Jan 16, 2024 - Energy & Environment

Snow drought finally ends along I-95 corridor

Picture of a snowy White House in January.

Snow falls around the White House on Jan. 15. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

The snow drought that had gripped the heavily populated corridor from Washington to New York City has ended after about two years, thanks to a winter storm along the East Coast.

The big picture: The snow is accompanying an expansive and record-breaking Arctic air outbreak that is affecting much of the Lower 48 states.

  • The Baltimore and D.C. area saw between 3 and 6 inches of snow fall Monday into Tuesday morning. The accumulation of more than one inch ended Washington's single-calendar-day snow drought that stretched back about two years.
  • Baltimore also ended its record streak of snowless days on Monday, at 716 days. Until Monday, the most recent inch of snow had accumulated on Jan. 28, 2022. Philadelphia broke its streak, too.
  • New York City broke its record-long, 701-day snowless stretch Tuesday morning, after missing the one-inch mark on Monday.

Yes, but: In an unusual occurrence, the combination of frigid temperatures and moisture moving north from the Gulf of Mexico brought more snow through Monday to the Mid-South, including Nashville, Tennessee, than the big cities along I-95 corridor received.

Between the lines: With Arctic air firmly entrenched nationwide, any storm that spins up along the East Coast is likely to produce snow or a wintry mix.

  • The next weather system forecasters are eyeing for potential snowfall is likely to come on Friday, with more light snow possible for the I-95 region all the way up to Boston.
  • The Arctic outbreak, which is associated with a piece of the polar vortex that broke off from the main circulation over the Arctic and slid southward, over the Lower 48 states, has brought a major expansion of snow cover across the U.S.
  • On Jan. 1, snow covered 20.3% of the continental U.S., a record low for the date. As of Monday, that figure had increased to 54.5%.

What's next: Another Arctic outbreak is expected to affect the Midwest, Plains and portions of the South and East late this week.

  • Computer models used to help guide forecasters are not yet in agreement regarding how cold this air mass will be, along with the regions that will see the coldest air temperatures and wind chills.
  • However, it does not look to be as long-lasting as the ongoing event.
  • "Another surge of Arctic air reaches the Plains states and Deep South by Thursday-Friday," the NWS stated on its website. "Stay tuned as the forecast continues to evolve with this upcoming surge of cold air."
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