Yes, This is a Christmas Miracle

Irony of ironies, almost all the models are converging on a solution. There are still uncertainties on this storm, especially regarding how far inland the significant snow goes. One model is suggesting it goes almost all the way to Pittsburgh. Another says it barely crosses the Delaware River. So that will be what needs to be worked out over the next 12-18 hours. Not going to be a very relaxing Christmas for many meteorologists in the East.

This storm has truly been remarkable to watch. It’s been all over the place, and there are a number of very well seasoned meteorologists I’ve heard from that say they have never seen anything even remotely this poor in their careers. This just serves to remind everyone that weather is a VERY inexact science…and it will always throw us curve balls. I’ve included an updated snowfall forecast map below, and like I would encourage you with any snow map you see today and tonight, take it with a grain of salt. There’s uncertainties that still cloud this forecast. The bottom line: There will be a high impact storm for most areas north and east of Baltimore. Regardless of specifics, this will be significant for a number of areas, and travel within and to the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic is going to be difficult to perhaps impossible on Sunday afternoon through Monday afternoon. There will be mixing issues along the coast of NJ, Long Island and Southeast Massachusetts. Those mixing issues could even extend inland a bit too, depending on the exact track of the storm. Any mixing will cut significantly into snowfall totals in those areas. There is the potential for higher amounts in the eastern areas of the blue color (4-8) region, again, depending on the exact track. There will be blizzard conditions when it’s snowing on the coast and possibly a bit inland.

This is a big storm, so despite the uncertainties, doubts, and changes you’ve heard of, and the jokes you may be inclined to make about “those weather people,” do take it seriously, as it will be a high impact storm that could still throw curve balls. And if you hate snow, it looks to warm up a bit with an early January thaw soon after this storm.

Click the map to enlarge.

Revised Snowfall Forecast for Christmas Weekend-Monday
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First Winter Storm of 2010-2011 in the East

I’ve always been a fan of out of season snow events. That’s not to say that mid-October is out of season in the mountains of New York and New England, but it still feels awfully early, especially when it was 102 degrees inland here in SoCal yesterday. Still it looks favorable that somewhere in the Southern Greens, Berkshires, or eastern Adirondacks above 2,000′ or so is going to end up with a pretty decent amount of early season snow. This is always an issue because with the nor’easter, you’re also going to have wind and with the water content of the snow high, this is a perfect recipe for power outages, downed tree limbs, etc.¬† Fortunately these are fairly sparsely populated areas being impacted. Additionally, this storm looks to dump a lot of rain. It looks like 1-3″ of rain on average from Eastern NY into New England. Should be a pretty dynamic storm to say the least.

There might be another brief  dose of wintry type weather, possibly some early season lake effect precipitation, as we go into next week. Either way, it looks cooler than it has been in the East.

What will be interesting is whether this is just another nor’easter or hinting at what could be a favored storm track heading into the cool season. Very often, these early storms prelude what ends up happening…not to say that this is, but it is at least worth noting. One major difference between this nor’easter and what was seen much of last year is that the heavy precip from this will fall in New England (last autumn and winter, this was displaced much further south). This is something we’ll have to keep an eye on going forward.

Winter Storm Watch for the mountains of NY, MA and VT (NWS Burlington has a policy to not issue watches just for their mountains, but the spine of the Greens could get spanked in this storm).

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE ALBANY NY
412 PM EDT THU OCT 14 2010

MAZ001-NYZ032-033-042-047-051-058-063-082-VTZ013-014-151000-
/O.NEW.KALY.WS.A.0008.101015T1200Z-101016T2200Z/
NORTHERN BERKSHIRE-NORTHERN HERKIMER-HAMILTON-NORTHERN WARREN-
SCHOHARIE-WESTERN ALBANY-WESTERN GREENE-WESTERN ULSTER-
NORTHERN FULTON-BENNINGTON-WESTERN WINDHAM-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...PITTSFIELD...NORTH ADAMS...ATWELL...
BIG MOOSE...EAGLE BAY...MCKEEVER...NOBLEBORO...NORTHWOOD...
OLD FORGE...SPECULATOR...WARRENSBURG...COBLESKILL...MIDDLEBURGH...
ALTAMONT...HUNTER...TANNERSVILLE...WINDHAM...SUNDOWN...
ELLENVILLE...WOODSTOCK...WEST HURLEY...KERHONKSON...NAPANOCH...
PHOENICIA...NORTHVILLE...MAYFIELD...BENNINGTON...JACKSONVILLE...
NEWFANE
412 PM EDT THU OCT 14 2010

...WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM FRIDAY MORNING THROUGH
SATURDAY AFTERNOON...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN ALBANY HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM
WATCH FOR ELEVATIONS ABOVE 2000 FEET...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM
FRIDAY MORNING THROUGH SATURDAY AFTERNOON ACROSS THE SOUTHERN
ADIRONDACKS...NORTHEAST CATSKILLS...AND HELDERBERGS...THE
SOUTHERN GREEN MOUNTAINS...AND NORTHERN BERKSHIRES.

RAIN IS EXPECTED TO MIX WITH...AND EVENTUALLY CHANGE TO WET SNOW
ACROSS HIGHER ELEVATIONS WITHIN THE WATCH AREA...BEGINNING FRIDAY
MORNING ACROSS THE SOUTHERN ADIRONDACKS AND NORTHEAST
CATSKILLS...AND ACROSS THE SOUTHERN GREEN MOUNTAINS AND NORTHERN
BERKSHIRES FRIDAY AFTERNOON. PERIODS OF SNOW...POSSIBLY HEAVY AT
TIMES...WILL CONTINUE INTO FRIDAY NIGHT...BEFORE GRADUALLY
TAPERING OFF SATURDAY.

THE POTENTIAL EXISTS FOR SNOWFALL ACCUMULATIONS OF 7 INCHES OR
GREATER WITHIN THE WATCH AREA. THE WEIGHT OF WET SNOW MAY BRING
DOWN TREE LIMBS...ESPECIALLY IN AREAS WHERE LEAVES REMAIN. THIS
MAY RESULT IN SOME POWER OUTAGES.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A WINTER STORM WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANT
SNOW...SLEET...OR ICE ACCUMULATIONS THAT MAY IMPACT TRAVEL.
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