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Potential for blockbuster snow storm along Northeast coast Monday night, Tuesday

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The same storm that will bring snow to the D.C. area on Sunday night and Monday morning could turn out to be a blockbuster event, with potentially crippling impacts, for some coastal locations in the Northeast on Tuesday.

Models have been trending toward deepening Sunday night’s clipper into an intense coastal storm, but the uncertainty looms about which areas might face the brunt of the impacts. Wes Junker, our winter weather expert, is particularly concerned about the storm, given the potential for snow and strong winds and the uncertainty.

“This storm could produce a stripe of heavy to possibly crippling snow and strong winds, which would lead to blizzard conditions,” said Wes. “Where the low tracks off the coast, and how quickly it develops, will determine who in in the northeast might be impacted the worst. All the model solutions on Saturday morning would crush the Northeast somewhere between N.J. and New England. It’s too early to say exactly who would garner the most snow.”

This storm is a concern not just because of the rapid intensification it seems likely to undergo after it moves off the Mid-Atlantic coast, but because of the high pressure to the north, and the deep pool of cold air that will flow down into the Northeast from Canada prior to the event. These colder air temperatures could ensure a forecast for more snow than rain, and might also drive up the snow-to-liquid ratio leading to higher snow totals.

The location of the high would also lead to intense wind speeds which, in combination with snow, may create white-out conditions that would be paralyzing for travel.

Recent runs of the GFS and NAM models have suggested the greatest impact will be across coastal New England, while the European model seems to be targeting New Jersey and New York. While the location of impacts is highly uncertain, the timing seems to be less so — models are tending to agree on Tuesday morning for the northern Mid-Atlantic through New Jersey and New York, and Tuesday afternoon into night for New England, including Boston.

If the European model is correct, widespread snowfall totals of 10 to even 20 inches could be seen across New Jersey and even into New York City. If the storm favors the NAM or GFS solution, coastal New England could be facing blizzard conditions on Tuesday afternoon.

Despite the forecast trend, there is still a large amount of uncertainty in this storm, beyond just location of impacts. Should the storm track farther east than models are suggesting on Saturday, the storm could end up being a bust for most of the Northeast.

In any case, this winter storm will be one to keep your eye on for early next week.