Montreal Express! 12/11/17

Hello! I hope everyone had a great, weekend! After a long stretch of tranquil weather, the weather took a decidedly wintery turn! Many saw their first significant snowfall of the winter!

Saturday began with light snow developing during mid morning. The snow quickly ramped up and fell steadily throughout the entire day, and well into the evening.

Sunday was a scene straight out of Currier & Ives, as many Bostonians woke up to a landscape that would make Bing Crosby proud!

Yes, it was a tricky forecast when I wrote my post last Monday. The problem was computer models were not picking up on the steering currents bending back enough to bring significant snow into southern New England.

Therefore, I took the middle of the road approach, and called for the first light snowfall of between 2 and 4″ across the region.

After I made my forecast, it seemed as if the computer models further diminished the storm, and gave much of our area no snow at all!

Rather than panicking and cancelling the threat, I waited, knowing that the computer models would trend back west with the storm.

This does not happen by luck. It actually takes a bit of experience, reading a lot of technical discussions, and the knowledge to back it up!

I was quite surprised when many local forecasters removed the threat all together in Wednesday’s forecast. While computer models were showing the moisture safely remaining offshore, the overall pattern called for the steering currents to bend the precipitation back into eastern Massachusetts.

Not to pat myself on the back, but I could see that there still was potential for snow on Saturday. Sure enough, computer models began trending west with the storm on Thursday, and the talk of snow reappeared in the evening forecast.

My forecast started out with the potential of 2 to 4″ of snow on Monday, with the chance that it could increase should the storm move closer.

As it turned out, my final call on the storm Friday night, was for the Boston area to receive between 5 and 8″. Boston did receive 6.1″ with many other areas to the west of the city receiving between 7 and 8″ of snow. If you live south of Boston you saw between 3 and 5″. I was happy the forecast verified quite well!

NWS Boston in Taunton also did a fine job forecasting this storm, and provide up to date coverage on all storms. If you are on Twitter, I would recommend following them.

No one is perfect, and everyone makes mistakes from time to time. This is a imperfect science, which changes every 3 hours.

Mainly rain fell on the Cape, as the ocean was still too warm to sustain accumulating snow down there. If you live on the Cape and love a good storm, do not be dismayed, your turn will come!

Get used to this! Computer models are already giving meteorologists fits, and it’s not even officially winter, yet!

The reason? Well, I heard some blame it on budget cuts to releasing weather balloons up in Alaska. Weather balloons are critical in gathering upper air data for computer models, and it *could* be a reason why the last second change to the storm track on Saturday. Not to make excuses, but it seems plausible to me.

In addition to short range difficulties, computer models are also having trouble forecasting the exetnded outlook. For instance, some computer models keep trying to push another blowtorch Christmas into the east this year.

However, others are dropping the arctic hammer, and forecasting the coldest Christmas day in years for the east. In addition, these computer models show an active storm track, which could bring significant winter storms around the holiday this year.

What do I think? I am siding with the latter this time around. While some computer models show warm, they’re not picking up other global teleconnections which actual bring sustained cold and stormy weather to New England from now through the end of the year, including Christmas.

So this begs the question, are we going to have a White Christmas this year? It’s still two weeks out, but I say Boston has a greater than average chance at a White Christmas this year!

Typically, Boston has about a 25%, or 1 and 4 chance of at least 1″ of snow covering the ground on Christmas Day. This percentage increases dramatically if you live north and west of RT 128 and I95 to about 50%, or about 2 out of every 4.

If you live in western and northern New England, the chance is greater than 75%, or about 3 out of 4. Only if you live in northern Maine are you assured of a White Christmas. Locations such as Caribu Maine see a White Christmas 100% of the time!

Due to a surpressed jet stream, and colder than average temperatures, I will say Boston has a 75% chance of a White Christmas this year! Leading up to the holiday, I see an active storm track, with multiple chances of wintery precipitation! One computer model actual shows a big storm around the holiday itself…wouldn’t that be something!

