Winter Takes A New Year Nap

You’ll notice almost a hint of spring in the air during the final day of 2010 & the first day of 2011. This will be due to a high pressure ridge and associated mild air over New England, somewhat of a readjustment of the pattern in the wake of the big winter storm of a few days ago.

But will this milder weather last? It does not appear so. Most reliable indicators point to a rapid return to the pattern we have been in during recent weeks, with a blocking high pressure area over northeastern Canada and Greenland, and a low pressure trough over eastern Canada. This setup supplies the US Northeast with frequent spells of colder than normal temperatures. If the blocking is too strong, storms tend to miss us to the south. If the blocking is a bit weaker, the threat of storms increases. It’s a little too early to be sure what type of precipitation pattern we’ll be in during this next round of blocking, but at least the early part of the stretch is likely to be drier versus stormy.

When will the cold air return? It will begin to arrive behind a cold front which will pass through the region on  Sunday. The air ahead of and along this front will be warm enough so that any shower activity with the front will be in the form of rain. After the front goes by, some lingering moisture with colder air will provide a threat of snow showers Sunday night. At this time, any snow is not expected to cause travel problems, though we must always be on the lookout for a heavier snow shower or squall during this time of year when cold air is moving into the region.

The balance of next week looks as if it will be colder & drier than normal, with a fairly peristent west to northwest flow of air over New England.

Happy 2011 to everybody!

Tranquil, milder end to 2010…

The storm’s gone. The winds, cold, & blowing snow have eased. What is being called “The Blizzard of 2010” is now history, though it was certainly not a blizzard, by definition, everywhere. In  Boston, it was. Areas further south especially along the coast saw some mixing and rain, which cut down snow amounts, and obviously took away from true blizzard conditions. Snowfall amounts in Greater Boston were generally 10 to 19 inches, with the higher amounts of 18.2 inches and 19.2 inches reported at Boston and Saugus, respectively. Here in Woburn, I recorded 15.5 inches of snow, which melted down to 1.30 inch of precipitation.

Tuesday was a windy & cold but very bright & sunny day. This has set the stage for a stretch of quiet weather to close out 2010. The final 3 days of the calendar year will feature sun & clouds along with a trend toward milder temperatures. Thursday & Friday should see high temperatures exceeding 40. As we get to First Night, the temperature in Boston may still be near 40 early, coasting into the 30s later, but certainly not as cold as it can be and has been. The weather will be favorable with no rain or snow, and generally light wind.

The first day of 2011 on Saturday is expected to be mostly sunny & mild as a ridge of high pressure builds right over us. We could see a high temperature of 50 or even slightly over, despite snowcover, which tends to temper warmups.

The next chance of precipitation will come in the form of rain showers as a cold front crosses the region on Sunday.

Tomorrow, we’ll look into next week to see if the milder weather pattern will last, or is only temporary.

Enjoy these few days of more pleasant early winter weather! But be alert if you are out in the early morning hours for icy patches as melting snow refreezes overnight.

Late Night Update

Hi all! Just a quick update on the storm. The intensifying low pressure area responsible for the heavy snow & strong wind over most of eastern MA will be drifting northeastward, just southeast of Cape Cod through early Monday morning. The line of mixed precip (sleet & rain) that was along the coast almost to Boston but mainly over the South Shore has started to go back the other way and will make its way toward the Cape Cod Canal and eventually across Cape Cod as the precipitation tapers off during the early to mid morning.

The heaviest snow bands are in the 128 belt as we approach midnight. This will likely be the jackpot area with 16 to 19 inches in most of this region. Again, a few spot heavier amounts may occur but most places will be under 20 inches ranging down to around a foot. There has been somewhat less as you head west toward the CT River Valley, but other bands of heavier snow in the Worcester Hills & the Berkshires. Areas that have stayed all snow have seen a mostly dry, fluffy snow, lower in water content and easier to remove, though some significant drifting has occurred due to strong northeast to north winds.

Here in Woburn, after a lull in the snow during the 7pm hour, we’ve been experiencing moderate to heavy snow and occasional white-out conditions since about 8pm.

