Stormy Scenarios for Next Week

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By Quincy Vagell on March 1, 2013, 4:10pm Last modified: March 2, 2013, 8:40am

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The computer model forecasts continue to show a significant storm developing along the East Coast during the middle of next week. Depending on where the storm tracks and how it evolves, Connecticut could either have a direct impact or just a glancing blow.

The storm is projected to impact the East Coast next Wednesday to Thursday, possibly lingering into early Friday. With low pressure projected to rapidly intensify and possibly stall off the East Coast, the effects go beyond simply rain and snow. A persistent easterly flow may cause moderate to major flooding somewhere along the mid-Atlantic and/or southern New England coastline. Also, a steep pressure gradient could result in strong winds, especially near the shoreline.

After the European model had been pretty consistent for about seven (7) runs in a row, keeping the storm well south of the area, the 00z run last night took a huge shift north. At the same time, the 00z Euro ensembles and 00z GFS also took a large shift north. Such large, sudden changes with computer models can indicate one of two things...either the computer models had a "hiccup" and the north trend won't verify, or the pattern is very difficult to forecast and the models have flip-flop back and forth for a while.
The 12z GFS came far enough north to actually indicate a wintry mix and some rain with the storm, while the 12z Canadian (GGEM) came just far enough north to keep the area mostly snow and with hefty amounts at that.
The 12z Euro, on the other hand, backed off from its jump north. The new run hits the mid-Atlantic region hard once again with heavy snow, while almost all of the precipitation stays south of Connecticut. Although this might be a bad trend for snow-lovers, it's still close enough to keep an eye on.

It's certainly too soon to get into specifics, as the computer model projections will likely change. There are a few things to keep in mind...
In an article yesterday, I talked about the potential for a rare major March snowfall in portions of Virginia and North Carolina. History tells us that such a March storm is very unlikely, but it has happened (last time was 1980). This is especially the case given the time of the year and a lack of a strong high pressure center diving south from Canada.
On the other hand, the storm could track so far north that a "phase" of energy takes place very close to Connecticut  The result there is that warm air could change precipitation over to rain for much of the area.

If I had to take a guess now, I would lean towards a low impact event with a storm track to our south. This is pretty much in line with what the Euro had been showing for a while and showed once again at 12z today. The Euro has proven to be one of the more reliable and consistent models so far this season. If the Euro flip-flops again tonight, then maybe I'll become a bit more concerned.
If recent forecasts have taught us anything, it's that making bold forecasts several days in advance can often lead to bad forecasts and over-hype of a non-event. The potential seems rather high that a high-impact storm will form somewhere along the East Coast next week, but we'll have to keep an eye towards the latest model data to see how the trends look. 

Stay tuned to WXedge.com for the latest discussions on this potential storm.

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Quincy Vagell

Town: Naugatuck, CT  

Reporting for WXedge since January 2012.

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