What about for the short term? If you have lived in Boston, you may of heard of the phrase, get ready for the ‘Montreal Express’!!! What does this mean? Is it a new express train from Boston to Montreal?

Well, it’s sort of like an express train! However, you’ll be dismayed to learn that the Cold Miser is the conductor! Yes, this has all to do with Mother Nature, delivering an arctic blast from Montreal straight to Boston!

Montreal is approximately 350 miles to the northwest of Boston. as storms pass through New England and rapidly intensify, winds blow counterclockwise around the cyclone. With this wind trajectory, howling cold winds blow from the northwest to the southeast.

This is a special gift from Montreal to Boston residents during the winter months, as strong winds drive cold air directly from Montreal to Boston, given the name, Montreal Express! Many Bostonians always say you can keep your gift, we don’t want it!

I will get to my forecast in a moment, to let you know when the express arrives! But first, I would like to have a short segment of weather history.

It was on this date, back in 1992, that a historical nor’easter was battering the east coast. This was a slow moving, severe storm, which brought massive coastal flooding, hurricane force winds, and up to 4 ft of snow in interior New England!

Nearly 6″ of liquid precipitation fell in Boston, with sustained winds of 50 mph out of the northeast. As colder air drained into the storm, rain turned to heavy snow, along the coast, with many areas receiving up to 10″ of heavy water logged, wet snow.

West of Rt 128, 1 to 3 ft of snow fell, with an astonishing 4 ft on top of Mt Wachusett in Princeton, Ma…wow! I remember taking a drive out there after the storm, and being in awe at the deep snows!

Now for your ski and snow boarding forecast. I am rating this week a 8 out of 10! Yes, ski country is going to get slammed tomorrow by a rapidly developing winter storm! Thereafter, howling northwest winds are going to bring snow squalls from Lake Ontario into many ski resorts, with additional accumulations.

Another low pressure may bring additional snow on Friday. The weekend looks to be your best bet for calm conditions. With new snow, and less harsh conditions, it looks fabulous for early season skiing!

Now for your weekly outdoor winter activity forecast. I will rate this week a 4 out of 10. Very wintery. The rest of today will feature mainly sunny skies, but with increasing high clouds late. It will be seasonable, with highs in the upper 30’s.

Watch for clouds to rapidly increase tonight. Late at night, snow will streak across the state, and reach Boston by dawn.

Tuesday may feature some slick roads first thing in the morning. However, strong southeast winds will rapidly turn the snow to rain from Providence, Boston, Portsmouth N.H. and even up to Portland, Maine.

However, a secondary storm is going to develop near Long Island, then move northeast, passing close to Boston, and rapidly intensifying as it moves up the coast. This means cold air is going to get locked in over much of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

Much of northern New England can expect a very wintery day tomorrow, with heavy snow in northern regions, and mixed precipitaion in southern areas, with rain withing 10 miles of the coast. Many ski areas are going to receive at least 1 foot of snow, with lower elevations between 2 and 8″.

As this storm tracks north of our latitude, the winds are going to swtch to the west, and then northwest. Because of a very unstable atmosphere, there is a chance of a few snow squalls, even along the coast on Wednesday!

There will be numerous snow squalls up north, dropping visibilities, and adding to accumulations. It’s going to turn bitterly cold, with temperatures falling into the 20’s.

Prepare for bitterly cold weather Wednesday night, with strong winds creating wind chills below zero! Air temperatures will fall into the teens.

Winds will relax on Thursday, but still expect it to be cold, with highs still only in the 20’s. It will remain dry, but you will notice an increase in high clouds late in the day.

A fast moving clipper type storm will be diving down from Alberta, Canada, southeast towards New England on Friday. If this storm tracks close to or north of Boston, we will only get a period of snow, then clearing.

However, should this storm track south of New England, over the ocean, it may rapidly intensify, and could bring a quick hitting blizzard like storm to eastern Massachusetts. Cold temperatures and strong winds, would result in blowing snow, with low visibilities for a time.

