Monday, February 8, 2010

Another Major Snowstorm to Hit Eastern US

While residents in the mid-Atlantic region have yet to completely dig themselves out from the record-breaking snowstorm of last Friday into Saturday (nicknamed "Snowmageddon"), another major snowstorm will pound the East Coast from Tuesday through Wednesday of this week.

The most intense snowfall will be centered farther to the north than the last storm -- heavy snow is possible in New York City -- but the storm's effects will overlap the region pounded by Snowmageddon.

Although the new storm will not produce the widespread 20-inch to 30-inch-plus snowfall amounts that the previous storm did, it has the potential to become a dangerous storm.

A combination of heavy snow and strong wind is likely in eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York City, Long Island, and perhaps southern New England, including Boston, from Tuesday night through Wednesday as the storm intensifies along the Eastern Seaboard.

More than a foot of windblown snow might accumulate, likely snarling transit. As with the recent storm farther to the south, power outages will be possible.

If the storm intensifies a little sooner, then heavy snow and wind will start a little farther to the south. In that scenario, heavy snow would extend into Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, including Baltimore and Washington, D.C. While the storm would not rival the weekend storm in terms of overall snowfall amounts, heavy snow and wind would create significant problems in terms of travel, blowing and drifting snow, and snow removal.

Regardless of whether the storm intensifies quickly enough to hit Baltimore and Washington with another major blizzard, for a significant part of the region this will be the second major storm in less than a week. The map at right, which shows snow depth as of Sunday morning, indicates the areas that were hit hardest by the weekend storm. The dark blue shades indicate areas with more than 20 inches of snow on the ground.

Southeastern Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia, and southern New Jersey (including Atlantic City), will be in the area hit by both storms. With back-to-back major snow storms, this region will have a difficult time resuming normal activities after the storm ends. And the double dose of storms is certain to make this a February for the record books.

It's important to note that this approaching storm has had a history of creating weather problems across the entire country. Serious mudslides occurred in Southern California on Saturday when the storm moved inland from the Pacific, and heavy snow spread through the mountains of the Southwest and into the Great Plains on Sunday. Significant snow will continue to streak eastward across the Plains and Midwest today, and all of this has occurred (or will occur) before it becomes another major East Coast storm.

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