East Coast More Likely to Be Impacted By Another Coastal Storm Early in the Upcoming Week

Linda Lam
Published: March 11, 2018

Two strong coastal storms have already hammered the East Coast this month, and there is the potential for a third early this week.

Winter Storm Riley began March with destructive winds, heavy snow and severe coastal flooding in the Northeast. Last week, Winter Storm Quinn dumped heavy snow which led to additional downed trees and power outages.

(MORE: Winter Storm Central)

The evolution of the upper-level weather pattern will determine what impacts this next system will have in the East.

An atmospheric disturbance that will cause this coastal system is currently moving through the central states. 

This disturbance will slide southeast this weekend and an area of low pressure is expected to develop as it tracks across the South. Once again, an area of low pressure will then strengthen near or off the East Coast early week.

Even though this next potential storm is only a few days away, there is still a good deal of uncertainty. Possible outcomes have ranged from a strong coastal storm in eastern New England to a system that moves out to sea and has little impact on the Northeast. 

(MORE: Superstorm 1993: 25 Years Ago Next Week)

One key difference with this upcoming storm compared to more recent events is that the blocking in the Atlantic will be weaker, which means this system will not linger along the East Coast.

However, it currently appears that at least some impacts are likely from the mid-Atlantic northward. 

The Range of Possibilities

One possible outcome will be for a strong coastal low to develop near or just off the East Coast. There is the potential for this low-pressure system to then track north-northeast close to the coast.

The result would be some coastal locations from the mid-Atlantic to New England receiving significant snow and wind, while much of the Northeast picks up light snow even well inland. This scenario, even though it is the "worst case" for this system, will not be like what happened in winter storms Riley and Quinn. 

Possible scenarios for the upcoming coastal system.

Another possibility is for the area of low pressure to move offshore without tracking close to the Northeast. In this case, only light snow and breezy conditions would be expected along the coast. 

The most likely scenario, however, is somewhere in between the red and green arrows on the map above.

Early Week Forecast

Areas from eastern Kentucky and eastern Tennessee into Virginia, western North Carolina and West Virginia will see some intensifying snow or a mix of rain and snow Sunday night into Monday.

Winter storm warnings are currently in effect across parts of the central and southern Appalachians for the possibility of heavy snow, reduced visibilities and dangerous driving conditions Sunday night into Monday.


Current winter watches, warnings and advisories

(MAPS: Weekly Planner)

On Monday night, snow will likely begin to develop across much of the Northeast, with the potential for some rain mixing in with the snow near the immediate coast. Snow could be heavier in spots near the New England Coast.


Monday's Forecast

On Tuesday, the highest chance for moderate to locally heavy snow will be found in parts of eastern New England, while the interior Northeast will see snow showers.

The National Weather Service has issued winter storm watches in eastern New England, including Boston, Providence, Rhode Island, and Portland, Maine.


Tuesday's Forecast

Snow will remain possible in northern New England and northern New York Tuesday night and possibly early Wednesday.

(MORE: You Got Feet of Snow and Those 20 Miles Away Received Just a Few Inches)

Although it is still too soon for a snowfall forecast for this system, generally light to moderate snowfall accumulation is currently anticipated. However, depending on the exact track and strength of this system, moderate to locally heavy snow cannot be ruled out, particularly in eastern New England.


Snowfall Outlook

Be sure to check back to weather.com for updates on this complicated system.


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