This storm will keep moving, therefore, accumulations should be less than 8″ if it takes this track, the way I see it right now. This is a very volatile pattern which is subject to rapid changes! I will monitor the situation carefully and update you if warranted.

Whatever happens on Friday will be off the coast this weekend. It should be mainly dry and chilly on Saturday. Temperatures could moderate on Sunday, with high temperatures possibly briefly reaching the lower 40’s with mainly sunny skies.

Well, that’s about it for today! In next week’s blog, I will begin to focus my forecast for the Christmas Day holiday weekend! I will also have a new ski and snow board forecast. In the meantime, don’t say our neighbors from Montreal never gave us anyhting!

-Thanks for reading!

Pete

Major Pattern Change! 12/4/17

Hello! Welcome to meteorological winter! I hope everyone had a great, weekend! The weather was similar to what it’s been like over the past several months…tranquil, with very little precipitation.

Saturday was a mainly cloudy day, with temperatures in the mid 40’s. After a chilly start, Sunday was similar, with a bit more sunshine, and highs once again, in the 40’s. I don’t know about you, but to me it seems like the temperatures have been stuck in the 40’s now for weeks on end!

As mentioned above, meteorological winter begins on December 1st. Many ask, what exactly is meteorological winter? I thought winter arrives on December 21st? Yes, it does. That’s astronomical winter. This marks the official start of winter, and also the shortest day of the year.

Meteorological winter runs from December 1st through the end of February. This is used by Meteorologists for cleaner record keeping, by dividing the seasons up into 4 exact qaurters.

Of course, we know Mother Nature goes by her own timetable, and could care less about statistics and record keeping. But I can see the meteorologists and climatologists point of view.

With official dates for the start of seasons varying year to year, it is easier to keep track of records by dividing the seasons up into 4 quarters. It would be a logistic nightmare, otherwise.

So how did we do this past autumn? Well, September nad October were the warmest in the cities history. Had it not been for a colder than normal November, Boston would of easily had its warmest fall on record. Blue Hill Observatory recorded its second warmest fall on record.

It was quite a remarkable turn around from one of the warmest October’s on record, to a colder than normal November! Though not as impressive as the warm departure from October, it was a stunning turn of events, nonetheless.

It was also a drier than normal fall. Our only big rainstorm came on October 29th, when many areas received between 3 and 5″ inches of rain.

Otherwise, September and October were much drier than normal across much of New England, which outweighed the big rainstorm at the end of October.

How about, November? Well, I had the right idea about the chillier temperature outlook, but was quite off on the above average precipitaion forecasted, and the chance of our first snowfall. neither of which happened.

In fact, it was a very dry and tranquil month, on a whole. A storm just before Thanksgiving accounted for a good majority of the monthly precipitation.

Temperatures is where I did a good job on. After a blow torch October, the atmoshphere had to do quite the reversal to get temperatures cooler than normal. It did exactly this, with November averaging a good 1 to 2 degrees below average for the month across the region.

After months of tranquilty, it appears as if Mother Nature is finally showing signs of waking up from a long slumber. After last months proclamation of a November to remember, should I dare try the same catchy phrase for December?

For many, last November was a big snooze fest in the weather department. Really, the only thing of interest were following the temperatures…which can be as exciting as watching paint dry.

Now, if we can get some temperature extremes, along with some moisture, we could be looking at a much more exciting weather pattern this December!

last week I spoke about the rubber band theory. Keep stretching and stretching the band, and eventually, it’s going to snap!

After careful review of the latest computer data, I believe this time may be nearing! After all, we live in New England, not Florida!

A strong cold front will be crossing the country on Wednseday. Before this front arrives, another surge of warm air will punch into New England. Along with the warm temperatures, a period of heavy showers will be traversing the state from west to east later tomorrow and into tomorrow night.

At the same time, strong high pressure will be building across Grennland and much of northern Canada. This is the Greenland block building. As this happens, colder than normal air will be dislodged from Canada, and move south and then east into the United States. This is the start of winter!

