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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Safety Alert: Major US Winter Storm Headed to East Coast-Blizzard Conditions Predicted

NJ: State of Emergency Declared-State Offices Closed - Click here to read the announcement (1-26-15)

With an impending major winter storm headed for the northeast, workers and employers should review the precautions issued by the US Center for Disease.

A clipper system will evolve into a coastal storm bringing snow from the Ohio Valley to the northeastern states.

The amplified pattern across the nation will continue which features a broad upper trough extending over the eastern half of the U.S. Meanwhile, a rex block is expected across the West which indicates a ridge is bounded to the south by a closed upper low. The deep upper trough stretching from the Great Plains eastward to the Eastern Seaboard will allow a series of disturbances to dig through the Ohio/Tennessee Valleys and eventually into the Mid-Atlantic. The initial system which spread wintry precipitation to sections of the Northeast is departing into the Canadian Maritimes. While snow has ended across New England, gusty winds continue given the strength of the surface cyclone. In its wake, a very brief lull in the pattern is noted with the next system currently advancing through the Middle Mississippi Valley. This clipper system will initially be rather moisture deprived which is the typical nature of these systems. 

This should spread an area of 2 to 6 inches of snow to the Ohio Valley. As the upper trough amplifies across the lower Tennessee Valley on Sunday evening, a coastal low is forecast to develop which will significantly increase the moisture available to the storm. This will ultimately raise the snowfall totals across the Mid-Atlantic along with the southern half of New England. Currently, the WPC winter weather desk is expecting 4 to 8 inches over the Maryland Panhandle into southern Pennsylvania while a swath of 6 to 12 inches will be possible from New Jersey up to eastern Massachusetts. 

All amounts are through Tuesday morning with snow continuing to fall across the Upper Mid-Atlantic and New England afterward. In addition to the heavy snow prospects, a tightening pressure gradient will lead to gusty winds which may bring blizzard conditions to sections of the affected area. Over the Central U.S., expect well above normal temperatures to prevail across Northern Rockies along with the Great Plains region. This is in response to a persistent downslope flow which will significant warm the surface temperatures east of the higher terrain. 

The current forecast anomalies suggest readings of 20 to 30 degrees above normal which would translate to highs nearing 70 across the Central High Plains on Monday. Elsewhere in the nation, a secondary clipper system is expected to cross the Upper Great Lakes spreading light snowfall accumulations on Monday. 

Looking to the southwestern states, the earlier mentioned closed low will lift northward from the subtropical East Pacific. Enhanced moisture combined with strong vertical lift will spread a hefty batch of rainfall to the Desert Southwest on Monday and Tuesday. Widespread rainfall amounts of 0.25 to 0.50 inches are likely with heavier amounts in the local terrain.