Meteorologists are keeping an eye on a weather system that has a 40 percent chance of dropping snow on New York City later this week.
Computer models suggest the system coming out of the Great Lakes has the potential to strengthen along the East Coast later this week and bring more snow on the Northeast by week’s end, said Tim Morrin, a National Weather Service meteorologist at Upton, New York.
“But it is way too early to quantify it,” Morrin said. “There is not much confidence yet.”
New York was struck by a Dec. 26 storm that dropped 20 inches (51 centimeters) of snow, stranding vehicles, disrupting travel and leaving ambulances unable to reach the sick. The storm forced the cancellation of almost 8,000 airline flights across the U.S.
Morrin said the weather service wanted to give residents of the area warning that the potential exists for another storm this week. However, he stressed that there is a lot of uncertainty in the forecast.
“When you see the signs and the pieces you start to put the word out to give people an idea,” he said.
Boston currently has the best chance of receiving snow from this storm, said Paul Walker, a senior meteorologist with private forecaster AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania.
He said New York may miss being affected by the storm, although many of the factors that determine snowfall totals can change in the next 72 hours.
Most large storms that leave a lot of snow in the U.S. Northeast come out of the Gulf of Mexico, not the Great Lakes, as this system may, Morrin said.
Storms that follow the lakes track usually only bring 5 inches to 6 inches of snow, said Michael Schlacter of Weather 2000 Inc. in New York.
“They tend to be fast movers,” said Schlacter, a commercial forecaster.
Meteorologists need to get better information from their computers to give a better forecast, said Travis Hartman, energy weather manager at commercial forecaster MDA EarthSat Weather in Rockville, Maryland.
“Some measurable snow continues to be indicated by some of the model guidance, but not by any means the blockbuster type of event seen with the last storm,” Hartman said.