11AM UPDATE: Based on some recent modeling guidance, the intrusion of warmer and drier air in the afternoon and evening of Wednesday is possible due a dry slot. What is uncertain is how far to the north and west this dry slot will advance. Based on our forecast below, we do not think the dry slot will affect how this storm impacts our area, but we'll continue to follow new guidance as it comes out today and will release a final forecast update by 8pm this evening.
We're tracking what will likely become the most significant snowstorm of the winter season on the way midweek. This storm, named Winter Storm Quinn, will be a classic nor'easter, developing over the DelMarVa, tracking through the very favorable 40/70 Benchmark (shown on map below), then into the Canadian Maritimes. This classic track is favorable for a high-impact snowstorm up and down the I-95 corridor from the Baltimore/Philadelphia area up through the Canadian border in Maine.
Winter Storm Warning in effect from 10pm Tuesday through 4am Thursday
Start of snow: Between 11pm Tuesday and 2am Wednesday
Peak intensity: 12pm Wednesday through 9pm Wednesday
End of snow: Between 1am and 5am Thursday
Tuesday night: Lows in upper 20s/low to mid 30s
Wednesday: Highs in the mid 30s coast, low 30s inland
Wednesday night: Lows in the low to mid 30s
Tuesday night: Up to 20-25 mph
Wednesday: Up to 40-50 mph (blizzard conditions possible Wednesday PM and evening)
Wednesday night: Up to 25-30 mph
Confidence: Low to Moderate
Coast: 6-12 inches (rain/mixing concerns early)
Inland: 10-14 inches (all/mostly snow)
Heavy snow to impact travel Wednesday into the overnight
Wind gusts up to 50 mph will lead to isolated to scattered power outages
Blizzard conditions possible
This storm is actually one of the easier storms to forecast this winter because there is a good deal of model agreement and there aren't as many complications to the forecast. This will be a classic nor'easter with snow, some wind, and minor coastal flooding expected for all the area Tuesday night through Wednesday night.
One of the ingredients you need for a snowstorm is moisture. That will be present as a plume of moisture works into the New England coastline all the way from the Gulf of Mexico.
You also need cold air. This is a question mark. There will be more cold air during the days leading up to this storm, so that will keep the ground closer to freezing compared to Friday's nor'easter. Temperatures will be marginal during this event, ranging from the low to mid 30s, but another big difference is that snow is expected to fall the whole time and much of it will be heavy. The heavier the snow, the easier it is for the snow to accumulate and overcome the sub-par temperatures. Temperatures will be well below freezing through most of the atmospheric profile until you get to the ground. Therefore, even with slightly above-freezing temperatures, there will still be snow falling.
One last ingredient you need for heavy snow to fall is lift. This will be another dynamic storm that will likely provide significant lift in our atmosphere, and that lift is expected to set up in and around our area. The best lift is typically found just outside of the mid-level low pressure associated with coastal storms like this one. Based on all the model guidance, it is expected this low pressure closes up just off the New York City coast, so we should be in a prime location for that heavy snow and potentially large snowflakes. This lift may even allow for thundersnow! You can see what that looks like on the NAM model (North American Model) below. Based on when the best lift will be present, the greatest chance for heavy snow will be Wednesday afternoon and evening.
Now let's talk about the specific forecast and how you will be directly impacted because I'm sure you want to know about that. Snow will begin in the form of light showers Tuesday night after midnight. Some rain showers may be mixed in as well, especially at the coast. It's not until the late-morning, between 8am and noon, when the main event begins as our coastal low develops off from the DelMarVa coast and tracks toward that 40/70 Benchmark. Snow is expected to fall all day long Wednesday, so schools will likely be canceled, but the heaviest of snow will be during the afternoon and evening. There is the concern for mixing or even some rain at the start of the day Wednesday at the coast, so if that's the case, then coastal schools may issue an early dismissal instead. Overall, however, most schools will cancel classes.
Winds will also pick up and increase, peaking in the afternoon and evening with gusts up to 40-50 mph. Not only are blizzard conditions possible, especially at the coast, but additional power outages as well. The trees from last week's nor'easter took a hammering and many have become compromised and are leaning. With the added force of more wind and wet snow, that could be enough to cause the downing of more trees, even with the relatively lighter winds. Now we're not going to be talking about another widespread power outage event, but isolated to scattered
outages can be expected.
Those winds will also keep the water levels higher than normal. The coast has been dealing with at least minor flooding since Thursday night from the first nor'easter, and the minor flooding will continue through this Thursday due to this next nor'easter. Thankfully, it won't be too significant -- only the prone areas will deal with some flooding.
As we get into Wednesday night, the snow will likely continue through the early-morning hours of Thursday, then it will taper off and will come to a complete end by the time you wake up. The damage will be done, and over a foot of snow is possible, especially away from the coast. At the coast, the forecast is most uncertain because the exact track of this low is still to be determined. If warmer air wins out for a longer period of time, then only around half a foot may fall at the immediate coast. Based on most data, however, we think snowfall will top off at 10-14 inches at the coast for most locations. Because of the significant snowfall expected, school delays and even cancelations are expected. Our snowfall forecast may change, but here's what we're thinking at this time:
I decided to briefly discuss the impacts on travel with this storm because I get a lot of questions when storms like these arise. If you are planning on flying, delays are not expected Tuesday evening or Tuesday night. You may be able to sneak in a flight Wednesday morning, but delays are possible as the snow begins. It's not until the afternoon and evening when travel on both the roads and at the airports will be horrendous. Major delays are likely and many cancelations can be expected. By Thursday morning, roads will still not be great, especially the secondary and tertiary roads. In terms of flying, delays are still possible in the morning before the airports return back to normal as the day progresses.
Stay with Jackson's Weather for the latest updates on this storm. Also follow us on Twitter or view our feed below as we track the newest developments with Quinn.