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January 24, 2011 / Dave Gorham

Nor'easter: 12-Inch Snow Swath

As yet another low pressure system takes shape in the South and aims for the Northeast, many are growing numb to not only the cold but the snowfall, as well. I heard an interview on the radio this morning as a man from New York City said, “Like I have a choice? I guess I could go to the Caribbean for four months.” Good Morning America reported that it was 2F this morning in New York City’s Central Park while Matt Lauer of NBC’s Today Show applauded the few fans outside their studio window for taking on the 6F temperatures. Fortunately the abundant sunshine takes a bit of the chill off, and fortunately there’s not any wind to speak of and fortunately the winter storm moving across the Great Lakes will stay well north of New York City. Unfortunately, that’s where the string of “fortunatelys” ends.

Yet another low pressure system in the Gulf has its eye on becoming a strong nor'easter. Image: ImpactWeather StormWatch.

Here’s the latest: A cold front pushed off the coast of Texas late on Thursday where it stalled in the Gulf of Mexico. The cold air of the low over the warm Gulf waters allowed the low to percolate for a bit and now it’s beginning to strengthen. Upper winds and computer models indicate the low should track across the South where it should reach the coast of North Carolina by Wednesday. By then, the contrast of bitterly cold air from the north being drawn into the low (remember how cold it is in New York City this morning) as it reaches the warm Gulf Stream should allow the low to intensify dramatically. After that, residents from Washington, D.C. to the Canadian Maritimes are familiar with what happens as the fourth nor’easter since Christmas moves through the region.

At this time, forecast confidence remains low as it looks possible the low may take one of two different tracks, one being slightly farther offshore which would allow lower inland accumulations.

The most recent ImpactWeather StormWatch video with Chris Hebert is now online. Chris discusses not only the nor’easter, but also a look at the chilly (understatement?) end of the month, as well as the potential for a wintry mix along the Gulf Coast next week.

A 12-inch swath of snow is possible from southern New York state through coastal New England. Image: ImpactWeather StormWatch.

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