The upper-level wind pattern has only favored brief shots at snow across the Washington area so far this winter. Another storm on the horizon Tuesday looks to do just that; bring a small taste of snow to the nation’s capital.
The jet stream, or zone of strong upper-level winds that guides weather systems across the U.S. has shown a bit of a “kink” or trough in the Mississippi Valley to the East with a persistent ridge in the West so far this winter. This pattern favors fast-moving but frequent storm systems that don’t bring large quantities of precipitation. It also hasn’t favored a major coastal storm; the kind that bring Washington’s biggest snows.
This week coming up shows signs that the Eastern trough will dig far south once again (noted by the big dip across the Great Lakes). Typically in a transition pattern (from above average temperatures as seen today and will again on Monday to much below average temperatures by Wednesday) a storm forms.
The latest data catch onto a snow potential once again in Washington. Low pressure in Alberta Canada will ride the jet stream winds into the Midwest and then the Mid-Atlantic, bringing a swath of light snow along its journey.
Known as an “Alberta Clipper,”this low will likely bring a light, fluffy snow on Tuesday during the day. The latest data suggest about an inch or two will fall in Washington with higher totals expected south of the city in central Virginia (mainly south of Interstate 66) and southern Maryland. However, snow will accumulate all the way north to the Mason-Dixon Line where accumulation will be lighter. This could be just enough snow to warrant a Winter Weather Advisory from the National Weather Service for Tuesday.
Since temperatures will be in the 20s and the entire atmospheric column will be well-below freezing, the snow will likely stick on many surfaces once it begins. The light, fluffy snow will cause a few slippery spots for commuters.
In its wake, a cold blast will arrive from the Arctic. As a matter of fact, by Wednesday morning, wind chills will range from 0 to minus-10 degrees from the Shenandoah Valley to the Blue Ridge foothills to the lower single digits in the nation’s capital.
Temperatures will only recover into the teens and lower 20s on Wednesday. The following is a list of daily record cold maximum temperatures that could go by the wayside in the Wednesday cold blast.
Stay tuned to ABC7 for updates on the early week snow potential and midweek chill and when you are away from the internet or the TV, stay with WTOP, 103.5 FM, around the clock for weather updates on the 8’s.