Uh-oh. They're predicting more snow

Alberta Clipper headed this way might bring up to another foot by Tuesday

February 14, 2010|By Frank Roylance

This much seems unavoidable: The Alberta clipper steaming across the Plains will bring the mid-Atlantic states more snow on Monday and Tuesday.

What remains unclear is just how much to expect from the fourth winter storm of the month.

For the weather-weary, the good news is that Maryland was spared more snow and misery from the Dixie snowstorm that has been delighting children and tangling traffic across the Deep South in the past day or two. That storm continued due east, not making the familiar left turn up the coast that brings snow or wintry mixes to Maryland.

The clipper, however, seems destined for the state. More good news: These storms are much drier than the Gulf Coast storms that bring so much Gulf and Atlantic moisture.

The chief worry is that, once it reaches the Atlantic, this Clipper will intensify and draw both energy and moisture from the Atlantic, sweeping that back ashore, producing more snow. With luck, the timing of that intensification will spare the snow-battered state the worst of the storm.

The National Weather Service is not yet predicting accumulations, but said Saturday afternoon that "accumulating snow is expected to occur across the mid- Atlantic Monday and Monday night," with "likely snow ... across the Balt-Wash Metro Monday night."

AccuWeather.com said the storm "should not be a repeat of the past two [storms] that have paralyzed the mid-Atlantic," but added: "enough snow is expected to once again disrupt travel, renew concerns for roof collapses and further put a strain on snow removal budgets."

The Web site predicted that the greatest snow totals will fall just northwest of Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia, and names Frederick as falling within that zone.

Baltimore County physical sciences teacher Rich Foot and his student forecasters are predicting six inches or more by noon Tuesday across much of the I-95 corridor from Washington to Philadelphia.

"If current computer model trends continue, amounts may approach 12 inches in northern Maryland, the MD northeastern shore, Delaware and southeast PA," the forecasters write at footsforecast.org. "Snow will arrive on the Mid-Atlantic radar by noon Monday, but due to cold surface and upper level temperatures, should not reach the ground until late afternoon. We wish there were better news to warm your heart on this Olympic Valentine's weekend."

And from Eric the Red, a professional meteorologist from Baltimore:

"As it stands now, I think we should hold the line of a chance of snow Monday afternoon and Monday night, with a best guess of 3-6" ... with locally more to the north of the low center. I am beginning to think this may be a bit high, but I've always preached (and tried to practice; sorta) sticking with your gut. If the low tracks farther north, then we would get much less (1-3" maybe), and if the low passes too far south we'd be left high and dry. Again, with a much smaller (but still strong) system, the room for error is much less."

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