The current storm affecting the east coast has been warm. Too warm for snow all the way up the eastern seaboard,even as far north as areas such as New York. An artic front is being dragged behind the system, showed by the dotted line in the map above. This is what will bring the significant change in weather as we head into tomorrow night. Notice how much colder the air is behind it.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
arctic front 1/12-1/13
After being spoiled the past few years, there has yet to be very many big snowstorms for Virginia this winter. Instead, much of the northern half of the state has been blasted with smaller, surprise storms. These have often caught people by surprise, due to the fact that lake effect, shortwaves out of the midwest, and arctic front snows are all very difficult to predict. The problem with forecasting for much of the state is the Appalachian mountains. These events often dry up precipitation on the western facing ridges in West Virginia. For these 3 different types of events that I mentioned, it takes pretty strong dynamics to get snow anywhere east of the mountains. So far this year, there have been a couple events that have done just that, dumping anywhere from a dusting to an inch across the northern half of the state. We will very likely see out third such event as we head into tomorrow night.