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Weather forecasting and analysis, space and historic events, climate information

12:45 PM | Yes, Virginia, there is still hope for a white Christmas (and New Years)!

Paul Dorian


The very active pattern that has developed on a nationwide basis will continue through at least next week and perhaps right into early January. A blizzard rages on today across the Upper Midwest and this same storm will send a powerhouse cold front towards the Mid-Atlantic region in the overnight hours with heavy rain, gusty winds and possible thunder. Once that front lifts out early tomorrow the heavy rain will end, but the strong winds will stick around in the Mid-Atlantic region right through Saturday night and there will be noticeably colder conditions. Snow showers will be numerous in the higher elevations to our west and north as a significant “lake-effect” snow event takes place, and a few snow showers can even sneak into the I-95 corridor from DC to Philly to NYC later tomorrow, tomorrow night and Saturday.

Looking ahead to next week, there are increasing signs for two separate storm systems to affect the Mid-Atlantic region. The first system will be rather weak as its slides eastward towards the South Jersey coastline late Monday into early Tuesday. While relatively weak, this system definitely keeps hope alive for a white Christmas in parts of the Mid-Atlantic as the threat exists for some accumulating snow on Christmas Eve into early Christmas morning (Monday night/Tuesday); especially, from the PA/MD border northeastward.

A second and stronger storm will follow during the middle of next week. Most computer forecast models have up to now made this look primarily like a rain event for the Mid-Atlantic region with the surface low predicted to move towards the Great Lakes. However, we have warned that a blocking pattern is setting up in the upper atmosphere and that the computer forecast models don’t necessarily handle this type of setup too well. As a result, the actual result for the mid-week storm track should end up being more of a “southern route” which would be an overall colder scenario for the Mid-Atlantic. Indeed, some of the models have trended towards a more “coastal" type of event which increases odds for snow in the Mid-Atlantic come next Wednesday PM and Thursday. My guess is that an initial low pressure will moves towards the southern Ohio Valley and then energy will transfer to the coast and a secondary (coastal) storm will form. It’ll be a close call for the big cities along I-95, but the snow threat is there with significant accumulations possible. We’ll continue to monitor this to see if the “coastal” trend continues within the computer forecast models. Stay tuned.