Is it really going to snow?

POSTED: 4:52 PM Jan 25 2014   UPDATED: 10:56 AM Jan 27 2014
Cold as Ice
EASTERN CAROLINA -

Talk of snow has started to fly around eastern Carolina again. But with several days to go until the potential "snow day", a lot remains uncertain.

Timing:
A cold front will roll through eastern Carolina on Monday which will plunge us into Arctic air again. That cold air along with some spin in the upper-atmosphere looks to produce a coastal low. There is no debate that some of our biggest snow storms in eastern Carolina have been caused by coastal lows, and that's why meteorologists up and down the mid-Atlantic have been keeping a close watch on the set-up for Tuesday night. After Wednesday, the potential for snow goes back down.

Totals:
With the timing of the storm still being almost four days out, it is way to soon for totals. Right now, we are still talking about the chances. There is a lot of uncertainty with this future system. Models have not been agreeing on the placement of the coastal low, or the amount of moisture. Saturday models have been trending drier and have been pushing the storm farther out to sea. Right now we will keep a 30% chance of snow in the forecast for everyone. People along the coast and outer banks would be the first to see an increase snow chances as we near Tuesday, since they are closer to the ocean.

What you need to know:
Right now, snow is not a certainty. Just like a hurricane, a lot can change with the track and intensity of this coastal low in the next few days.

If the coastal low forms near the coast, we could see several inches of snow with highest totals being near the coast.  If the coastal low forms farther out to sea or it isn't able to scoop up any moisture, we could see nothing but cold air.

Not many people like to hear a forecast that is so  "all or nothing", but at this point that is the most accurate answer. As we get into Sunday and Monday we will have a much better handle on the outcome.

Either way, next week is going to be cold!

---Ellen Bacca