Here’s the thing. Computer models are projecting this block to persist possibly for the remainder of the month! Therefore, I am forecasting below normal temperatures for much of New England, starting from about Thursday onward. Of course, there will be some relaxation to this pattern from time to time, with some days not as harsh.

With the colder than normal temperatures forecasted, the talk of snow will be increasing. I have no doubt many of us will see our first flakes, possibly as soon as this weekend!

My concern in a pattern like this, is that we have the potential for a major storm to form along the east coast, say sometime between December 14th, and the 24th. Computer models have been hinting at this for some time now. Mostly showing a storm(s), but changing the time frame.

The danger in patterns like this, is that it can turn into a repetative storm track, bringing multiple storms with heavy snow accumulations. This could result in delays and cancellations during the busy holiday season.

What I’m also monitoring very closely, is the continuation of much warmer than average ocean temperatures off the New England coast. With the bitter cold air plunging south into the Ohio Valley, this is going to carve out a very deep trough of low pressure (cold & stormy), across the eastern part of the United States.

New England will be on the eastern side of this trough, which is where the storm track is. When this bitter cold air merges with the anomalous warm ocean temperatures, it creates a baroclinicity zone. This is the difference between the bitter cold air clashing with the warm water, which creates a very volatile weather pattern.

The computer models are beginning to show something like this developing. In my opinion, it’s just a matter of when, not if it’s going to happen this winter.

I’m just not sure if it’s going to be a couple big blizzards, or multiple smaller events. One of my analog years for this year, is the winter of 1995-96, when Boston had 17 snowstorms during that winter.

The only thing that’s holding me back from forecasting a blockbuster winter, has been the lack of precipitation so far this fall.

Typically, fall precipitation is a precurser to winter patterns. However, with the ocean temperatures so warm, and the baroclinic zone coming into play, I do believe we’re going to see a big uptick in precipitation starting real soon.

Now for your ski and snowboard forecast. I will rate this week a 7 out of 10. A mini thaw tomorrow is going to be replaced with much colder weather for the foreseeable future, beginning Wednseday afternoon.

This will allow for nearly round the clock snow making. In addition, there will be opportunities for plenty of natural snowfall starting from this weekend, likely continuing until the end of December!

Now for your weekly outdoor winter activity forecast. I will rate this week a 6 out of 10. Expect abundant sunshine and mild temperatures for the rest of your Monday. Highs will generally be in the 40’s. Tonight will feature increasing clouds, and not so cold. Low temperatures will only fall into the 30’s and 40’s.

Watch for increasing clouds tomorrow. Southerly winds will warm many up into the low to mid 50’s. A strong cold front will be approaching from the west.

As this happens, showers will be approaching the Boston area during early afternoon, and continue well into tomorrow night.

Along with the rain, we will experience windy conditions, it will remain very mild tomorrow night, with lows not falling much lower than 50 degrees.

Wednseday may begin with some leftover showers early in the morning. However, as the cold front sweeps off the coast, the winds will shift westerly, and temperatures will begin to drop during the day. It will be brisk, with temperatures falling through the 40’s and 30’s.

Wednesday night will be fair, with lows in the 20’s. Thursday should feature partly sunny skies, with highs mainly in the 30’s.

The time frame of concern runs from Friday through Sunday. The cold front that moved through our area onearly Wednesday is going to stall off the coast. As the same time, waves of low pressure are going to develop, and ride up along this front.

This is a very tricky forecast. Right now, I’m forecasting for this front to bend back towards the New England coast. At the same time, I’m expecting rounds of precipitation to travers our region. With the cold air in place, I’m expecting some of this precipitation to fall in the form of snow, or mixed snow, sleet and rain.

A few outcomes could be the end result out of this storm threat. First, the front may not bend back towards the coast enough, meaning we’ll only see some flurries, and patchy light snow.

Second, the front will back in enough, and some solid moisture will track through eastern New England, resulting in our first general snowfall of 2 to 4″ across much of the area.

