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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Classic coastal New England "bomb" is the talk of the region

Across New England both north and south, the storm has now been engrained into our subconsious either via every media outlet imaginable or simply through general conversation even with the non-powder hounds. If you haven't heard about the storm by now, your life is probably like Tom Hanks in Castaway spending most of your days talking to a volleyball. Yes sir, the hype machine is running full blast, especially in the Boston media market where folks take pride in big snows and often try and compete with my memory regarding historic snows from years gone by. Certainly southern New England has a lot to talk about with this upcoming classic coastal New England "Bombogenesis" and feeding the frenzy has been some short term the high resolution models spitting out over exaggerated snow totals of historic proportions.

Us VT and MRG powder hounds simply want a good snow and would be willing to travel to enjoy it. For big city locations like Boston and NYC, the talk regarding the "worst" of the storm (the "best" of the storm from my perspective) has centered around the timing of Friday night into Saturday. This is a bit different from the timing discussed in the last update but for us the timing for snow is slightly different. The storm will initially consist of two distinct areas of low pressure, the first is a formidable system in the Midwest and the other being the developing coastal low in the Carolinas. Moisture from the initial Midwest storm will actually reach Vermont first and reach Vermont rather quickly. Snow should begin within a few hours of Midnight Friday and fall at a light to moderate rate through the early morning allowing a few inches to fall by first tracks time Friday. By midday Friday the coastal low will begin to consolidate the storms energy off the coast and subsequently proceed its explosive deepening, perhaps to sub-985 mb before moving out over the open Atlantic. The eventual track of this coastal low is critical for our snow totals. The general consensus from the latest round of models shows the storm tracking east of Cape Cod by less than 100 miles. Such a track places the heaviest snow in the Berkshires to Southern Vermont to the underrated Monadnock region of New Hampshire. As the storm consolidates, it may refocus some of the heaviest snow south of MRG for a time but because the storm is so strong, we should see a good piece of the action with light to moderate to occasionally heavy snow throughout Friday. I would keep accumulation totals in the 10-20 range right now while snow totals could top 2 feet in the aforementioned areas to our south and east. If the storm track shifts even 50 miles northwest, it would place MRG in the grasp of the 2-foot plus snow totals.

Snow should continue at varying intensities into the overnight hours Friday helping us reach the projected 10-20 inch range. Aside from flurries Saturday morning, most of the day will be precipitation free and simply a little blustery. Temperatures will be in the teens Saturday but will rebound well into the 20's Sunday after a very cold Saturday night. We have been very concerned about the effects of the "evil empire" and temperatures could certainly challenge the freezing mark Monday of next week. The threat of a major thaw early next week has dropped considerably however as it now appears the Jet Stream will be quickly suppressed after Monday. Yes, we could see some mixed precipitation and a short duration of above freezing temperatures but nothing that will melt a large amount of snow in a short time. The balance of the week also features an improved forecast. Although temperatures could still be in the above category, they should remain generally below freezing. Furthermore, models have sporadically hinted at a storm in the middle to later part of next week from the newly activated southern branch of the jet. I remain a little skeptical of this but am nonetheless delighted to see the colder scenario win out. I also don't think the southern branch is done with its magic even if the action next week doesn't pan out.

Heading toward the Presidents day holiday, the weather picture is also starting to attain at least a hazy look and a somewhat familiar one. There are, unfortunately, indications of a a mid-latitude Pacific ridge. There is action underneath this ridge however indicating potentially vibrant southern branch of the jet stream as mentioned. The ridge in the mid-latitude Pacific will compete with some strong ridging, perhaps even a block, across the Davis Straits and Greenland. The ridging may even extend to the North Pole thus tilting the AO in the negative direction. The results of this configuration should favor the activity in the western United States but the signal from the ensemble indicates a more broad array of action extending even to the central and northeast United States. If the blocking in Greenland can establish itself, it could make for an interesting week.

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