5 things you need to know about a potential major snowstorm this week

The chatter is unavoidable, and you have no doubt already heard that the Mid-Atlantic has the potential for a major snowstorm by the end of this week. So is there any truth to this? Here are 5 things you need to know about the snow potential this week.

1) Yes, It Could Happen

In fact, at this point the odds are leaning much closer to “yes” as opposed to “no.” The FOX 5 Weather Team has been watching this storm since last week and weather models have been consistent with bringing a storm into the region on Friday and Saturday. Atmospheric features are setup in such a way that enough cold air looks to be present for precipitation to fall as snow for a large portion of the region.

2) Beware The Hype

We watch social media too and we have seen the numbers thrown out there. Even our own Tucker Barnes showed raw data from the European model this morning which showed a wide area of 1-2 FEET of snow across the I-95 corridor. Tucker did make it clear that this map was just a model and NOT a forecast, and that point should be stressed over the next 48 hours.

Models can and do struggle with forecast snow amounts this far before a storm. The best we as forecasters can do is look for consistency in the models for a general idea. However, it will be close to impossible to tell where the heaviest snow bands will setup until the event gets closer. Take any snowfall maps you see at this point with a grain of salt as they may change considerably by Friday.

3) Rain/Snow Line Will Be Critical

As of this moment, this is setting up to be a typical D.C. snowstorm in the fact that we will struggle with where that rain/snow line sets up across our region. The majority of the models still differ with the placement of this critical feature, and it will play a major role in who gets the most snow.  As of this moment, odds are that those west of the I-95 corridor get the most snow while those to the east get less. Several models indicate the cutoff could be extremely sharp, with several miles separating the major snow totals from the lighter amounts. We will not have a good handle in where this feature will setup until later this week.

4) Shovels At The Ready

Another feature the models have been consistent with is that for those that do get snow, this is not the “conversational” snow that we had around the region on Sunday afternoon. This is the snow that you will need the shovels for. We are not talking light and fluffy snow either; we are talking about heavy, wet, and compact snow. The kind that will be bad on the back to lift. So start doing those stretches! Not a bad idea to prepare sooner than later in terms of getting anything needed for the storm – always better to be safe than sorry. Expect grocery store lines to be long this week as well.

5) Expect Major Travel Delays

Regardless of where the rain/snow line sets up or how much snow falls in D.C., travel around the region will be extremely difficult this weekend. In a “best case” scenario, heavy rain and wind will still cause major delays at area airports and on area roads Friday night and Saturday.

The “worst case” scenario would see widespread air and train cancelations, and next to impossible road travel on Saturday. This is a storm that has the potential to bring weekend travel to a halt. But whether or not, it will is something that we once again still need more time to figure out. Regardless, if you have travel plans and you are able to reschedule to an earlier date (Thursday), it is recommended that you do so given the potential. Again, better safe than sorry.

Count on the Fox 5 Weather Team to bring you the latest information as it happens. We will keep you updated!

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Follow the FOX 5 Weather Team on Twitter: @fox5weather, @suepalkafox5dc, @TuckerFox5, @garyfox5dc, @MikeTFox5, @caitlinrothfox5, @gwenfox5dc

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