What to expect from Wednesday’s significant Nor’Easter

An early season winter storm will impact the area on Wednesday, during one of the busiest travel days of the entire year. Making matters more difficult for forecasters is the fact that the system goes against most climatological analogs, not only including time of year but general atmospheric teleconnections as well. With a +AO value and +NAO value, the idea of this storm system producing snow in our area is quite far fetched. Yet, forecast models and the general evolution of the mid level and surface pattern argues that someone in our area will, in fact, see significant snow.

Forecast models are now in good agreement that a mid level shortwave will slide eastward from the lower Mississippi Valley to the Southeast States on Wednesday. A trailing disturbance, surging through the Plains states, will eventually interact with the initial disturbance over the East Coast. As this occurs, a surface low pressure system will develop off the East Coast of the United States. Forming initially off the Southeast Coast near the Georgia and Carolina coasts, the storm will slide northeastward while strengthening, eventually ending up at a position near the 40/70 Benchmark.

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Nor’Easter to bring major travel impacts, several inches of snow

Two strong mid level disturbances moving through the Southeast United States will interact later this week, and in doing so will help force the development of a low pressure system off the East Coast. Previously inconsistent forecast models have come into better agreement on the track and intensity of a significant Nor’Easter which will impact the area on Wednesday. With a low pressure system forecast to develop just off the Southeast Coast of the Carolinas and head northward to a position just west of the 40/70 Benchmark, significant impacts are expected in and around our area.

Still, models are wavering slightly with the exact track of the storm system and its intensity. And, for our purposes, even a slight wobble or change in trajectory could have major implications. In short, a wobble to the west could draw warmer air in near the coast, while a wobble to the east could mean colder air throughout the area during the height of the storm. These intricate details won’t be ironed out for another 12-24 hours, but the developing consensus has helped us to formulate some ideas moving forward in regards to the upcoming storm.

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Significant Nor’Easter becoming increasingly likely next week

Forecast models have come into better agreement in regards to the evolution of a mid and upper level pattern during the upcoming week which will eventually lead to the development of a significant Nor’Easter on Wednesday. Although specific details, in regards to the storms track and intensity (as well as the resulting precipitation type and amounts in our area) remain uncertain, confidence is increasing fairly quickly that the significant storm will in fact develop. This means there is a high likelihood that travel will be significantly impacted by hazardous weather — on the busiest travel day(s) of the year.

While it is too early to speak about precipitation totals, accumulations, and timing, the likelihood of the storm system impacting the area with multiple facets of hazardous weather means that it is prudent to prepare and adjust your travel plans adequately. And, despite the increased confidence in the storm system, the evolution of the pattern and disturbances that are working to develop the storm system remains extremely intricate — with the forecast prone to major changes over the next few days.

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An earlier run of today's new GFS run gave the area a snowstorm on Wednesday night. This scenario is unlikely, but not impossible.

Weather rollercoaster could end with Thanksgiving Nor’Easter

As most of you could probably tell by simply walking outside, another mid-winter airmass has filtered into the region today, and will set up another very cold night tonight. As high pressure settles into the region this evening and tonight, winds will subside to nearly calm levels. When this is combined with clear skies and a very dry atmosphere, ideal conditions for radiational cooling will be generated. This leads to lows in the upper teens in the interior, and lower 20s near the coast, with perhaps mid 20s in the warmest urban areas.

Afterward, the trend will be for moderation. This is because the high pressure will be sliding off the coast, giving way to a ridge and a return southwest flow. This will help to significantly warm temperatures aloft, but surface temperatures may be a bit more stubborn to warm up due to the presence of high pressure wedging the colder air. Still, though, the shift in wind direction and the ridge will be enough for temperatures to warm to around 40 or the low 40s tomorrow afternoon.

It won’t be until a warm front crosses the area tomorrow night that the weather will start to get a lot more interesting.

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