Wednesday May 6 Evening Update
The Polar Vortex is not just a winter thing, but it will bring a taste of winter to the eastern US this weekend. I know it is May and with Mother’s Day coming up this sounds crazy. Under normal circumstances I would hold off on showing you the most aggressive snow forecast. But it’s not like this will close schools or hinder travel plans.
The snow chance will be Friday night, and the attempt at record cold will be three times over the weekend. This includes possible record lows Saturday and Sunday mornings, plus a record cold max temperature Saturday afternoon .
So, why not take a look at this and even show a few snowfall forecast maps just for fun. It it might happen, we might as well have something to show for it, right?
The reason why this is even a topic is the winter pattern we expected in winter but never got. Well, the pattern I based my now erroneous snow outlook on is arriving a few months late.
The core of the cold air in the Northern Hemisphere remained locked up at the North Pole all winter. There was plenty of record snow and cold for Alaska and Greenland while we had our first snowless (debatable) February in Baltimore.
Here it is, dislodged and on the way. If you though today was chilly, reinforcements are in the way.
I backed this Jet Stream animation up to yesterday (Tuesday). Here you can see the origin region of the North Pole and track that deep blue orb (Height Anomalies) as it tracks into New England.
Closer View Saturday
It this was in January, WOW! In May that core of cold air will still have an impact along the eastern US. The core is expected in central New England Saturday afternoon, after the snow/rain event passes by. For our region the results will be a wintry mix Friday night, the very cold mornings on Saturday and Sunday.
The Winter Weather Event
I can’t call this a storm, and it will not be all snow. However, colder air will be dragged in with the Low Pressure. The TRACK of the Low Pressure is what determines how far south the cold air will reach. That will translate to who may get snow, and three computer models below don’t full agree. What else is new?
Snow can fall with temps in the 40s, but it will turn colder than that. However, the ground will be warm, so stickage may be limited. What it working in the snow favor will be the dark hours of nighttime.
It will snow and likely stick in the mountains of western Maryland and along the Appalachians. But the Piedmont suburbs and some cities could get in on it as well.
GFS Model – This is the middle of the road forecast.
Here we see 11 PM Friday after snow had falling in western Maryland. Low Pressure tracking by Atlantic City, NJ. This brings the plot of snow (falling) in to the northern suburbs of Baltimore, and Southern PA.
European ECWMF Model – The warmer and more reasonable solution.
Here we see the same time plot of 11 PM Friday. Snow falling in western Maryland, while that Low Pressure is north of New York City.
I’ve annotated the 540 Thickness line (between 100 mb and 500mb). As I have mentioned in the past, this is often used to measure if the atmosphere can support snow from colder clouds, despite what the temperatures on the ground may be. Even though the shade is green for rain, this does suggest a mix of wintry precipitation in Frederick, Carroll, northern Baltimore, and into southern PA.
NAM 12 Km Model – The most aggressive and most interesting solution.
Here is the same time 11 PM Friday. The Low is southeast of New York City, but already tracked through central Maryland. That’s a southern and cold track, which it why it beings the snow farthest south and east.
NAM 12 Km Animation
I do think this is a little bit over blown, but it’s fun to look at. So let’s watch the model plot this in motion. We are nota ling as this also brings snow to Philly, New York, and Boston.
As if that wasn’t fun enough, here’s a breakdown of the simulation locked in on Maryland. Here you can see the track go the Low better.
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