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Guess Who's Back?

Old Man Winter has been in hibernation for quite sometime, as it's been over 700 days in the Philadelphia region where at least an inch of snow has fallen. Winter looks to bring in the New Year with a bang, as we prepare for a possible a major Winter storm heading into this weekend.

We have two different types storms that are capable of producing large snow storms for our region. First, we have a Miller "Type A"; Nor'easters that develop primarily on the Gulf Coast or East Coast along an old cold front, or along the marine/land airmass contrast found on the East Coast, could be considered "classic" Nor'easters. Storms that develop in this manner are referred to as "Miller Type-A" storms. The "Superstorm of March 1993" is considered to have been a "Miller Type-A" storm.

Second, we have a Miller "Type B";Storms that come in from the west (up the Ohio Valley) are usually referred to as "Miller Type-B" storms. These storms produce precipitation in the Midwest/Ohio Valley and have a defined surface low that is moving toward the Appalachian Mountains from the west. As these storms approach the mountains, they lose their coherent/compact surface low center and the low re-develops along the East Coast. When this re-development (a.k.a. "center-jump") happens, the storm can still produce snow over all of the state. But, it will usually produce the most/heaviest/longest snow in NE PA (Potter Co. and east).

We will be looking at a Miller "Type A" situation for our upcoming potential snow storm this weekend. As you can see, our future snow maker is gathering up moisture out of the GoM early Saturday morning and beginning to make its path Northeast.

The European model shows the intensifying low brushing off the New Jersey coast late Saturday night - Sunday morning, bringing mixture of rain/snow for Eastern NJ and heavy snow further North and West in New Jersey.

This system is your typical fight on who will win the snowfall battle. Low placement further Southeast, the more snow Eastern New Jersey gets. Low placement closer to the coast (As pictured above), heavier snow further North & West.

Operational Euro on top. Ens Euro on bottom.

The forecast is far from being determined on where the low placement will eventually setup, as the EURO's ensembles agree that the low placement is a bit further Southeast than the operational runs. I've overlayed the ensemble placement of the projected low next to the operational runs low to show you that a few hundred miles can make a difference on the entire outcome of this system.

What Are We Expecting?

All the players are on the table and we are beginning to finalize the overall idea of what we are going to expect this weekend. I would prepare for a Winter storm this weekend and I would prepare for our first snow fall since over a year. The total amount of snow is still being determined with the final setup of the low placement.

Above is the probability of snow fall 6" or greater. As you can see, the general consensus from the Euro's ensembles is Northwest of I-95 will have the greater chances of higher amounts of snow (60%+). As you get further Southeast, your chances of higher amounts diminish to between 10-40% chance of 6" or greater.

What's Next?

I am going to wait until the afternoon models finish and I will look at all the data and make my first prediction on how much snow we will be looking at. Stay tuned for that information later today.

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