BOSTON (CBS) – A significant winter storm is a certainty for a large swath from Montana to Maryland. This storm is going to continue to strengthen over the coming days and become an absolute monster once it hits the Atlantic Ocean off of Virginia early Wednesday morning.
Typically when a storm hits this position you can bet that it is going to ride northeast with the Gulf Stream waters just offshore and deliver a significant blow to New England…BUT…the setup in the atmosphere this time is a bit different than normal, in fact, it is actually quite complex.
There is a giant block in the atmosphere well to our north and the size and strength of that block will ultimately determine how far north the coastal storm will come.
Right now, we are favoring the solution of the more “Global” weather models which keep the block firmly in place and deliver some fringe effects to Southern New England. If this is the case, there will undoubtedly be some severe beach erosion, gusty east winds and very rough seas off the southeast coast of Massachusetts. But that would likely be the extent of the major concerns…some light rain or snow would likely rotate into extreme Southern New England but it would not have any significant impact.
The other solution, which cannot yet be ruled out, is the one that most of our “American” models are now outlining…keep in mind that most of these models are not “Global,” so they are at a disadvantage when it comes to seeing the whole picture.
In this case, that is a very big concern due to the large atmospheric forces at play including the big block to our north. So for this reason we are not favoring the American model solution just yet. This solution would mean much more wind and coastal damage along with significant amounts of rain and snow. Again, this cannot yet be completely ruled out, but at this point it is no more than about a 1 in 3 chance.
So the bottom line…stay tuned…this will be a very large and powerful storm with far reaching impacts and high stakes dependent upon the final storm track.
You can follow Terry on Twitter at @TerryWBZ.