We had a bit of a preview today of what's to come winter weather wise midweek with our brief wintry mix. Sunday's weather will be nothing compared to what we could be dealing with Wednesday as a moisture rich system rolls our way. Snow, ice, and rain are all potential weather hazards but totals look to be in question based upon the temperature profile. Here is what we know right now based upon the current setup regarding timing and impacts.
A complex area of low pressure which gathers rich Gulf of Mexico moisture dukes it out with a blocking area of high pressure over Canada to create this midweek mess. The high supplies a healthy wedge of cold air in which the precipitation overruns late Tuesday into Wednesday giving us a classic Winter Storm. Questions remain to the the strength of this cold air pool.
Best Case Scenario: The cold air pool is shallow and we get snow for a period of time at the onset before the warm air wins out transitioning everything over to rain. This would limit totals to a degree but with ample moisture we could still have a variety of winter weather woes combined with flooding as temperatures warm.
Worst Case Scenario: The cold air pool is deep and we get snow that transitions to ice as temperatures warm slowly. With a deeper cold pool dangerous wintry precipitation could hang around through the evening hours of Wednesday before a transition to rain Thursday morning.
With that said it it would not be a surprise to see some sort of Winter Weather Alerts issued by the National Weather Service Monday night or even during the day Tuesday (1-2 days prior to the storm's arrival). Once these alerts are issued we should have a better clue of what the totals could be regarding snow and ice.
As of now models push snow in from the south late Tuesday night into the wee hours of Wednesday morning. Snow will overspread all areas of Maryland with mixing in the south of US-50 with warm air trying to win the battle with the cold up above. Cold air at the surface will likely be stubborn to erode from Baltimore points north toward the PA/MD State Line which will allow for a period of heavy snow before the change to sleet and freezing rain.
HIGHEST IMPACT ZONE: Baltimore's North & West Suburbs (I-70 WB and I-83 NB)
Those who live in northern Harford, northern Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, and northeastern Howard counties look to see the best chance for significant snow and ice accumulation. Since this is a moisture rich system and dependent on temperature power outages could become an issue since anything that fall (snow and ice) could have a lot of weight to it. Please plan ahead for possible disruptions.
Stay tuned to the forecast in the coming days for fine tuning on time, totals, and overall impacts. Keep checking back in on our free WMAR2News mobile app, online, on the air, and on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates.