People in New Jersey who want a white Christmas might get their wish this year. That’s IF a lot of different things work out the way some long-term computer models predict they will.
Some of the models show that a weather pattern is forming that could bring very cold air to the central and eastern U.S. next week. This could set the stage for a possible winter storm to hit the East Coast over Christmas weekend.
This is what several weather forecasters say, but they all warn that nothing is set in stone yet because it’s hard to predict long-term snowfall with a high degree of accuracy.
Steven DiMartino, who is a meteorologist and runs the Monmouth County-based company NY NJ PA Weather forecasting, said that no one can say for sure what will happen late next week. But he agrees that there are a few signs that point to a possible winter storm on the East Coast, and he says it’s important to pay close attention because next week is a big travel week for many people.
Based on weather patterns and some computer guidance models, it looks like “a storm is going to develop here, and it could be a pretty impressive storm,” DiMartino said in a forecast video posted on YouTube on Thursday.
“However, before anyone posts snow maps or anything else on social media, you should know that this storm has a lot of moving parts,” he said. Former meteorologist for Baltimore and Philadelphia TV stations Justin Berk is also sounding early alarm bells about a storm that could hit the Mid-Atlantic region next week.
“I don’t usually make promises this far in advance, but it was hard to say no to this view,” Berk wrote this week on his weather blog. “It could change, but if it does, it would mean a big winter storm on the East Coast. Surely something to keep an eye on.”
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AccuWeather’s people who make long-term forecasts are being careful right now. But they also say, “A winter storm could form along the edge of the colder air as it moves east next week. This could happen in parts of the southern Plains and Southeast, from Oklahoma to the Carolinas.”
In a forecast report, AccuWeather said, “The development of any possible storm will depend on the exact path of the colder air and any energy in the air that goes with it.” “Meteorologists think that by this weekend, we may be able to get a better idea of what the storm might look like.”
The National Weather Service’s regional office in Mount Holly, which covers most of New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, eastern Maryland, and all of Delaware, has not yet made a forecast for late next week. Meteorologist Matt Brudy from the office warns people not to trust long-range snow forecasts, especially when they are based on inconsistent computer model runs. “At this point, it’s too early to trust a single model run for a storm like this one,” Brudy told NJ Advance Media on Thursday. “There is no continuity for next week at this point.”
Brudy said that if different guidance models agree that a winter storm is coming, and if the models’ predictions stay the same over time, that gives the forecast more credibility. “When it’s this far away and all the models show different things, I wouldn’t put too much stock in it at this point. I wouldn’t get too worked up about it.”
Brudy also said that the forecast could change in the next few days. “You can’t completely rule it out, but the advice is all over the place right now.”
Many weather experts agree that cold air, which is a key ingredient for snow, is likely to be present next week. What still needs to be figured out are other major factors, like the amount of water in the air, where storms are going, and how the air is blocking them.
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