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USNA News Center

Blizzard Update (22 JAN 16)

  POSTED ON: Friday, January 22, 2016 9:45 AM by A.R. Davies

The National Weather Service Baltimore/Washington Office has issued a Blizzard Warning beginning at 1500 today through 0600 on Sunday.  The National Weather Service has indicated that more than 2 feet of snow is possible for Anne Arundel County and the surrounding Baltimore-Washington region west of the Chesapeake Bay.

The only change in my forecast from yesterday is the overall strength of the system.  Over the past 18 hours all information (models, satellite data, surface and air observations) has indicated that the weather system will be a bit stronger than anticipated... and just as importantly, the high pressure system to our north will also be strong.  High pressure to our north is key because the clockwise circulation around it will help keep the temperatures below freezing throughout the event...which decreases our chance of mixing to all sleet/freezing rain for an extended duration on Saturday.

Snowfall in Annapolis:

With these factors in mind, I have once again increased my snowfall forecast for Annapolis and the I-95 corridor (see FINAL CALL MAP below and link to full size here).  At this time, I think 16-24" of snow is the most likely scenario west of the Chesapeake Bay, including Annapolis.  My totals are still slightly below some of the other forecasters in the area (and most models) because I do still anticipate some sleet or freezing rain mixing with the heavy wet snow in Annapolis-- but perhaps not for a long duration thanks, in part, to the strength of that High to our north.  I still expect the snow to be very heavy and wet ("heart attack snow").    

The probabilistic snowfall forecast for Annapolis is:

  • 20% chance of 10-16"  (more mixing than anticipated)
  • 50% chance of 16-14"
  • 30% chance of 24-32"  (almost no mixing... and further intensification).

I left larger uncertainty on the high range of the forecast.  As mentioned above, most models suggest of two feet of snow is possible... and I believe that 3 feet will fall somewhere in the greater Baltimore-Washington metro region (just tough to figure out where).  The National Weather Service suggests the most likely snow total for Annapolis is 19-21"... with the worst case scenario being 24-27" and the best case scenario 10-12".

Final note on totals... there could be a few inch snow gradient across the Yard with less snow possible closer to the water and more near the Chapel and/or Gate 8.  Furthermore, there will likely be differences between USNA totals along the water and West Street in town.  My totals are for Annapolis in general so part of the Yard along the water could see a few inches less (but not too significant).  The reason is the water temperature is still 34-36 degrees at Thomas Point Light House.

Final Call 22 Jan 2016

Timing for Annapolis:

As far as timing, some flurries could begin falling sometime between 1200 and 1400.  Accumulating snow is expected to begin between 1400 and 1700.  Expect 3-6" by 0000 on Saturday (midnight today), 6-12" by 0800 on Saturday, 12-18" by 2000 on Saturday, and up to 24" when everything wraps up predawn on Sunday morning.  There could also be a few hour break in the snow during the day on Saturday before it picks back up Saturday evening.

Wind Concerns:

Expect sustained winds > 25 mph to begin around 0000 EST on Saturday (midnight) and continue through 0000 EST on Sunday.  Gusts will range 40-50 mph, and could top-out around 60 mph during that period.    

This period of time (0000 on Saturday-0000 on Sunday) is the most concerning overall; travel will be almost impossible as near white out conditions are expected, power outages could begin to pile-up because during is period sleet or freezing rain could mix-in and stick to power lines/trees, and anyone outside will face windchill temperature around 10 degrees (or lower north and west of Annapolis).

Coastal Flooding Concerns:

The National Weather Service has indicated that minor coastal flooding is possible along the Western shore of the Bay from Annapolis and locations south.  This will be due to water piling up on the west side thanks to the northeast winds.  Furthermore, waves will build to 7-8 feet in the middle of the Bay, so wave action along the shore line could be a concern.  Fortunately for USNA and Annapolis, the direction of the winds/waves will be out of the northeast and Greenbury Point should shield us from the worst impacts, although some increased wave action should be expected.

Links:

Here is a link to the local National Weather Service Homepage:

http://www.weather.gov/lwx/

Here is a link to the local NWS Winter Weather Page snow and timing map updated regularly):

http://www.weather.gov/lwx/winter

Here is a link to my Forecast from yesterday:

http://www.usna.edu/NewsCenter/sites/Weather/winter-storm-update-22-jan-2016.php

Here is a link to my Forecast from Wednesday:

http://www.usna.edu/NewsCenter/sites/Weather/first-call-snowfall-forecast-20-jan-16.php


Category: General Interest

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