The third possibility is more of a wild card. In this case, a piece of energy digs off the mid Atlanic coast, and merges with the front offshore, developing a coastal storm, or nor’easter.

This storm would then slowly track south of New England through the weekend, bringing with it a more serious threat of a significant winter storm, with snow accumulations in excess of 6″ across much of our area.

Right now, I am going with option 2. If later guidance picks up on option 3, I will post updates on Facebook and Twitter.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will continue to discuss the implications of this evolving winter pattern, and look at our chances of having a White Christmas this year! In the meantime, a major pattern change is coming, and it’s not for sunny & warm temperatures!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

Rubber Band Watch In Effect! 11/27/17

Hello! I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving, and enjoyed your long holiday weekend! Overall, the weather was very seasonal, I would say.

After a wet Wednesday, Thanksgiving morning began with quite a chill for many. But with a 100% of the possible sunshine, temperatures recovered during the afternoon, but still ran below average for the date.

The weather on Black Friday was similar, perhaps a touch milder. Saturday was the warmest day of the long weekend, when temperatures made it all the way up to 58 degrees! This was short lived, as temperatures cooled a full 10 degrees on Sunday, with a brisk wind.

So here we are…a full week after my winter forecast was released. Am I already thinking about crumbling it up, and throw it into the garbage can? The short answer to this question is…NO!

However, with that being said, I was rattled after I published my forecast last Monday, only to see many experts in the field come out with their forecast shortly thereafter, with much less snowfall forecasted for the Boston area this winter. As a friendly reminder, i am forecasting between 60 and 70″ for Boston, while their forecast is for between 35 to 45″.

This sent me into a minor panic attack, as I recalculated my seasonal winter forecast model in my brain. While there are many things to be concerned about, I do still believe we are in for quite a winter here in New England!

In all fairness, not all were calling for just an “average” winter. Some seasoned winter forecasters came in with similar numbers to mine.

Yes, I do believe we are in for this amount of snow this winter, but how we get there may be an adventure in its own right! The past decade has featured extreme weather patterns. From dormant periods of no snow, to getting bombarded with excessive amounts of it!

When you take the average of all these ups and downs, you come up with a seasonal average of approximately 44″ of snow at Logan Airport. The average has actually increased in Boston over the last 20 years of record keeping. Climatologists are saying this has been the snowiest two decades in Boston weather history!

Some believe that it’s due to an increase in water vapor, and available moisture due to warmer ocean temperatures? Could be. This doesn’t sound too far fetched to me.

I also believe this will be the coldest winter since the famed 2014-15 winter a few years ago. This is not saying much, since the last two winters in Boston were two of the warmest winters ever recorded in the city.

Yet, it’s not like we didn’t see any winter. Incredibly, winter 2015-16, which featured one of the strongest El Nino’s on record, saw 36″ of snow in Boston. Much of it fell after January 1st. That year featured the 70 degree Christmas Day, leading many to rename the day ‘Torchmas’.

That winter also featured the Valentine’s Day arctic outbreak, which saw Boston record it’s lowest temperature in some 60 years (- 9 degrees)!

When El Nino (warm water off the South American coast), is too strong, Boston typically does not see much snow, nor much of a winter, for that matter. But even after the record winter from before, Boston saw at least some winter weather.

Last winter was just as interesting! La Nina ruled in the Pacific Ocean (colder than normal water off the South american coast). While La Nina’s also typically don’t bring much of a winter to Boston, other global factors pointed differently.

Despite November temperature departures averaging +2 degrees in Boston, a bit above average snow still managed to fall at Logan Airport. Much more to the north.

If you recall, last winter featured wild temperature fluctuations. Many were surprised to learn that we received above average snow.

In many cases, the cold arrived just as moisture came, only to rapidly vacate after, resulting in melting snow as quickly as it fell.

This year is also a La Nina year. You may ask, then why am I forecasting above average snow and colder weather this winter?