The heaviest snow will continue to fall overnight, tapering off shortly after dawn. Lingering snow will continue through the morning with a few flurries possible early in the afternoon Monday before it’s all over. The sky may even start to clear from the west toward sunset Monday as we dig out.

Even though the snow will be done by afternoon, expect some additional blowing & drifting snow due to strong wind gusts from the N to NW on Monday.

A blog entry later Monday will talk a little about snow amounts and other storm effects, and a look ahead to the final days of 2010.

Storm Update #2

The only change, and this doesn’t impact inland areas, is that the entire storm is trending a bit colder, which means there is less of a chance of any mix/rain getting involved unless you’re over far southeastern MA and especially the Cape & Islands. This is a drier, fluffier snow solution, and will allow most of the area to get 12-20 inches, with a slight risk of spotty heavier amounts. The storm is underway, obviously, and will peak during a 12-hour period starting about 7pm & ending about 7am, with the heaviest snow & strongest wind likely to come shortly after midnight. As stated earlier, some snow will linger through the day tomorrow, with small additional accumulation.

I hope everybody is safely where they need to be for the night. If you don’t have to travel tomorrow morning, it would be a good idea to stay put until the snow tapers and the road crews catch up. I, myself, am not so lucky. I have to be at work. Enjoy the storm everybody! Update coming later tonight…

Storm Update #1

Looking over things this morning shows me that things are generally on track with what is expected from the upcoming storm. We’ve had snow falling over alot of MA, but it’s not really from the main storm system. There was an old storm and energy moving through the Ohio Valley on Christmas Day, north of the energy that is forming the new storm. That first batch is over us now, but looking at the radar loops, you can pick out snow moving over us from west to east, and also another plume of snow moving from east to west. That tells me we’re seeing a combination of the old energy along with some ocean-effect snow. That’s responsible for the coating of snow we’ve already seen, but is not part of the main storm. That storm is now redeveloping off the South Carolina Coast. Thunderstorms down there are clear evidence of the birth of the new low pressure area.

From here, the key will be the exact track of that low pressure center. It will be coming northward obviously, but when it gets closer to here, the placement of it will determine exactly who gets what, and how much. So far my thoughts of yesterday remain pretty much intact. There will be a good deal of rain over Cape Cod, and mixing over southeastern MA, but how close that mix area gets to  Boston will be determined by the placement of a coastal front. This is a boundary you often see set up during these kinds of storms where just to the east the temperature is milder (near 32 or even higher, for example), and snow will be very wet there and often mix with or turn to sleet and rain). Just to the west of this coastal front you will see a very sharp drop off in temperature, a wind out of the northeast to north, much drier snow, which can fall very heavily. This boundary can move, and usually does. But it can be erratic, so watching it is really all you can do, with radar and surface observations. I’m pretty sure we’ll be dealing with this type of boundary tonight, during the height of the storm.

So for now, I’ll go with a 12 to 20 inch storm snowfall anywhere this boundary stays east of, with amounts dropping off as you go east and especially southeast to a 6-12 inch area closer to and just south of Boston, 3-6 inches over alot of southeastern MA, and 1-3 inches over Cape Cod.

I’ll send another update sometime this afternoon, sooner if needed.

Have a great Sunday & stay safe!

December Dumping

Good morning!

We are staring down the barrel of a weather gun as a powerful storm takes shape along the US Southeast Coast and begins a trip up the coast during the day today. This storm, responsible for some snow & a white Christmas in parts of the Deep South (Alabama, Mississippi, & Georgia), will spread heavy snow into New England later today through tonight, into Monday. Depending on the track of the low pressure center, some mixing with rain may occur especially along the coast from Boston south. Areas that stay all snow, and I expect most of the I-95 corridor to be included in this, will receive a foot or more of snowfall, up to 20 inches in some locations. Blizzard conditions are also likely in these areas Sunday night into Monday, thanks to strong northeast to north winds.

Check back for more updates Sunday!