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Snow showers make season's first forecast appearance a week out

It's not winter yet, but snow could soon be making its first appearance in the Baltimore weather forecast.

Meteorologists are watching the possibility of an inch or two of snow around Wednesday of next week, as one key forecast model shows a potential snowfall from the Midwest to the mid-Atlantic.

Of course, it's still a bit far out for such a forecast to be considered reliable, particularly at this time of year. Some weather news outlets began reporting hints of snow in the long-term forecast early this week, stoking some controversy among the weather media over whether such a prediction is responsible or sensationalistic.

While the possibility remains in the forecast, particularly when using the main European weather forecasting model, it comes with a heavy caveat of uncertainty.

AccuWeather.com's Henry Margusity suggests that winter weather is likely in some parts of the country next week, but what areas, it's not yet clear.

WBAL-TV's Tony Pann suggests a possible rain/snow mix for Maryland, adding that the main American weather forecasting model is starting to concur with the European's prediction of a rush of cold air to the region. His colleague Tom Tasselmyer meanwhile tweeted that he "had to put the 'flake'" in the 7-day forecast for the first time this season, calling for a 30 percent chance of a rain/snow mix Wednesday.

WMAR-TV's Mike Masco meanwhile urged weather watchers not to get caught up in "the hype," emphasizing that jet stream patterns don't favor any snow of significance.

Local meteorologist "Eric the Red" says while three major models -- the U.S., European and Canadian -- were showing at least some snow for the region around Tuesday and Wednesday, other weather pattern indicators show it to be unlikely. Models suggest an "Alberta clipper"-like system, known for quick dustings of light snow around here, to pass through, but in this case, strengthening.

However, jet stream patterns and forecasts of where nearby high and low pressure systems might set up suggest any storm system is unlikely to linger over the mid-Atlantic, Eric writes.

November sees, on average, about 0.4 inches of snow each year in Baltimore, though measurable snowfall has been uncommon in recent years. A trace of snow fell last Nov. 13, and a trace was also measured on three occasions in November 2008.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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