Models have been hinting at a system to bring measurable snowfall to the area towards the middle of the week.
Latest guidance continues to depict the development of a winter storm for the east coast, including the D.C. area. At this point in time, I will already tell you it is too early to pinpoint or give an estimation of predicted snowfall totals, but there is a potential for multiple inches.
As usual with these kind of storms, snowfall totals will completely depend on the exact track, which at this point is still up in the air. Just a difference in 50 miles can greatly determine snowfall amounts across the area.
- Latest graphic from the National Weather Service Baltimore/Washington Office
If you remember a few years ago the D.C. area was expecting a snowstorm around Christmas. The track ended up changing 50 miles and the Eastern Shore saw a foot of snow along the coast while D.C. barely saw a thing. These can be very difficult to track so we will be watching the set-up very closely this week.
Speaking of the set-up, what is giving this system more confidence for snow than storms earlier this winter? It appears we'll finally be dealing with some southern energy which will be able to pull in moisture from the Gulf and eventually the Atlantic as a coastal low is expected to develop by Wednesday night.
- 12Z GFS 500mb Vorticity plot and heights forecast for Tuesday Morning(Courtesy: NEXLAB Models)
Combine that with energy about to enter the Pacific Northwest which will eventually catch up to the southern stream system and phase together. This will help develop a nice troughing feature which should help intensify the surface low pressure system.
- 12Z GFS 500mb Vorticity plot and heights forecast for Thursday Morning(Courtesy: NEXLAB Models)
All the while, high pressure currently over the Midwest will help set the stage for this storm as it meanders to the east and eventually sets up shop over the northeast. A classic cold-air damming situation will set up and plenty of cold air will be situated across the D.C. area.
- 12Z GFS MSLP and P-type forecast for Thursday around 1am (Courtesy: WeatherBELL Models)
High pressure should also help push the low pressure system up the coast instead of a more easterly track out to sea. This is where the question of what track will it actually take. Too far west and the D.C. area may see a wintry mix or rain, too far east and parts of the area may not even see snow at all. If it's just right we could be in for a big snowstorm.
Time will tell, but right now snow is looking more and more likely starting late Wednesday night continuing through Thursday evening. We'll have a full update with all of the latest tonight on ABC 7 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm.