I usually don’t like to go in-depth with a storm that is 5+ days away but there is a storm threat developing for the February 4th-6th period that I believe needs to be addressed just so people know the threat is there for a potentially major storm system to impact next Tuesday-Thursday
The models over the past several days have been showing a VERY STRONG storm signal somewhere between the Great Lakes and eastern Seaboard for February 4th-6th, this storm should it develop, which is expected at this time will have a ton of moisture to work with as the sub tropical jet stream is beginning to ramp up.
The beginning stages of what could be the biggest winter storm of the season so far is a shift in the overall pattern over the US, as we see a change in the overall jet stream structure, at first this change will lead to some rather mild weather this weekend with finally temperatures going above average for a few days, specifically Saturday and Sunday as a series of weak storm systems track to our north and west
This is todays weather pattern which we see features the same theme we’ve been seeing for a lot of January so far, a ridge in the west and trough in the eastern 2/3rds of the nation, but we can see falling heights over the western US
By the weekend we see a broad trough over much of the country with a very weak Southeast ridge signal, again initially it will start off quite warm but as the pattern settles in we will see a tight temperature gradient form over the east with a battle between the Polar vortex to the north/ trough to the west and a bit of a ridge to the south, these patterns tend to be very storm for the eastern and Central US especially with a active sub tropical jet stream but can also be volatile with storm tracks.
In this particular situation we will have a cold front come through on Sunday with rain showers, the front will then be forced to stall over the southern Mid Atlantic as a result of the changing pattern, this will first bring a potential wave of snow/mix on Monday which has potential for a light to modest winter event, this is not the main event and details will be ironed out as we get closer.
Now im going to jump straight to Tuesday, we see a storm developing over the southern Plains, THIS is the storm threat, we can see a nice ridge right along the west coast, a broad trough from the Rockies to Northeastern US and a very slight southeast / Atlantic ridge signal, we will have a strong sub tropical jet stream, and a polar disturbance interact somewhere between the Plains and the southeast, the timing of this interaction is KEY , if they phase/interact over the southern Plains this would feature an intensifying low pressure over the southern plains, with rising heights along the east coast and a storm track somewhere in between the Appalachians and Great Lakes which would be a warm storm with snow/ice to a warm wind-driven heavy rain, however if they interact a bit farther east, instead of seeing a Great Lakes Cutter (which the models have backed off on for now, otherwise id show an image) we get something like this
A storm that instead develops over the southeastern US and tracks up the coast, and with copious amounts of Gulf moisture entrained this would be a very large storm tracking up the eastern seaboard, and lead to a very large winter storm with heavy amounts of snow/ice most likely for the region
Either track is very possible right now but given the pattern I do believe we see a major storm somewhere over the eastern US, both tracks would have significant impact regardless, the more west storm track means the threat of snow and ice especially the interior which will gradually turn to a heavy wind-driven rain with rapidly rising temperatures and possible flooding issues, the eastern track would potentially lead to the biggest winter storm thus far this season, which is saying a lot. I cannot come out with possible snow amounts or rain amounts yet as again this is a volatile pattern and the storm track will determine everything which is highly variable right now.
I will track this storm in the coming days and try to have more details out for the weekend, just keep the threat in mind.