Wild Weekend Weather on Tap
Feb 17, 2012
Wild weather is in store for the weekend with most living in the eastern half of the US getting in on the action.
The most potent severe weather outbreak of the season is set to unfold across the south beginning Friday night and into the day on Saturday. Storms will begin to develop Friday night across southeastern Texas and Louisiana as a storm system begins to gain strength. Severe weather will become more of a threat on Saturday as the storm strengthens and moves east over the central Gulf Coast states.
|National Weather Service Quantitive Precipitation Forecast (QPF) for Saturday, February 18. Image credit: NOAA.
Initially, the biggest threat from the storm system will be torrential downpours and flash flooding. However, as the day progresses on Saturday the severe weather threat will increase as storms fire – bringing with it the threat of damaging winds of 70+ MPH, large hail and tornadoes. Forecasters warn as storms develop a cluster of thunderstorms could form. Often times, due to the severity of the storms in the cluster, damage can occur across a widespread area. In addition, some storms may form outside of the cluster – these storms will have the highest chance of spawning a tornado or tornadoes.
The highest chance for severe weather will occur along the Gulf Coast, areas north of where the severe weather will occur will likely see heavy rains and instances of flash flooding.
By Sunday, the storm system will move east bringing severe thunderstorms to the Carolinas south to Florida.
While severe weather and flooding is possible across the south Saturday, the storm system will likely bring a plowable (is that a word?) snow to many areas of the Appalachians, Mid-Atlantic and into New England.
As of Friday morning, a specific impact area is still uncertain; however model runs hint that the heaviest snow – potentially a foot or more – could fall across the mountains of Western Maryland, Eastern West Virginia and parts of Northwestern Virginia. The snow could initially impact travelers on the I-81 corridor before moving east to the I-95 corridor.
|Could Washington DC see a snowy President's Day Weekend? The storm track will have to be perfect; but this is the best chance the East Coast has seen is some time. Photo credit: AOC.gov
Speaking of I-95, the further east you go, the trickier the forecast. Whether the I-95 cities of Washington DC, Philadelphia, and New York see snow will depend on the exact track of the low pressure system. While there will be cold air drawn into the storm, it won’t be as cold as forecasters would like to guarantee a snowfall for the east coast cities. It’s simply just too early to tell. Currently, I would say if you live anywhere from Northern Virginia to Northern Delaware and Central New Jersey you have a fairly decent shot at seeing a decent snowfall – if the temperatures get cold enough.
There is also a chance that a second area of snow may set up across the Ohio Valley, impacting areas from Pittsburgh along the Ohio River as far south and west as Arkansas.
The forecast is tricky (considering as of this writing we’re a little more than 24 hours out), but if you live anywhere east of the Mississippi River, I would expect your local weather will make headlines this weekend. Stay tuned.