is where it gets iffy… history shows us that districts will close on the knowledge that conditions will worsen with an approaching storm. Again, it is all in the timing..if the precip arrives Monday night and the cold lingers longer, we (BAL area) could start with a 2-hour delay and go from there. Whatever is falling will change to snow or sleet on the backside Tuesday night, Colder air returns behind the storm, potentially freezing what is on the ground.

WEDNESDAY: This is the only day I think is at risk for closing. Too many cold scenarios setting up that can wreak havoc with morning traffic.

OH… you want more juicy details on what lies ahead, do you?

Well, we will have to wait until next week before I give a preliminary on the “next, next big storm.”

It’s been a nice, relaxing 3 days off for those of us in Baltimore area schools.
For all the drivers out there, I am sorry you have to deal with it all. Be a teacher instead!

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