Mid-Atlantic Daily Snow

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By Zach Butler, Meteorologist Posted 4 months ago December 10, 2023

Storm Update - Rain Changes to Snow with Moderate Accumulations

Summary

A major storm will bring heavy rain on Sunday with a strong cold front changing rain to snow after 5 pm from the west to the east. This changeover will begin in WV and NC and occur through PA and NY after 10 pm. Snow accumulations of 1-10 inches are likely with the highest totals in WV and the Catskills, potentially reaching close to a foot in the Catskills. Monday will be a fun day to shred!

Update

Snow totals have increased in the latest forecast due to cold air moving in quicker, allowing snow to fall longer throughout the Mid-Atlantic. This storm will affect most of the Mid-Atlantic with northwestern PA and western NY seeing the weakest effects. Here are a few highlights with more timing of this storm below.

  • Heavy rain and strong winds on Sunday
  • Rain changes to snow from the west to the east after 5 PM
  • Heavy snow falls Sunday PM - Monday AM
  • Snow clears Monday AM from the west to the east
  • Light lake effect snow affects the northwestern Mid-Atlantic Monday PM - Tuesday AM
  • Snow accumulations will vary substantially by location and elevation
  • The safest bet for the heaviest snow will be in NC, WV, western MD, and the northeastern Mid-Atlantic

Sunday will be a washout as heavy rain and strong winds soak the region with around 1 inch of rain. The only locations that won't see heavy rain are northwestern PA and western NY with only light rain expected.

As rain changes to snow on Sunday evening, heavy and wet snow will accumulate quickly. This Nor'easter will move quickly to the northeast and clear most precipitation Monday morning. Northwest winds will move a few lake effect snow showers through the western Mid-Atlantic on Monday through early Tuesday morning. Most lake effect snow showers will stay in the northwestern Mid-Atlantic.

Areas of uncertainty with this storm:

  • How quickly rain changes to snow as a strong cold front moves from the west to the east
    • Any change from the forecast will affect snow accumulations drastically
  • Heavy bands of snow are expected to move through the Smokies, western Mid-Atlantic, and the northeastern Mid-Atlantic
    • Any slight change in this band will affect snow accumulations. 

Below is a look at the NAM model’s depiction of precipitation type and intensity from 3 pm Sunday, December 10th through 7 pm Monday, December 11th.

I think the NAM does a good job of showing where the heavy snow bands in WV, NC, and the northeastern Mid-Atlantic will be located and bring the most significant snow accumulations. There will be a sharp gradient in snow accumulations, caused by the cold front with this storm.

The safest bet for the heaviest snow will be in NC, WV, western MD, and the Catskills (western mountains over eastern mountains. I think the OpenSnow blend of models for each forecast point is not showing the changeover to snow soon enough, and has a low end of snow accumulations.

It is a tough forecast and snow accumulations will vary heavily in this storm. The best chance to overperform will be in the Catskills where snow totals could reach a foot. 

I'll show a couple of models forecasted snow accumulations to show you the range we are dealing with.

The National Blend of Models (NBM), NAM, HRRR, and the Euro forecasted snow accumulations from Sunday, December 10th through Monday, December 11th.

The further west you are to a certain extent there will be a higher likelihood of heavier snow accumulations. If you go too far west though, precipitation will weaken with minimal snow accumulations.

Happy skiing and riding, I will have the next forecast on Monday late morning (~10 am ish) to take a look at snow reports.

Zach Butler

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About Our Forecaster

Zach Butler

Meteorologist

Zach Butler is currently a PhD student in Water Resources Science at Oregon State University. He just finished his master's in Applied Meteorology at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. Originally from Maryland, he has grown up hiking and skiing up and down the East Coast. When not doing coursework, he enjoys cooking and exploring the pacific northwest on his bike.

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