Well, just like El Nino’s, there are different strengths, and positions La Nina’s take in the Pacific Ocean. The strength and the position of the La Nina and El Nino can have a profound effect on our winter here in New England.

This year, the La Nina is east based. Meaning the coldest water is sloshed up close to the west coast of South America. This can dictate where the position of troughs (cold & stormy), and ridges (warm & dry) align themselves here in New England. Last year, storms started as snow, only to change to rain in Boston, as warmer air flodded the coastal plain.

This, in conjuction with a easterly based QBO, will work in tandem to keep the Greenland block building to our north. When high pressure builds across Greenland and Canada, it forces the cold air down into the eastern parts of the U.S. many times bringing cold & stormy weather, including for us here in New England.

In typical La Nina’s, a strong ridge of high pressure (warm & dry) builds in the southeastern part of the U.S. This usually floods southern New England with surges of abnormally warm weather.

I believe this strong ridge of high pressure is going to try and build north again this winter. However, with the factors stated above, the polar jet stream is going to be surpressed this winter, making it colder, especially from Boston points north.

This is going to lead to an epic thermal gradient battle across New England, with the polar jet stream (cold + dry)pressing down from the north, and sub tropical jet stream (warm + moisture) building up from the south These two streams may phase, resulting in bouts of heavy snow and ice storms across the region.

What else am I basing my forecast on? I also monitor November temperature departures very carefully. After October finished nearly 8 degrees above average (the second warmest on record), the pattern in November has certainly flipped, and is actually running close to a degree below average for the month!

This is very important. I have done extensive research, and I believe Boston’s snowfall has a close correlation to November temperatures at Logan Airport.

When departures run neutral to minus two degrees below average, the chances of above average snowfall increase dramatically in the city. Winter storms are often colder, and snowier than forecasted, leading to greater accumulations.

At this point, I am calculating this November to finish approximately 1 degree below average at Logan Airport. We will not officially know for sure until the montly climatology report comes out early Friday.

As I mentioned earlier, how we get there could be an adventure! The patterns as of late have been strange to say the least. I must say, this has been the quietest stretch of weather from September through November, that I can ever recall in many years.

Aside for that intense storm at the end of October, the weather patterns have been unusually dormant. With the colder than normal November, I am now issuing a rubber band watch in effect!

For weather enthusiasts, you know exactly what I’m talking about! For my friends and family, you may think that I have finally snapped! Nope, not yet!

What I mean by this, is that I believe the weather pattern is going to snap, like a rubber band being stretched out beyond its capabilities, then finally snapping!

When do I believe this is going to happen? Well, there are signs that it may begin sometime around the 10th of December.

When the pattern becomes established, I am expecting a difficult period of winter storms from mid December, through much of January, and possibly February too.

As always, Mother Nature holds all the cards! This is my best educational guess. Nobody has all the correct answers. Timing still may be off, but I believe a period of severe winter weather is going to arrive at some point or another this winter. So be prepared!

With the colder than average November, ski resorts have been able to begin making snow in the mountains. Some resorts have even picked up some natural snow this past weekend! I will rate this week a 7 out of 10. Not bad for this time of the year!

Mostly colder than normal weather is on tap this week, with perhaps Wednesday being slightly above normal. Still no major storms, however a system moving through New England may be just cold enough in the mountains to bring some wet snow on Friday.

Now for your weekly outdoor autumn activity forecast. I will rate this week an 8 out of 10. Expect a mix of sun and clouds for the balance of today. It will be somewhat below average, with high temperatures around 45.

A brisk wind will develop tonight, and temperatures are going to plummet, as a reinforcing shot of cold air pushes in from the north. Look for low temperatures to fall into the teens and twenties regionwide.

Tuesday morning will feel like winter, so bundle up! Later in the day, the cold will ease, and temperatures will rise into the mid 40’s, under dry conditions. Tuesday night will feature less cold weather, with lows mainly in the 30’s.

