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March 31, 2011 / Dave Gorham

March Goes Out Like a Lion

[The following is a slightly edited version of the ImpactWeather Storm Development Outlook which is generated daily during severe weather outbreaks that affect a substantial part of the country. The SDO is emailed to ImpactWeather clients. – Dave]

Significant Winter Storm Expected in the Northeast and New England

Discussion: A significant coastal storm system is still expected to impact much of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast late today, Friday, and into the first part of the weekend. A strong low pressure area is forecast to push offshore and develop off of the coast of North Carolina Thursday evening and shift northeastward along the Atlantic Seaboard, bringing a good chance of heavy rain, gusty winds, and heavy snowfall over much of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast U.S. through Saturday. We have kept the track of the low pressure area to the west, resulting in continued increasing confidence that the main precipitation type will be in the form of rain along the I-95 corridor from Washington D.C. to New York City, Providence, and Boston.

Falling snow is forecast to increase in coverage and intensity over elevated areas of West Virginia Thursday afternoon, shifting north and east across Pennsylvania, New York, and into interior New England Thursday evening and into the overnight hours. Falling snow will then continue to push northward across the remainder of New England through the day on Friday before gradually tapering off from southwest to northeast early Saturday.

Locally heavy snow may fall across a large part of the northern/central Appalachians as well as the interior Northeast and New England Thursday night through Friday west of the Interstate 95 corridor. Mostly rain is expected closer to the coast, but precipitation may change to a brief period of wet snow before dissipating. General inland snow amounts will range from 4 to 8 inches with local amounts in excess of 8 to 12 inches possible over the higher elevations of northeast Pennsylvania, eastern New York, far western Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and into Maine. Just inland from the coast, snow accumulations of 1 to 3 inches will be more common along with the threat of rainfall in excess of 1 inch.

Image: ImpactWeather StormWatch

In addition to the rain and snow, strong north to northeast winds of 20-30 mph with brief gusts up to 50 mph or more will be possible across the Delmarva Peninsula and New Jersey Friday morning, with winds continuing into the evening and overnight hours throughout much of New England. Currently, the strongest sustained winds in excess of 35 mph appear as though they will be confined to a small area extending from eastern Long Island to Cape Cod.

Please be advised that the exact precipitation timing, types, and amounts will be HIGHLY dependent on the development and track of the low pressure system as it moves up the Eastern Seaboard. A track closer to the coast would bring rain showers further inland, resulting in lower snow accumulations. However, a more offshore track could still bring locally heavy snow to the major metropolitan areas of the Northeast. We will continue to monitor this storm system and its impacts to business and travel closely.

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