Another Coastal Storm May Bring More Snow to the Northeast, Midwest and South In the Upcoming Week

January 13, 2018

Another Northeast snowstorm is possible next week, just days after Winter Storm Hunter leaves its wintry mess behind. The first part of the upcoming wintry system will cross the Upper Midwest on Sunday with the next dose of snowfall. 

(MORE: Winter Storm Central)

Typical for the world of winter weather meteorology, there are a lot of aspects to this forecast that are not in focus yet.

However, the general weather pattern setting up next week does have our attention. 

Here's what we know and don't know at this time.

What We Know: The Setup

The general weather pattern will feature upper-level energy originating from the Canadian Arctic plunging southward, reinforcing a sharp, U-shaped trough in the jet stream over the eastern half of the nation.

In response to this, a fast-moving low-pressure system and reinforcing cold front will spread mainly light snow from the Plains into the Midwest Sunday into Monday.

There could be enough mid-level energy and moisture at the tail end of an associated cold front to produce some non-rain precipitation across portions of the South, too. 

(MAPS: 7-Day U.S. Weekly Planner Forecast

Tuesday or Wednesday, a second area of low pressure should form somewhere near the Northeast Seaboard in response to that arriving jet-stream energy.

With cold air in place in the wake of Winter Storm Hunter, snow is possible in at least parts of the Northeast and New England beginning Tuesday.

(MAPS: 10-Day U.S. High/Low Temperature Forecasts)

Possible Setup Jan. 15-17

Farther south, and in advance of the formation of a coastal low, there is some concern that ingredients for some wintry weather may come into alignment across parts of the South.

Firstly, we know that cold air will be plunging southward through the Great Plains on Monday and Tuesday, with temperatures cold enough for snow expected to be south of Dallas and Jackson, Mississippi by midday on Tuesday. This cold air, at the surface, will arrive behind a robust cold front. 

Secondly, we think there could be enough moisture ahead of that cold front to allow precipitation to form Monday night into Tuesday, and perhaps Wednesday morning, in the southern Plains, into the lower Mississippi Valley, and perhaps mid-South. How much moisture is left over when the cold air arrives is the biggest question right now. 

Should these two ingredients overlap, we could have a period of frozen precipitation early next week. If either more moisture or colder than currently foreseen conditions arrive, wintry precipitation is possible across much of the Interstate 20 or even Interstate 10 corridors.

At this time, it appears that an area of snowfall is most likely over portions of northeastern Texas to somewhere in the mid-South, but exact placement remains to be seen. Farther east and south, wintry precip is much less certain. 

Potential setup for some wintry weather across the South.

What We Know: How Much Snow the Midwest and Plains Will Get and When

A quick-moving low pressure system will bring another dose of light to moderate snow showers to most of the Midwest on Sunday into Monday. 

Sunday Night's Forecast

  • Most from the Upper Midwest to the Ohio River will see 1-3 inches of snow
  • Snow will arrive in the Upper Midwest on Sunday, and then spread across most of the rest of the Midwest on Sunday evening into the overnight hours.
  • A few communities located south and east of the lakes Michigan and Superior could see 3-6 inches very close to the lakes. 
  • A trailing cold front will bring snow to a swath of the central Plains and northern and central Rockies late Sunday into late Monday.
  • Some wintry mix is possible on the leading edge of the snow in parts of the central Plains as the cold front moves southward late Sunday. 
  • Most who receive snow in the Plains and Rockies will get 1-3 inches, but some higher amounts are possible in the northern Rockies. 

Snowfall Forecast Through Monday Afternoon

A second low pressure system is expected to develop off the coast of the mid-Atlantic or Northeast late Tuesday or on Wednesday, but those details aren't as clear. Stay tuned. 

What We Don't Yet Know: The Details

Given the Canadian Arctic upper-level energy is still over 2,000 miles and several days away from impacting the East, it's not surprising that we can't yet hone in on any details about this potential coastal storm.

In general, bigger Northeast snowstorms typically result when some combination of an intense, slow-moving low tracks close enough to the coast with enough cold air either in place or being reinforced from eastern Canada.

(MORE: First Week of 2018 Was the Coldest on Record in Dozens of Cities)

This far out in time, though, it's too soon to tell how much moisture the early, more southern energy will have to work with, and where the coastal low will track, how strong it will become and how fast it will move.

Because of that, we can't yet determine regarding the eastern and southern states:

  • How much snow will fall, and where.
  • If any rain may fall near the coast.
  • How much wind may occur.
  • How far south and east wintry precip may occur.
  • How much, if any, ice could occur over Texas and Louisiana. 

(MORE: Where Winter Weather Has Been Most Extreme So Far)

In short, this system could be anything from a light, quickly moving snow event to a more impactful snowstorm for at least parts of the Northeast and New England. We could also see either rain, ice or snowfall in parts of the South, or nothing at all. 

For the time being, our forecast maps below indicate the areas where we generally expect snow Tuesday and Wednesday. There is also some potential for snow to linger into Thursday if the system moves slower.

This isn't something you need to alter plans for yet.

Rather, keep it in mind and check back with us at in the coming days as the forecast details become clearer. 

Tuesday's Outlook

Wednesday's Outlook

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