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Forecasters grasping for snow chances

By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun

3:09 PM EST, January 11, 2013

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Forecasters are watching intently for any chance for more snow in Maryland, but there are no sure signs of it in the next week or so.

Meteorologists have been eyeing a pattern that could bring Arctic air southward, making temperatures cold enough to support snow. But there has been less certainty about what kind of moisture systems could come along with it.

The latest extended forecast discussion from the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center in College Park calls for "a couple quick-hitting winter waves" that could bring snow or ice from the Mississippi Valley to the northern mid-Atlantic next week. But models are not aligned on any particular pattern, forecasters wrote.

It's not clear whether the coldest of the Arctic air will reach Maryland, though. While Chicago is expected to reach the 50s today, for example, it will be in the 20s and 30s by the weekend, and when that air moves east it should reverse the weekend warm-up in store for the Northeast, according to AccuWeather.com.

But temperatures could be brought back just around normal for this time of year, with lows in the 20s, and not necessarily colder, according to AccuWeather.

In some parts, particularly to the north in the Great Lakes region and New England, it could be "the coldest weather in years," according to AccuWeather's Henry Margusity.

Former WBAL-TV meteorologist Justin Berk, always a snow optimist, tweets that some models are suggesting a coastal storm possible late next week, after the cold air moves in.

The local meteorologist who goes by "Eric the Red" suggests that models are aligned on a front stalling to our south Tuesday, but it's not clear what it might do. The Canadian forecast model calls for a coastal low pressure system forming Tuesday, bringing what could be "our first decent snowfall in two years" Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, Eric writes. Other models keep the system south of Maryland and weakly defined, though.

Have a weather question? E-mail me at sdance@baltsun.com or tweet to @MdWeather.