BALTIMORE, MD — Maryland was lucky enough to dodge the effects of the last Nor’easter, which pummeled New England with a foot of snow and knocked out power — again — to hundreds of thousands of people in a dozen states. But the fourth big winter storm in a matter of weeks is now expected to hit on the start of spring, and the Mid-Atlantic may feel some of the punch, early forecasts say.
The storm should move into the region Tuesday night — the first full day of spring. That’s bad news for anyone who is done with snow: “possibly heavy,” the Weather Channel says, or strong winds. The storm — if it brings sizable snow totals and fierce winds, which is all tenuous and based only on early computer models — could mean another round of power outages and coastal flooding.
The storm is still days out, and the first firm snow predictions usually don’t come until about 48 to 72 hours beforehand. Areas that may feel the full effects of the storm v. parts that experience little more than a hefty spring shower is still up in the air, but a winter storm is “likely,” forecasters are saying.
Hopefully, it’s not a repeat of the nearly hurricane-force winds that battered Maryland and Virginia in early March, knocking out a peak of about 489,000 utility customers at the worst.
One computer model out Friday is causing a Nor’easter stir. It has the storm system passing over Tennessee on Monday night, into Tuesday, then redeveloping as a coastal storm near Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, by Tuesday night. The track would take it east of the Delmarva Peninsula on Wednesday morning before heading out to sea, says The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang.
“The storm draws down enough cold air for a long-duration, heavy snowstorm in our western and northern suburbs, with a sloppy mix of precipitation near the Interstate 95 corridor, including rain, heavy, wet snow and possibly sleet,” the Weather Gang writes. “If the model is right, this would be a very elevation-dependent snow event with amounts tending to increase as you head north and west of (Washington, D.C.).”
The Weather Channel’s early look at the storm says possibly heavy snow may stretch from parts of New England to the Mid-Atlantic, Appalachians and the Ohio Valley on Wednesday. Strong winds are possible particularly along the coast from New England to the Mid-Atlantic coast. This could cause coastal flooding, beach erosion, and possibly power outages and tree damage, yet again, in some areas.
First responders spent March 2 racing from one emergency to the next. In Prince George’s County, winds lifted the roofs of several buildings at an apartment complex, forcing the entire complex to be evacuated. A 77-year-old woman was killed in Kingsville by a falling tree branch that afternoon. She was outside her home getting her mail when the accident happened.
And in a rescue that drew condemnation on social media, five paddleboarders on the Severn River were rescued during the nor-easter by Maryland Department of Natural Resources Police and Anne Arundel County Fire Department crews.
Here’s the forecast from the National Weather Service:
Friday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 31. West wind 6 to 11 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.
Saturday: A chance of rain after 2pm. Increasing clouds, with a high near 42. West wind 5 to 9 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%.
Saturday Night: Mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming mostly clear, with a low around 30. West wind around 5 mph becoming light and variable after midnight.
Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 51. Calm wind becoming northwest around 6 mph in the morning.
Sunday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 33.
Monday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 49.
Monday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 34.
Tuesday: Rain before 8am, then rain and snow. High near 41. Chance of precipitation is 80%.
Tuesday Night: Rain and snow likely. Cloudy, with a low around 32. Chance of precipitation is 60%.
Wednesday: Rain and snow likely. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 40. Chance of precipitation is 60%.
Wednesday Night: A chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 31. Chance of precipitation is 40%.
Image via Shutterstock, graphic from the Weather Channel