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What forecasters are saying about the snow storm

Forecasters are expecting a major snowstorm Monday on top of a coating of ice that begins late Sunday, but uncertainty remains on just where the heaviest snowfall might track.

Here is what forecasters are predicting:

• The National Weather Service expects moisture from the Gulf of Mexico to approach the area from the west as cold air moves in, bringing the heaviest swath of snow in an area from west to east, from Petersburg, W. Va., to Annapolis, with up to a foot of accumulation. While most of the state is in the 8-10 inch forecast zone, the storm has strong potential: "Our snow probabilities suggest up to 15 inches which is quite rare for March…But looking more likely!" meteorologists wrote in a forecast discussion.

Foot's Forecast predicts snowfall rates of an inch or two per hour before daybreak, suggesting that after sunrise, "it'll look just like February 13 all over again!" Foot's goes slightly heavier on the ice forecast, calling for a coating up to two tenths of an inch thick. After the precipitation ends, "the cold intensifies and will make you really want to flee for anyplace other than here," Foot's warns.

WBAL-TV lays out hour-by-hour forecast maps according to one model, but suggests that snowfall totals will still depend on whether the storm takes a more northerly track or southerly, bringing heavier snow to Maryland.

WBAL-TV's Tony Pann shares some data via the National Weather Service on the region's biggest March snowstorms. Baltimore's biggest single-day March storm dumped 21.9 inches March 29, 1942, while the most recent among the top five March storms occurred March 13, 1993, with 11.3 inches.

WMAR-TV's Mike Masco says he concurs with the National Weather Service's forecast maps, with a general 8 inches expected across the state and accumulations of 10 inches or more where the heaviest bands of snowfall set up.

The Weather Underground's Central Maryland weather blogger @wxmanmd on Twitter, cautions that the ice that precedes the snow could be the biggest concern, causing potential power outages Monday morning. A southerly storm track bringing heavy snow to Maryland could be likely given the pattern so far this winter, he suggests.

WJZ-TV meteorologists predicted around 6 inches of snow at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, the point of record for Baltimore. Heavier amounts could stay to the north and west where cold air will arrive sooner, while lesser amounts could be expected to the south because of a delay in changeover to snow.

sdance@baltsun.com

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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