A milder southerly flow will bring warmer temperatures in on Wednesday, with highs similar to last Saturday, say mid to upper 50’s. This too will be short lived, as yet another cold front slices through New England during the afternoon. Colder air will drift back into the area Wednesday night, with lows back in the 20’s and lower 30’s.

Thursday will be dry, but somewhat cooler that Wednesday, with high temperatures back into the mid 40’s. Expect increasing clouds late in the day.

Thursday evening should be dry, but there is a chance of some rain moving in towards morning. Lows will be in the 30’s to near 40.

Friday is looking unsettled, with some periods of rain falling here in Boston, and highs in the 40’s. Up north, and in the mountains, there’s a very good chance that this rain changes to some wet snow. A major storm is not anticipated at this point, but will be good for ski resorts heading into the first weekend of December.

Right now, this upcoming weekend looks blustery and chilly. I can’t rule out a few snow flurries up north, but it should remain fairly dry down here in southern New England. High temperatures will mainly be in the 40’s during the day, and lows in the 20’s and 30’s at night.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will have my review of November, as well as my outlook for December. I will also be letting you know when I believe we may see our first snowfall of the season! In the meantime, the rubber band continues to expand, when it snaps, watch out!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

* Feel free to ask me any questions or comments about the upcoming winter, or weather. I enjoy the interactions!

Winter 2017-18: Snowy…Colder!

Hello! I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend. It was an interesting weekend weatherwise, across the region. Saturday began frosty, with temperatures in the 20’s. As clouds increased through out the day, temperatures also warmed, so when precipitation arrived at night, it was all rain showers.

Sunday morning was the opposite of Saturday, with warm temperatures and showers to start the day. In fact, Boston broke a string of 12 consecutive below average days, with a high temperature of 60 degrees, which occurred early in the day!

As a strong cold front sliced through the region, winds shifted to the west, and temperatures pummeted throughout the afternoon, as skies cleared. It became downright cold last night, with most locations falling into the 20’s.

In fact, many saw their first snow flurries very early this morning! Cold westerly winds picked up moisture off Lake Ontario, resulting in the first lake effect outbreak of the year in Upstate N.Y. Some of these flurries drifted all the way into the Boston area this morning!

Speaking of snow, it’s finally time to publish my official 2017-18 winter forecast! After countless hours of research, I believe I have a good idea at what we might expect this winter, here in New England.

As I have mentioned in the past, my technique uses a blend of science and nature from all sources, to come up with the best educated solution that I can offer.

Is it difficult? Yes! Just when you think you have all the answers, Mother Nature changes the questions! This year has been no different! The one word that comes to mind when looking at the long range computer guidance, is chaos!

Since I’m not getting too much support from the computer models, I resort to Mother Nature. Not that the computer models are useless. I use them as a tool to help me determine what the overall trends will be. Together with the natural signs, is what I believe is the key, in making a solid seasonal forecast.

You may ask, what’s the difference between the science and natural signs? Well, science is something you can see. With todays technology, we have an endless amount of resources which includes computer data, graphs, statistics, satelite pictures, ect…In nature, it’s things that you hear, touch smell, and see.

On the science side of it, I look at global teleconnections, ocean temperatures, and long range seasonal guidance.

What are the factors for this winter? The first factor I look at is the ocean temperatures in the Pacific Ocean. What happens in the Pacific, dictates many times what’s going to happen here in New England.

This year, we have a weak, to borderline moderate La Nina (cold water off the South American coast). There are two types of La Nina’s. Cold water in the central Pacific is called a central, or west based La Nina. These La Nina’s typically bring warm winters to Boston, with variable snow.

The other type of La Nina is when the cold water is sloshed up against the west coast of South America. This is called an east based La Nina, and typically brings colder winters to Boston. While last year was west, this year, we have a decidedly east based La Nina.

Next is a phenomenon called the QBO, or the quasi-biennial oscillation. This could be the key to the whole winter around here. The QBO is an alternating wind in the tropical region, which either blows easterly or westerly up in the stratosphere. It oscillates between easterly and westerly about every couple years.

