What 2 Watch 4

Watching the Onion Sports Dome tonight, so there’s a play on SportsCenter. A couple things to watch. As the annoying snow/ice/sleet/rain storm exits the Northeast tonight, attention focuses on the next two systems. The first one looks to bring a quick hitting shot of snow in a couple days, followed by a much stronger and larger system next week, who’s ultimate fate remains to be seen.

GFS Forecast for Friday Morning, credit: PSU E-Wall (http://www.meteo.psu.edu/~gadomski)

A very quick moving system will swing through the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Thursday night and exiting Friday afternoon. The map to the left shows the GFS forecast for Friday morning, which has a pocket of moderate to heavy precip in Central Jersey and just south of Long Island. This is a pretty cut and dry situation, with the system sliding through. The only final question is on track. Once that’s in line, we can pin down amounts and locations. Right now it appears that there will be a solid stripe of 2-4″, surrounded by lighter amounts. At this point, the models pin it north of the Mason-Dixon Line and northwest of I-95. So Philly-NYC expect roughly 2-4″ right now. There is the chance it could be closer to 5-6″ in spots, but this will not be a major storm. Then, as the storm blows up exiting the New England coastal region, we could see some heavy snow fly back toward Boston and Eastern Massachusetts. I wouldn’t be shocked to see higher amounts there. Heavy snow will also fall in western Maryland and western PA and parts of WV.

Now heading into next week, the models continue to advertise a significant East Coast event. I’m not entirely convinced this will be a big snow event for anyone in particular. The three main models (Canadian, American, and European) all show the storm. The GFS is a little more suppressed, which isn’t abnormal. So it would just be a mild snow event. The European and Canadian models are much stronger and hug the coast. So what we have here is a situation. We’re a week away and we have a storm showing up, and it could be potentially strong. We’ve got it showing up a little further west than more recent big snow events on the whole. And we have disagreements on overall track.

So, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about next week. The bottom line: Way too far out to hype this thing. It could do any number of things. It could be snow, it could be rain, it could be a mix, it could be nothing. So stay tuned!

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State of Occlusion is on Facebook! I’ll post some additional cool links, quick model status updates, and snow maps early on that page. “Like” the blog by clicking here!

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Couple Things to Watch

Been a quiet few days after the New England Blizzard. I’m also in a transitional phase of life, moving from California to the East Coast starting next weekend. So apologies for that, though there hasn’t been much to talk about either. But let’s focus on a couple things. We have a couple main stories to discuss: A mixed precip event this week, followed by more cold, and then the potential for another major East Coast storm. Let’s look them over.

Messy Mix

The map to the left (click to enlarge) shows the precipitation type being forecast by the NAM model for Tuesday (credit Wxcaster.com: http://wxcaster.com/regional_snowfall.htm). The green is rain, purple/pink is sleet, red is freezing rain/ice, and blue is snow. Notice that as the precipitation moves in and through, especially across the higher terrain north and west of the Big Cities, it starts as an icy mix, before warmer air begins to gradually flood in, changing the mix to rain. The GFS shows a similar scenario, but with more precipitation. Total amounts range from about 1/3″ to 1/2″ liquid on average. So this won’t be a crippling storm, but there could be some localized nasty travel Tuesday and Tuesday night, especially in interior NW Connecticut, parts of NY State (especially south of Albany and north of the NJ border), and possible interior western Massachusetts. Some of the valleys further east in New England could also lock in the cold air at the ground a little longer and may see some localized issues. This looks more like an advisory level event rather than a warning level event. But keep it in mind if you’re traveling Tuesday or Tuesday night.

It will then stay rather cold heading through next weekend. The models seem to have backed off in the last couple days on how serious the cold will be, but it still looks relatively cold for the time being.

European model forecast for next weekend: Credit - http://raleighwx.americanwx.com

Then we have to watch the next area of concern. The map to your right is a forecast from this morning of the European model for next weekend. Yes, that’s a 976 mb low just east of Boston. The GFS model shows a lot of energy, but not quite the major storm scenario…for now. Both models have been showing some sort of storm possible in the Northeast around this timeframe for several runs now. What has to be watched is energy moving into the Western US later this week, likely bringing a quick bout of snow to the Intermountain Region and Rockies. As that progresses east, we’ll see if the pattern still looks ripe for storminess…but there’s a lot of energy around in the atmosphere starting late week or early weekend. This may be what is needed to generate the next round of excitement in the Northeast. Stay tuned.

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State of Occlusion is on Facebook! I’ll post some additional cool links, quick model status updates, and snow maps early on that page. “Like” the blog by clicking here!