The 2015-16 meteorological winter is officially half over – but it still has a few sucker punches left to deliver. The next one, named Winter Storm Jonas, starts its way across the Mid-South, Southeast and Mid-Atlantic starting Thursday, Jan. 21, wreaking havoc through the weekend as it stretches up into New England.
“It’s not that strong of a system [currently] – it’s got a lot of energy but not much moisture to work with,” explains USDA meteorologist Brad Rippey. “That will change starting on Thursday. And by Friday morning, that system will be starting to translate its energy to the Atlantic Seaboard, where rapid intensification is expected to occur.”
Jonas could bring more than two feet of snow to Washington, D.C., and surrounding areas, dangerous ice accumulation to large areas of Kentucky, Tennessee and the Carolinas, plus high winds and power outages across the East Coast, as well as coastal flooding.
“D.C. [in particular] is set for what could be a historical storm,” says Weather Channel meteorologist Domenica Davis. “We’re looking for the highest amounts of two-plus feet, with 12 to 18 inches in Philadelphia and 5 to 8 inches in New York.”
Approximately 25% of the U.S. population was under a blizzard watch or other type of winter weather advisory as of Jan. 21.
Bill Kirk, CEO of Weather Trends International, says snowfall variability is hard to predict with “backyard precision,” especially with a winter storm capable of dropping 10 inches in one area and 30 inches just a few miles away.
“Things like dry slots, warm air off the Atlantic Ocean, convective bands, and slight shift of 50 miles in the track - things that simply cannot be predicted even in the middle of the storm,” he says. “[However], bottom line – if you live in West Virginia, the northern two-thirds of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and coastal New England, you’re still in for a widespread 12 to 18 inches.”
Will Jonas disrupt your farming operation this weekend? Send your photos and observations to Crop Comments. For more weather news and analysis, go to www.agweb.com/weather.