SnoCast: Major Storm Targets the East for MLK Weekend
All eyes are focused on a significant storm that will swoop from the Central Plains, through the Southeast, and eventually hook up the Northeast coast, all during the long holiday weekend. Lots to delve into in this week’s SnoCast.
Confidence is increasing that a significant winter storm will create considerable impacts this weekend into early next week. Significant amounts of heavy snow, freezing rain, and sleet are likely and along the Atlantic coastline strong winds and coastal flooding will be possible. pic.twitter.com/nvEJxbePVe— NWS Weather Prediction Center (@NWSWPC) January 13, 2022
Lot's to detail with this evolving forecast, and snow totals are still being determined, so let’s break this down by region:
Midwest: Friday, the developing storm dives through the Central Plains, dropping a quick 5-10” of snow before diving southward to the southeast U.S. This may bring some light snow, followed by colder air through Saturday to a few of the smaller Midwest ski areas in southern Minnesota, but unfortunately most Midwest ski areas miss the heaviest snow.
From late tonight to Saturday morning, a fast-moving winter storm is expected to produce a large area of heavy snow, totaling in excess of 8" across southeastern ND, southwest/southern MN, and central IA. Dangerous driving conditions are likely due to the snow and blowing snow. pic.twitter.com/2LgzfKAet6— NWS Weather Prediction Center (@NWSWPC) January 13, 2022
Southeast: By Saturday and Saturday night, the storm center will dive as far south as Alabama, bringing snow all the way down the southern Appalachians. Check the forecast closely because many will see a mix of heavy snow and ice as this storm churns over the southeast this weekend. Through Sunday, as much as 8-16” of snow is expected in the southern Appalachians, along with a layer of ice for some. Travel will be difficult and potentially dangerous getting around, so plan ahead, and get to the ski areas before the snow if possible.
While this may not be exactly how the storm shakes out, this model (GFS) shows the general path from the southeast to northeast. Widespread impacts for the holiday weekend. Dangerous travel, heavy snow, pockets of ice in the southeast. Keep up with this evolving storm forecast pic.twitter.com/EVMk6yulP2— Kerrin Jeromin (@KerrinJeromin) January 13, 2022
Northeast: Not be to overlooked in the Northeast, it will be downright cold Friday and Saturday with bitterly cold wind chills as low as -30 to -40 ahead of this storm. Make sure you’re bundled in layers if you’re skiing Saturday. Frostbite is a real danger if you're not covered up.
By Sunday night and Monday, the big storm moves up from the south, likely tracking just inside (west of) the coastline, which means a challenging rain/snow line forecast, which impacts snow totals. However, its nearly certain parts of the interior northeast and New England will have very heavy snow through Monday. While totals will vary from region to region, I'd expect many interior northeast ski areas end up with 8-16”+ of snow. Keep monitoring the latest info with this evolving storm. Travel will also be challenging at the most intense time of the storm early Saturday, so plan ahead.
Overall, it’s quiet for the western U.S. as a large area of High pressure dominates, keeping most locales mild and bright for the long holiday weekend. As the storm discussed in the Eastern region forecast (above) dives south into the Plains on Friday, some of the energy will trigger scattered snow showers for the Colorado Rockies. Colorado’s peaks will see light snow, roughly 1-4” through Friday.
The West U.S. will remain quiet Saturday through Monday with ample sun and seasonable temperatures, great news if you’re traveling to enjoy the slopes for the holiday weekend (don’t forget to pack the sunscreen). Western Canada will see their next storm Monday with new snow expected for the Coast Range and Canadian Rockies.
Looking ahead, the West will remain seasonably mild and overall drier than average. The coldest air will remain east of the Rockies, with unseasonably cold air expected through the middle and end of January.