2-4 inches of snow — or rain or a mix — headed to the mid-Atlantic

Higher accumulations expected to the north

February 15, 2010|By From Baltimore Sun staff

This much seems unavoidable: The Alberta clipper steaming across the plains states will bring the Mid-Atlantic states more snow today and Tuesday. What remains unclear is just how much snow the region can expect from the fourth winter storm of the month.

The National Weather Service released a forecast midday Sunday predicting 2 inches to 4 inches in the Baltimore area, beginning as a rainy mixture early tonight before turning to all snow and trailing off Tuesday morning. The chance of precipitation, the weather service said, was 90 percent.

AccuWeather.com, meanwhile, predicted that most of the storm's snow would fall to the north, and that the snow/rain band would be close enough to Baltimore, Washington and Philadelphia that the three cities battered by snowstorms earlier this month would see only about an inch of snow by Tuesday.

"Late this past week, it was looking like these cities had a shot at picking up more substantial snowfall from this next storm," the Web site reported Sunday.

"However, it now appears the storm will take a track farther north through the Mid-Atlantic, bringing milder air into these cities and allowing rain to mix in with the snow."

Baltimore County physical sciences teacher Rich Foot and his student forecasters found merit in both scenarios Sunday but also reported a third: A stalled storm that could deposit six or more inches of snow across the Interstate-95 corridor by Tuesday. At 4 p.m. Sunday the group reported that the storm's situation was changing, "and not for the better."

The chief worry is that once it reaches the Atlantic, the Clipper will intensify and draw both energy and moisture from the Atlantic, sweeping that back ashore, producing more snow.

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