A Wintry Snap Looks Certain for the North-East USA.

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  • Expected snowfall as predicted by ECMWF for the coming 72 hours.

    Predicted position of the depression at 0300 UTC Sunday.

    Authorities will be working hard to keep roads clear. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire.

  • A Wintry Snap Looks Certain for the North-East USA.
    29.10.2011 15:04

    Amid unseasonably mild temperatures for late October here in the UK, north-eastern parts of the USA are set for an unusual early wintry snap. A depression racing up the east coast is set to bring disruption to many north-eastern states, particularly across New England. Significant snow accumulations are forecast, with airlines warning about flight cancellations. There are also widespread power outages anticipated.
     
    Storms are not unusual in the north-east of the USA at this time of the year, but they are not normally this wintry in nature. A low pressure system has been travelling up the east coast in the past 24 hours, and it is set to deepen as it travels further north. Associated with this depression is a large area of heavy precipitation, which would normally fall as rain to give problems such as flooding and mudslides. However, a high pressure system to the north, situated over Maine and Vermont, is dragging down bitterly cold winds from Canada. As the rain from the depression hits the cold air over the north-eastern US states, it will immediately turn to snow. It is this combination of high and low pressure systems that will cause widespread snowfall. However the warmth of the sea across coastal fringes will keep temperatures in check, but heavy rain is still expected.
     
    Parts of West Virginia have already seen a blanket of snow due to the northward track of the depression, with some places already seeing record snowfall for late-October. As the area of precipitation moves north-east, the greatest accumulations over the next 24-hours are set to fall across northern New Jersey and western parts of Massachusetts. However, anywhere from the Virginia’s up to New Brunswick could see at least a dusting. Almost a foot of snow could fall in some areas, especially where there is drifting due to strong winds. The worst of the snowfall should have passed through by Sunday afternoon (EST), where the true extent of the snowstorm will be evident.
     
    Whilst schoolchildren across the region will be hoping for a long-lasting winter wonderland, warmer temperatures are set to return at the beginning of next week. Flooding from snowmelt could become a further hazard, but for the time being, the scarves and gloves are being taken out of storage a lot earlier then planned in preparation for the brief blast of winter.
     

    By: Nick Prebble