By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun
10:49 AM EST, January 22, 2013
Wintry precipitation is in the forecast Friday, another chance to make fools of forecasters who are at the moment mostly predicting a rain/snow mix for the Baltimore area.
According to the National Weather Service, snow and/or sleet are likely in the afternoon and early evening hours Friday. A chance of snow is expected in the morning as well.
The system is expected to be a quick-moving one, known as a clipper, localizing precipitation amounts, according to weather service forecasters. With temperatures remaining well below normal through the weekend, the air is expected to support snowfall, at least at first.
What is making the system unpredictable is that a flow of warmer air from the south is expected to move in above the cold air closer to the ground. When that happens, we get sleet, as snow falling from the clouds melts and then quickly refreezes before nearing the ground.
That has most forecasters concurring with weather service forecasters on a wintry mix.
AccuWeather.com's Henry Margusity expects a wintry mix south of the Mason-Dixon Line, with 3-6 inches up to the Pennsylvania border and into southern New England. Frederick-based Free State Weather blog meteorologist Rick Grow expects accumulating snow to come a little further south, into northern Baltimore and Carroll counties and points northwest, with a sleet and snow mix turning to rain along the Interstate 95 corridor.
Three days out, there is plenty of room for the forecast to change, though. Snow failed to materialize Friday as some predicted, demonstrating the challenges of conflicting forecast models and unpredictable and narrow storm tracks.
As the weather service forecasters note: "THERE IS STILL PLENTY OF UNCERTAINTY REGARDING THE EXACT TRACK OF THE LOW AND HOW QUICKLY THE COLD AIR WILL RETREAT."
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