Winter storm watch posted for the north, Winter Weather Advisory posted for the western interior
The storm on the way to the region has begun to form over the southern Plains Friday afternoon. High pressure that gave the region a delightful early spring day across the area moves northeast. This high will be the one that feeds cold air into the area on Saturday that will bring snow to the interior Saturday into Sunday.
The late development of the coastal low brings questions on outcome
What the region is going to experience is the warm front. Usually with inside runner scenarios, it is usually a rain event. With the area of high pressure advancing towards Labrador and tapping to cold air ahead of the maturing storm, the strength of the parent low and the high will influence how much cold gets into Maine. With the parent low fizzling out and a coastal low being formed, the region is caught in between the two. With the timing of the coastal low coming in a bit late, I have concerns over just how much precipitation will come out of this, especially for all areas but the north.
Saturday Noon to Sunday Noon - Precipitation is expected to start Saturday afternoon over southwestern areas. Since we are dealing with solar insolation (radiational heating) during the daylight hours prior to 5 PM, I question how much snow may pile up over the western interior. Grass surfaces may see some accumulation, but I don't expect much issue for the roads until after 5 PM when the sun is heading to set.
As the warm front advances northeast, I do expect snow to accumulate Saturday evening into early Sunday. In the wee hours of Sunday, the parent low weakens and the energy transfer to the coastal low begins. As we see with occluding synoptic storms like this, the dry slot begins to creep in.
Any snow that falls over the southwest coast is expected to switch to a mix and then to rain heading into the daylight hours. Snowfall over western areas begins to fizzle out with the dry slot creeping in. With the coastal low developing, this increases precipitation over the north and east heading into midday Sunday.
Sunday Noon to Monday 2 AM - With the storm exiting to the Bay of Fundy, any lingering rain and/or snow showers taper off over southern areas, with the sun likely to break out in the afternoon. Snow showers continue for the mountains into early Monday. Precipitation ends over eastern areas by mid to late afternoon. Northern areas experience a snowy afternoon before the heavier snow tapers off by evening, but snow showers may persist into the overnight.
Saturday 11 AM to Sunday 11 AM - This is a look at the 700mb level (altimeter ~10,000 feet). This level is critical for the development of snow. The darker blues and purples show a saturated snow growth level. Looking to the northwest, the 700mb low begins to fizzle out as the parent low weakens. The dry slot works in at this point as indicated by the lighter shades of tan and brown. This is where the precipitation changes from heavy/steady to light. There are discrepancies as to when this occurs. As if spring snowstorms aren't difficult enough to predict enough, dealing with a weakening parent low and a yet to ramp up coastal low and the region caught in the middle of it, let's say I am skeptical about what the snow totals may end up.
I do think northern areas have a good chance of getting to the 8" level. I think the western ski hills end up around 5", but there is also help from the lingering snow showers Sunday afternoon into the night to push that number higher. With mixing potential over western areas, the likelihood of a wetter snow the closer the location to the coast, and then the potential for the dry slot to work in makes the totals for the foothills south and east questionable.
With sun and 40s for temperatures expected for southwestern areas Sunday afternoon, shoveling there is optional. Just know that it will freeze back up Sunday night, but anything left over will be gone as temps warm into the 40s again on Monday.
I will monitor and advise if there are any changes to the forecast on Saturday, if necessary.
The next one to watch
Not much to say at this point other than there is potential for a storm midweek. As can be seen, ideas are all over the place, but close enough to monitor.
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