With double digit amounts piling up (again) in eastern New England Monday and Tuesday, the snow hole over Washington was the ultimate punch in the gut for local snow lovers. Washington has tallied 3.7 inches of snow for the entire winter, 11.3 inches below normal.
But maybe we’re not done with snow yet?
On Tuesday, computer models began advertising the possibility of a snowstorm in Washington for March 20. Snow icons popped up on your favorite weather apps, and, quickly, we were receiving a lot of questions about next week’s snow potential.
@capitalweather Weather Channel forecast for next Tuesday in Fairfax is calling for 3-5 inches of snow. Is this legit?
— DashMan (@DashMan18) March 14, 2018
We even bumped up our snow potential index to 2 out of 10 Tuesday night, signifying at least a 20 percent chance of one inch of snow in the next week.
But, with new data streaming in since, we suggest snow lovers not get their hopes up.
Both the American and European models now forecast Tuesday’s storm passing just north of Washington, which would draw up southerly winds, resulting in rain rather than snow (see below).
And, yet again, snow would become likely in New England as a FOURTH March nor’easter potentially develops.
Model simulations run on Tuesday had suggested the storm center would track much farther south, in a favorable position to draw cold air from the north into the Mid-Atlantic, resulting in snow around Washington (see below).
While we can’t totally rule out such a scenario, it seems pretty unlikely.
At present, the large family of some 70 simulations in the American and European modeling systems, known as ensembles, suggests there is about a 10 to 20 percent chance of at least an inch of snow over the next week (and a 20 to 30 percent chance in Washington’s north and west suburbs).
The chance of at least three inches of snow is 5 to 10 percent.
Because we still have what’s known as a “high-latitude blocking” pattern in place, characterized by higher-than-normal pressures over Greenland, it’s not out of the question that the storm track shifts south again and puts snow chances back in play. But there are a couple of factors working against this idea.
First, the blocking pattern is forecast to relax next week. The negative phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation, an indicator of this pattern, is predicted to rise into neutral or even positive territory.
Second, we’ve reached the time of year when it becomes quite rare for storms to take the kind of southern track required for a significant snowstorm in Washington. It’s not out of the question, but unlikely.
If you like snow, we advise having minimal expectations for any more locally this winter. It could happen, but odds are against it. If you hate snow, spring really is just around the corner.