A winter weather advisory is in effect for northern counties from 4 a.m. through 10 a.m. Friday, with up to an inch or two of snow mixed with sleet and freezing rain expected as a major snowstorm heads northeast to slam New England.
The advisory applies to Carroll, northern Baltimore and Harford counties. The precipitation is expected to turn to rain for all of the Baltimore area by mid-morning. Forecast maps updated Thursday afternoon called for the heaviest snow, possibly 1-2 inches, in Harford County and northeastern Baltimore County.
Weather service meteorologists called it "a challenging forecast" with the interaction between two storm systems, one from the west and another from the south, difficult to predict. Some models predict colder temperatures hanging around longer into the morning, keeping precipitation frozen, and the possibility of "wraparound" snow showers as the storm moves northeast, according to weather service forecast discussions.
The brunt of the storm is expected to be northeast of where the two systems are expected to converge. Models have shown Maryland on the opposite side of that danger zone, according to forecasters. But new model runs late Thursday were trending colder and with the southern storm tracking closer to the coast, local meteorologist "Eric the Red" said.
Weather service precipitation forecasters were calling for 40-70 percent chances of at least an inch of snow across Central Maryland, with the higher odds to the northeast.
Forecasters are warning of heavy snowfall from New York to Boston, with blizzard conditions expected between the two cities. An area from New Jersey to central Connecticut, including all of New York City, was placed under a blizzard warning Thursday afternoon.
In New York, 10-14 inches of snow are expected, with 18-24 in eastern Massachusetts and Boston. "Thundersnow", rare claps of thunder during major winter storms, is said to be possible.
Winter storm warnings meanwhile cover an area from northeastern Pennsylvania into southern Maine.
Forecasters are calling the storm potentially historic for Boston, if 30 inches or more falls. That would be less than many parts of the Baltimore area was shoveling at this time three years ago, when "Snowmageddon" hit.
If you are feeling envious of New England for the massive snowfall, remember Baltimore's historic storm by taking a look at accumulation totals from the first of back-to-back blizzards. High totals included 38.3 inches in Ellicott City, 32 inches in Randallstown and 31 inches in Towson. Another storm bringing 15-20 inches of snow followed a few days later.
If you consider yourself lucky to be on this side of Friday's storm, on the other hand, remember that total snowfall this winter so far is 4.6 inches, pacing for a third-straight below-normal snow season.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun