Weekend Storm & Cold Update

ECMWF Model (Euro) Snowfall Forecast

ECMWF Model (Euro) Snowfall Forecast Through Sunday Night (Click To Enlarge)

Not going to make any changes to the forecast at this point.   Still some things that could bust snow amounts (that usually goes without saying).  Some of the modeling is suggesting that there could be a lull or lulls in the snow tonight.  Areas of light snow and flurries will get going later this morning into the afternoon, and become a bit steadier as the day goes on.  Many places will have an inch or two of new snow on the ground by this evening.  Things that will affect how much snow we end up with include how long the lulls in the snow are tonight (if they occur), where the low pressure trough tailing behind this storm lines up, and how much snowfall is focused along that trough.  This is related to exactly where the storm tracks as it rapidly deepens offshore.

Any lingering snow in New England/southeastern NY will end from west to east during Sunday, except across parts of northern New England (especially Maine) and maybe Cape Cod, where areas of snow will linger into Sunday night.  Temperatures will fall through the teens during the day Sunday and some places will hit the single numbers before the end of the day.  Strong, gusty wind will push wind chills to -10 to -20 Sunday afternoon.  Lows Sunday night/Monday morning will be below zero across most of the region and it will still be windy.  Wind chills Sunday night will drop to -25 to -35 degrees across southern New England!  This can produce frostbite in 20 minutes.

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Updated Snowfall Forecast For The Weekend

Click To Enlarge

Click To Enlarge

Here is an updated snowfall forecast for the weekend.  You can see by the sharp gradients on this forecast map that if the storm is just a little closer or further away from the coast than currently projected, snowfall amounts where you are could be materially different than what is anticipated at this time (i.e. take this and all snowfall forecasts with a grain of salt).  The rest of the forecast from yesterday stays pretty much the same, except for the Tuesday night/Wednesday storm, which the models are now taking mostly or completely out to sea.  They may or may not try to bring that one back in after they are done handling the weekend situation.  We will look at that more closely as we get closer to it.  Blowing & drifting snow and bitter cold wind chills will be problems Sunday.

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Checklist: Earmuffs, Gloves, Scarf, Roof Rake, Shovel, Wood………

(Not necessarily in that order).

GFS Forecast 1 PM EST Saturday

GFS Forecast 1 PM EST Saturday (Click To Enlarge)

GFS Forecast 7 AM EST Sunday (Click To Enlarge)

GFS Forecast 7 AM EST Sunday (Click To Enlarge)

It’s been quite a winter so far and it looks like it’s going to get worse before it gets better.  We have some scattered areas of snow and flurries around today being kicked off by an approaching arctic front and mid-level trough.  Low pressure will start to take shape over us and deepen over the ocean tonight, but it will be too far away to get us with it’s increasing snow shield.  As a result, we can expect anywhere from a dusting to an inch or two of snow through most of the region by the time the last flurries end this evening/early tonight.  Best chance for the highest amounts would be in some of the northwest hills/Berkshires.  As the low deepens offshore a stiffening northwest wind will develop tonight into Friday.  This wind will pull arctic air into the region tonight, dropping low temperatures into the single numbers in many places as wind chills will drop below zero.  Some shore points will hold close to or just above 10 degrees tonight, and some cold spots (like the Berkshires) will drop below zero on the thermometer.  Friday will be sunny and dry, but not a fun day to be outside.  Highs won’t get out of the teens (single numbers in parts of MA and points north) and wind-chills will be below zero thanks to a northwest wind coming at us at 15-25 mph, with gusts over 30 mph.  This is all just a primer for the weekend, though.

Low pressure (see #2 on the images) will again be moving down from the northwest on Valentine’s Day (Saturday).  Aided and abetted by ample mid-level dynamics (see #1 on the images) this system will explode into a major storm after it crosses the coast and taps the Atlantic moisture.  The $64 question is how much of this moisture will get thrown back on us?  A situation like this can change materially between now and Saturday.  At this time (Thursday morning) it looks like a 3″-6″ type snowfall event for much of the region Saturday afternoon into Sunday morning.  (The start time would be before noon Saturday for northwestern areas).  This is only an early estimate though, and likely to change.    There is the potential for much more snow than this – especially across portions of eastern New England.  It will all depend on exactly where the center of this storm is when it starts to explode.  Regardless of what we see for snowfall from that system, as it deepens offshore, a bitter, driving northwest wind will take over across the region later Saturday night and Sunday.  Temperatures Sunday are likely to drop during the day, into/through the teens and single numbers.  Sunday afternoon looks like the most uncomfortable weather we’ve seen in some time, with temperatures within a few degrees of 10 in many spots and a northwest wind at 20-40 mph, with gusts over 50 mph in some cases.  This will produce wind chill factors of -10 to -20 degrees Sunday afternoon!  Frostbite can occur on exposed skin in 30 minutes at -20.

Also – yet another storm system is progged to affect us Tuesday night into Wednesday.  The models suggest at this time that enough milder air will be drawn up with this system so that it will not be all snow everywhere.  Looks like there will be some mixing involved, based on the current track.  Considering the amount of weight on roofs across the region now and a number of roof and building collapses already reported (especially in eastern MA), if we add additional weight via an accumulation of ice or liquid that could be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back for a number of other buildings.  If you have a significant amount of snow on your roof now and a roof rake, today or Saturday would probably be the best times to try to get some of it off, as Friday & Sunday will be bitter, and the amount of snow we get Saturday PM into Sunday AM is still questionable.  If you don’t have a rake though, don’t even think about trying to climb up there.  Definitely a bad move.

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Cold Waves & Snow Threats Will Continue

GFS Model Forecast For 10 PM EST Thursday

GFS Model Forecast For 10 PM EST Thursday (Click To Enlarge)

The upper air pattern that has been established will continue to provide fresh doses of artic air to the northeast and coastal storm development as one deepening trough after another swings down from Canada into the eastern half of the U.S.  Our next chance for snow comes Thursday & Thursday night as a developing surface low slides out to our south & east.  Initially, this system did not look like it would produce much snow for us, and then the models began to trend snowier.  However, the most recent guidance is suggesting that it will get going a little too far away to bring big snow back to the area.  Instead, it looks more like a 1″-3″ type event (some areas less, but maybe 6″ on parts of Cape Cod), beginning Thursday morning in northwestern areas and Thursday P.M. further south & east.  The snow should taper off during Thursday night and be replaced with a stiffening northwest wind as the storm deepens well offshore.  Bitter, arctic air will be with us for Friday & the weekend.  Friday will be windy and many places will not get out of the teens.

A similar scenario looks likely for the weekend, with a coastal storm developing a bit far out, perhaps brushing us with some fringe snow and followed by bitter wind chills Sunday.  Based on the current guidance, it looks like Nova Scotia and the Canadian Maritimes may get hit hard by both of these next two coastal storms.  Also please note that slight changes in the positioning of these coastals would mean the difference between flurries/nothing and significant snow for our region, so although the next two do not look like direct hits at this time, modeling will fluctuate during the next few days and both situations bear watching, especially considering the amount of weight already on rooftops across the region.

1:38 PM Note: New European Model run still putting out 6″+ for much of southern New England and 12″+ for much of east, coastal New England & the eastern half of Maine with the weekend system.

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Current Snow Depth

Snow Depth NE 021015 (Shaded) JPG

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Snow Depth NE 021015 (Numbers)

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Current snow depth has reached 30″-40″ across portions of eastern MA and southern VT.  Parts of CT have 2-2.5 feet on the ground.  Roof and building collapses have been reports in parts of New England.

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CT Snowfall Amounts

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Click To Enlarge

This is what we ended up with from our latest snowfall event.  Mixed precipitation to the south kept amounts lower there.

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Snow Update

Radar 10:56 A.M. EST

Radar 10:56 A.M. EST (Click To Enlarge)

Batches of snow of varying intensities will continue to move across the region over the next few hours, but should taper by later this afternoon.  There may still be some lingering flurries around tonight.  Recent snowfall reports include 6.0″ in Meriden, CT, no accumulation in Milford, CT, 6.0″ in Union, CT, 2.75″ in Norwich, CT, 7.0″ in Hartford, CT, 12.1″ in Boston, MA, 19.8″ in North Weymouth,

Radar 10:59 A.M. EST (Click To Enlarge)

Radar 10:59 A.M. EST (Click To Enlarge)

MA, 13.3″ in Fitchburg, MA, and 4.0″ in Pawtucket, RI.  Most areas of CT are looking at the potential for another coating to 3″ by the time all is said and done.

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Snowfall Forecast & Timetable

Snowfall Forecast 020815

Click To Enlarge

There is very little in the way of organized precipitation in the northeast as of noon.  By late afternoon into this evening areas of snow (and some mixed precipitation in parts of southern CT, southern RI, Long Island, NY City, and NJ) will increase in coverage a bit.  The precipitation will tend to get a bit steadier during tonight.  Colder air will also be seeping southward tonight, changing the mixed precipitation to snow through most of southern New England.  Mixing will continue on Long Island and in NY City and points south, significantly limiting snow accumulations in those areas, however slick conditions will be a problem in those spots as temperatures fall below freezing tonight there and remain below freezing Monday.  It will snow during much of the day Monday (mixed precip. NYC, Long Island & part of NJ), with the snow tapering to flurries Monday night.  It looks like a good chunk of New England will pick up 6″-12″ of new snow between now and Tuesday morning, with 3″-6″ amounts probably more common in southern CT, southeastern NY, and parts of southeastern New England.  There are indications that the highest amounts will fall in parts of eastern MA, including the Boston area, where there could be as much as 12″-18″ before all is said and done.

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The Saturday-Tuesday Situation

GFS Model Forecast For 7 PM EST Monday. (#1 is the northern branch of the steering flow, #2 is the southern branch).

GFS Model Forecast For 7 PM EST Monday. (#1 is the northern branch of the steering flow, #2 is the southern branch). Click To Enlarge

After a brief respite, arctic air will be taking back over, dropping temperatures through the 20′s this afternoon (as the sky clears) and into the teens this evening, with wind chills by then near 0.  Tonight will be frigid with lows in the single numbers above & below zero, but the wind should gradually ease.  Friday will be dry & cold with a mix of sun & clouds.  After that, we will have some more bouts of snow to deal with.

An small batch of moisture sliding in from the west-northwest will result in some light snow Saturday afternoon/night.  At this point, it looks like there could be up to an inch or two from that.  With a front and elongated area of weak low pressure to our south and cold, high pressure to our north, another period of snow appears to be in the cards Sunday, enhanced by overrunning that at this point looks like it would result in several inches of accumulation.  The final piece in this puzzle takes shape Monday into early Tuesday.  Low pressure will be getting organized offshore and is likely to directly or indirectly throw some more snow our way.  This has the potential to be the largest of the next three events, but is also the farthest out in time and there are still differences in the modeling.  The European Model (ECMWF) is very bullish with snow during that period and actually puts out over a foot in parts of southern New England just during Monday-early Tuesday.  The GFS is skimpier with amounts, but still has accumulating snow across the region.  The Canadian Model (GEM) is also more skeptical of amounts than the Euro.  So, it is still 4-5 days out, but at this time it seems likely that there will be a third round of accumulating snow then, it will probably be enough to shovel again, but it’s too early to put numbers on it.  One of the factors that argues against the Monday/Tuesday system being a blockbuster for us, is that the steering flow aloft will be in a split-flow (see #1 & #2 on image above).  It is more likely to get a huge storm when the two branches of the jet phase together, but that doesn’t look to be the case here.  Nonetheless, you can still get a decent amount of snow from it, so it’s worth watching closely.

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Morning Snow Update

 

Radar 7:34 AM EST

Radar 7:34 AM EST

Snow will taper off from west to east across southern New England between 11:00 AM-1:00 PM, except a little later than that across coastal areas of MA, and not until late afternoon/early evening across outer Cape Cod. Accumulations will be mostly between a coating and 2″, with a few places seeing as much as 3″. Portions of central New England, including the Berkshires will see 3″-6″.  Temperatures are moderate this morning – some towns are even above freezing, but they will fall throughout the day and tonight will be frigid!

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