Winter Storm Looming: Midwest and New England

A fast-moving winter storm will bring a variety of winter weather to the Midwest and New England.

The map below is the probability of four inches or more of snow from 6pm CST this evening through 6pm Friday evening:

click to enlarge

Note that this includes the Chicago airports. A number of airlines have already issued waivers. Be proactive and don’t fly into a mess. My Airline Survival Guide is here.

Farther east. freezing rain and glaze ice is possible. Here are the probabilities of 0.1″ or more of freezing rain:

Probability of a tenth of an inch or more of freezing rain. Scale above. 

AccuWeather has more on the storm here. They are calling the afternoon commute in Chicago “chaos.”

3 thoughts on “Winter Storm Looming: Midwest and New England

  1. Please tell the fine people over at AccuWeather there is no such thing as a "Near Blizzard." Ridiculous headline.

  2. Actually, here is. In this case, "near blizzard" is appropriate.

    Official NWS definition: "A blizzard means that the following conditions are expected to prevail for a period of 3 hours or longer:
    Sustained wind or frequent gusts to 35 miles an hour or greater; and
    Considerable falling and/or blowing snow (i.e., reducing visibility frequently to less than ΒΌ mile)."

    So, for example, if the winds gusted to 30 mph but the other criteria were met, it would be "nearly" a blizzard.

    I do agree with you that meteorologists in general tend to use too many "weenie" terms rather than clearly stating what we expect.

  3. Mike:

    Thanks for the reply, and you've proven my point – there is no such thing as a "Near" Blizzard.

    The NWS has a very objective definition for a blizzard. What's next, saying a Tropical Storm is "nearly" a hurricane? At 36 mph it isn't, at 74 mph it is, but where do you draw the line at "nearly"?

    It's one thing for laymen to write that sensationalistic headline, but for a meteorologist to do so is disappointing.

    Having visited Chicago numerous times for business, you don't need a snow storm to have a chaotic afternoon commute. A simple strategically placed accident will do. :)

    Keep up the good work!