As it churns along the U.S. Gulf Coast, we continue to see this storm strengthen, and now the only question is which part of the Mid-Atlantic will truly fall in the "bulls eye" in terms of the very highest accumulations.
Make no mistake, a wide section of the country will see harsh winter storm conditions and over a foot of snow, from Tennessee to western North Carolina, to Virginia, Maryland and Delaware.
In Maryland and portions of Virginia, we anticipate full on blizzard conditions.
A Blizzard Warning is only issued for winter storms with sustained or frequent winds of 35 mph or higher with considerable falling and/or blowing snow that frequently reduces visibility to 1/4 of a mile or less. These conditions have to be expected to prevail for a *minimum of 3 hours.
While not unprecedented, true blizzard conditions are extremely rare for this region of the country.
Accumulations continue to look huge across Maryland and the i-95 corridor. We are talking about a minimum of 18 inches around most of the Baltimore region. Some pockets could get a bit less, but some could get quite a bit more.
In fact, somewhere in the Mid-Atlantic, we anticipate at least one rather large tract of land will more than 24 inches, perhaps even approaching 30 inches of snow, in just 24 hours!
Now, the models, while consistent with the overall impact of the storm on the Mid-Atlantic, have been bobbling a bit on where exactly this "mega-snow" bull's eye will fall. For example, as of late Thursday night...
The Euro: With some slight shifting, it has kept this bull's eye in Northern Virginia, just west of Dulles.
The GFS: With moderate shifting, now has a more stretched out bull's eye from Northern Virginia through Baltimore into the southeast corner of Pennsylvania.
The Canadian: With some shifting, now puts the bull's eye south central Maryland, from Annapolis back west into the DC area.
So which model is most likely to have this mega-snow bull's eye correct? It's frankly impossible to say with a storm of this magnitude, and 50 miles in any direction could potentially make a huge difference.
However, right now we lean on the Euro, given it's stellar performance over the past several winters in the Mid-Atlantic region, and incredible recent performance as the lone model to predict Hurricane Joaquin would in fact move away from the Mid-Atlantic coast.
Thinks will start to change fast over the next 24 hours, so by all means, get ready to hunker down, and stay tuned!
Wyatt Everhart, Chief Meteorologist, ABC2 News / WMAR-TV - Baltimore
(For my latest updates on the storm):