Above Courtesy of WeatherTap. GOES Infrared Satellite Image valid Friday Aft'n
As the buzz continues to grow around what is expected to be the first “Blizzard of 2016” for some of the East Coast, our confidence on what we can expect has also grown in the last 24 hours. The shortwave or "energy" for the storm is now over land, generally situated over the Western United States, and will move through Texas by tomorrow morning. Once this system reaches the Mississippi River Valley tomorrow evening, it will begin to really take shape, dumping heavy rain to much of the Southeast. After the Gulf of Mexcio supplies it with plenty of moisture, it will make its turn towards the Northeast for Friday where it will meet with colder air in the mid-Atlantic. This system will have a whole host of hazardous impacts including flooding rains throughout the Carolinas, moderate to high coastal flooding for areas spanning from Long Island to Virginia Beach, wind gusts of 40-60 mph along the East Coast, and oh yes, a ton of snow!
Northwest Maryland, northern Virginia, and south-central Pennsylvania are the favored snowfall bulls-eye and where potentially historic amounts will unfold. Unfortunately, if you’re looking for a foot or more from Pittsburgh to Northeast PA, or in portions of upstate New York to Northern New England, this might not be your storm. As for the places in between, totals can range anywhere from 2-4 inches up to 12-18 inches. Why? It isn't because we don’t know whether it will or will not snow. Instead, we always say that a shift 50-80 miles in track can make a big change in terms of the rain/snow line set up and where the strongest bands will hit. In this instance, 60-80 miles in this storm will likely be the difference between single digits totals and near 2 feet.
For the areas which do find themselves in the hardest hit regions for this storm (mainly in the mid - Atlantic), those totals of 20-30+ inches are certainly still on the table with blizzard conditions possible so monitor this situation closely in the coming days. As usual, confidence will continue to grow as we close in on 36-48 hours from the storm and we nail down the storm track.