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USNA News Center

Late Season Snow Storm w/ Warming Trend Next Week (18 Mar 16)

  POSTED ON: Friday, March 18, 2016 9:24 AM by A.R. Davies

An area of low pressure will develop across the upper Midwest on Friday.  This system is expected to phase with energy out of the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday night, before tracking up the coast.

Periods of rain are expected to develop on Saturday afternoon.  The rain could mix to snow (or become a rain/snow mix) in Annapolis after sunset on Saturday night.  The figure below from the American/NAM model shows the low pressure system off the North Carolina coast early Sunday morning and projects rain or snow across most of Maryland.  The storm track on Sunday remains uncertain; if the storm is closer to the coast, rain/snow could linger throughout the day (and perhaps even into Sunday night).

Storm Track

Accumulating snow becomes increasingly tough around the Spring Equinox thanks to the higher sun angle (the amount of sunlight on March 20 is the same as on September 22) and, as a result, increasing daytime temperatures. The high temperatures will be above freezing on Friday and Saturday, and after an extended warm-up recently, the ground is warm (particularly the pavement due to the higher sun angle). In addition, the model shows that atmospheric surface temperatures throughout the event will be marginal and may not support all snow in Annapolis.  

All indications point toward a limited impact snowfall event south of Baltimore.  In Annapolis, it is possible that 1.0 to 2.0 inches of snow/rain could fall, however most accumulation (if any) will likely be limited to grassy or elevated surfaces.  Some light slushy accumulation is perhaps possible on side streets and sidewalks Saturday night if an atmospheric deformation band sets-up and heavy snowfall rates occur.  However, once the sun comes-up, anything that does “stick” to the roads overnight will quickly melt and all addition accumulation will be non-existent. 

I would note, if this event were occurring in the middle of January, the Baltimore-Washington-Annapolis metro area would likely be preparing for 6.0 to 12.0 inches of snow (or more) because many of the important ingredients for a coastal storm are in place(it is just too late in the season).  A good indicator for late season snowfall (and accumulation potential) in Maryland is elevation.  The best chance for accumulating snow/mix Saturday night/Sunday will be above 500 feet (2.0 to 4.0 inches of snow/mix is not out of the question with perhaps an inch or two of slush on side streets).  Locations near or above 1000 feet have the best chance for accumulating snow.

MD Elevation Map

Looking ahead, high pressure will build off the Southeast U.S. coast next week.  The figure below shows that unseasonably warm temperatures are expected for most of next week. #warmingtend!

#warmingtrend

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Disclaimer: This is not an official U.S. Navy weather forecast and should not be confused with the official Navy weather forecast provided by the Fleet Weather Center in Norfolk, VA.  Furthermore, the official U.S. Government forecast for the greater Annapolis area is issued by the National Weather Service Baltimore/Washington Forecast Office in Sterling, VA.

Category: General Interest

Contact

Meteorologist Alexander Davies
Oceanography Department, U.S. Naval Academy
  adavies@usna.edu
  410-293-6565