Late Season Snowfall Tonight...More On The Way Friday? - abc27 WHTM

Late Season Snowfall Tonight...More On The Way Friday?

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March 30, 2011

Seeming to flip the old saying on its end, March will apparently be going out like a lion this year rather than a lamb.  Despite Punxatawney Rodent's best wishes, winter is hanging strong across the Midstate and looks to do so through the beginning of April...at least.

The surface map below shows the start of a very complicated few days ahead.  The forecast is tricky because several variables are once again at play...

The storm system that will bring us precipitation tonight is now sliding eastward toward the Carolinas.  For now, the precipitation shield is being blocked by the area of high pressure sitting over the Great Lakes region.  That high is also creating a cold air damming scenario for Pennsylvania where easterly flow traps cold air in place and "dams" it up against the Appalachian Mountains.  This will create a great scenario for wet snow tonight or at least a mix in many spots.  Hard to believe April starts on Friday!

The precipitation should begin late this afternoon heading into rush hour.  The only fly in the ointment concerning the start time is the dry air mass overhead.  Even if precipitation moves in during rush hour...will it reach the ground?  I'm guessing not right away, so for some folks, expect more of an evening onset time.  From there, periods of wet snow, sleet, and rain will continue overnight and leave behind some light snowfall through tomorrow morning.  This is not a big event, but late season snows always bear watching.  How much?  Below are PrecisionCast's numbers...

My estimate would be a general coating to 2 inches across the region tonight with most of the snow sticking to grassy surfaces.  Most roads will probably just be wet early tomorrow morning as temperatures remain at or above freezing overnight.  This is at least some good news.  I'm not saying there will be no trouble spots, but this will not be an overly big deal.  I believe some may call this event an "onion snow".

One of the remaining questions concerns another storm system that will come up the eastern seaboard tomorrow night into early Friday morning.  This will be a coastal storm, and as always, its track is proving difficult to predict.  Some models drag the low right up the east coast and give us another decent snow/rain event.  Other models keep the storm well off shore and we get entirely spared.  I'm leaning more toward the off shore solution right now with areas east of Harrisburg still under the gun.  This is fickle and if anything changes, we will pass it along, but I feel like we are all veterans at this by now.  You all know coastal storms are the devil...track is everything!  Let's take a deep breath and get through tonight first!  It's only snow for goodness sake!  A step-by-step timeline can be found below...

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