We're within the 72 hour window and the main energy for this Nor'easter is currently up in the Pacific Northwest. This upper level energy will dive into the South Central U.S. over the next couple days with a storm developing in the Arkansas area Thursday. All the computer models are in agreement that this storm will have a ton of moisture to work with so there's no doubt there's a storm likely as it moves off the Middle Atlantic Saturday. From storm development on Thursday it's all about track and intensity and as we saw last year, even a 50 mile shift in the track can make the difference from heavy snow to little snow and unfortunately NO MODEL can nail the exact track even 6-12 hours out. That said, there is still high certainty that a very heavy and widespread snow event in the 8-15"+ range is likely from Virginia to Maine Friday-Saturday. Yes several models do show 18"-30" amounts in spots but that could be interior New England, it could be the Poconos, it could be Central NJ so those epic amounts are completely outside the realm of reality of anyone predicting exactly right. As we experienced last year with a major Nor'easter models did the same thing and while many got 8-15" in that storm, the epic amounts were a colossal bust with some areas forecast to get epic snow only to get a few inches.
There are several things that will play a role and that is the stronger the storm gets the more wrapped up it gets and then you also get a DRY SLOT. This dry slot is very common in strong Nor'easters and it can have you go from blizzard to game over quickly and again, it's impossible to say where exactly that dry slot sets up. The other factor is the Atlantic Ocean temperatures are way above normal (+2 to +10 degrees above normal). If the winds are more Easterly vs Northeasterly that too can change snow to mix to rain quickly for areas within 50 miles of the coast.
Bottom line - most of the Northern half of Virginia, the higher elevations of the Appalachians in West Virginia/Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Maine need to prepare for at least an 8-15" storm with some areas possibly getting 18-24"+ amounts.
Storm #2 looks to develop much further South in Texas next week Monday and take a more inland route midweek keeping the East Coast in more of a snow to mix to rain event with the heavier snow axis well inland and in New England. The track of this storm won't be fully certain until Storm #1 moves off the coast.
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- Capt Kirk out.