Deep winter pattern begins this weekend

Some will argue that the pattern over the last several weeks had already been established as a “wintry” one, and that may technically be true. But in terms of snow cover, cold and duration  the forthcoming pattern over the next few weeks will trump what we have experienced fairly easily. After Tuesday’s snowfall event — the biggest of the season for much of the I-95 corridor in our area — left a significant snowpack, polar air will rotate in and out of the area for the good part of the next two weeks. And while the main polar vortex may be just to our north over Eastern Canada, multiple disturbances rotating around it will bring plentiful chances for snowfall.

The first of these chances will likely come on Saturday, as an arctic frontal boundary swings through the Northeast United States. While no significant snowfall is expected, widespread snow squalls are likely — and strong winds will almost make the arctic frontal passage seem dramatic. The snow squalls, however insignificant they may seem after Tuesdays storm, could cause wildly reduced visibility at times and quick accumulating snow. Another chance for snow will come Sunday Night into Monday as a low pressure system tracks through the Northeast United States on the southern periphery of the aforementioned Polar Vortex.

Euro model showing sustained cold air in much of the Northern United States at Day 7.

Euro model showing sustained cold air in much of the Northern United States at Day 7.

Although the system currently remains an uncertainty on most forecast guidance, including the eventual track and intensity of said system, the consistency with its appearance in our area has been rather impressive. The storm seems likely at this point — it’s just a matter of being able to nail down exactly where it will track. And given the deep cold airmass in place, it is more than likely that most areas will observe snow as the system passes near.

The storm isn’t a nor’easter at all, by nature, as it approaches the area from the southwest over the Ohio Valley and then shifts into the Northeast. As is typical for these types of systems, the heaviest precipitation will occur on the northern side of it — so a passage of the storm to our north would significantly reduce impact. But we’ll keep a close eye on it as we approach the end of the week. No rest of the weary, either, as models indicate continued cold and potential for storm systems well into next week.