Winter Storm To Pound Region

Accumulating Snow Likely Through Wednesday Afternoon

Robert Suhr
March 20, 2018 - 9:01 am

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UPDATED 8pm 3/20/18

PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - Ok, here we go.

The forecasting part of this storm is pretty much over. Now we simply wait and see.

After a brief lull in the action this evening and early tonight, as the first system departs...system #2 will roll through to the south as a pretty healthy storm...

Most media outlets have settled on an accumulation today of between 2-7 inches across the region (this includes the Laurels).

The National Weather Service in Pittsburgh likes 4-6 inches...I do as well...

Accu-Weather also has Pittsburgh on the edge of 3-6 inches and 6-10 inches...so let's call it 4-7 inches...

The heaviest snowfall is expected while you’re sleeping, and unfortunately while you're on your way to work Wednesday morning...

The Eastern Region of the National Weather Service also likes Pittsburgh to receive an additional 4-6 inches on top what fell Tuesday afternoon...but you don’t have to go far to jump the totals up quite significantly...

The thing to remember with this storm is it's a CLOSED LOW, these can be notoriously hard to forecast, and sometimes computer models have trouble with them. This is one of the reasons I think we saw such a huge spread of accumulation possibilities over the past few days.

I can't stress how sensitive the track of the storm is in regards to who sees the best snow totals, I know you hear that all the time from meteorologists but it really is true. When you're dealing with a track shift in the *dozens* of miles, that could mean the difference between 4 or 10 inches of snow. 

The best way I can explain it is this way...if your local meteorologist says your area can expect a quarter of an inch of rain and you happen to get a half inch of rain because the track shifts slightly, no one really notices, everything's just wet. But when you're talking snowfall amounts, that (plus or minus) quarter of an inch of liquid could mean the difference between 3 and 8 inches of snow...people DO NOTICE that.

There is going to be a very tight gradient with this system...I think if you're north of I-80, you could see little if anything. The toughest place to forecast is the area between Route 422 and I-70.

The accumulations will also depend on where (or if) the deformation band of snow sets up. That band has the potential to make or break some forecasts.

I can promise someone will be upset with whatever happens...either they got too much or not enough snow...let's all chill out here...there will always be another storm.

Enjoy the snow...it may be the last big storm for a long, long time.

At least someone might enjoy the fresh flakes...