When the QBO blows west or is positive, and we have a central based La Nina, Boston typically sees a warm winter. This was the case last year. This year, the QBO is east or negative. When this happens, and we have an easterly based La Nina, this is conducive to high latitude blocking to form over Greenland.

This is also known as the Greenland block. In a typical La Nina, the southeast ridge (warm & dry) expands in the eastern part of the U.S. bringing warm winters alonng the east coast, sometimes up to Boston.

However, when we have an east based La Nina, with a negative QBO, the Greenland block is more likely to develop. We have already seen this occur several times here in November. When this happens, it surpresses the southeast ridge, and allows colder weather to settle down into New England, from Canada.

There are many more scientific factors, but I believe those are the two biggest ones influencing the upcoming winter. What about the natural signs?

Well, we all know how warm it’s been this fall. Even with the colder November, Boston is still on track to having its warmest fall on record! I’m astonished at how the leaves are still hanging on many of the trees, here on the week of Thanksgiving!

As I have mentioned in past posts, I follow the fall patterns very carefully, for clues to the upcoming winter. While the first two thirds of the fall were absurdly warm, November has seen an abrupt change to the weather patterns. This abrupt change could mean a much different winter is on the way for us this year.

No doubt, it’s gotten colder here in November. Boston is running close to 2 degrees below average this month. Looking ahead to rest of the month, there may be a couple warm spikes, but overall, I believe the cold air is going to win out.

Therefore, I’m expecting November to finish with a temperature departure of either neutral, or even slightly below average by minus one or or minus one and a half degrees below average.

Another sign pointing to a much different winter, is the building snow pack and cold weather in Canada, much earlier than last couple winters. The snow pack is building in southern Canada, and it’s much colder this year.

This develops a feedback situation, when snow makes it colder, which allows more snow to fall, and allows the snowpack to advance. Eventually, this gradient is going to settle south, into New England.

Some other natural signs I observed this fall were Canadian Geese flying south. I was shocked back in September one night, when I heard honking noises in the distance. Soon enough, I saw a massive flock of geese fly right over my house! It was dark, but I could faintly make out the white feathers on their underside.

So what does this all mean for the upcoming winter? Well, after reviewing all of my data, I do believe that much of New England is going to be in for quite a winter this year! This goes against the standard typical La Nina patterns.

However, as I mentioned above, other factors are going to make this not a typical La Nina year. With the Greenland block being a player, this is going to surpress the jet stream south.

With bitterly cold air to the north, and warm air to our south, this is going to set up an unusually strong temperature gradient, cutting through, or just south of southern New England.

I’m expecting above average precipitation this winter, especially in December and January. With the colder temperatures, I’m expecting above average amounts of snow this winter. Boston’s average is approximately 44″ at Logan Airport, and close to 50″ in surrounding areas.

So how much am I expecting? Well, I am not expecting the unprecedented record snow blitz of February 2015. However, this winter will bring its own challenges. Right now, I’m going with between 60 and 70″ of snow in Boston this winter. If anything, I may be a bit too conservative on this number.

How we reach these numbers is still in question. There may be a snow blitz like we’ve seen in recent years, then the winter lets up. Or, it may relax in February, only to return, and linger into March and April. This is just too difficult to forecast by anyone.

At this point, December and January look to be quite stormy. Look for the action to get going after December 10th. A White Christmas is looking like a good bet across much of the region this year! January looks to bring winters worst, with frequent storms, and tough winter weather conditions.

In addition to the many winter weather events I’m expecting, I also believe we stand the chance of one or two blockbuster storms, with snowfall in excess of 18″.

With all that being said, there will be times of relaxation to the pattern, and periods of fluctuations. I’m expecting the overall winter temperatures to average close to average in Boston…slightly colder to the north, and slightly warmer to the south. Because last couple winters have been so warm, this will feel colder than usual to many.

When the Greenland block relaxes, where there may be periods of mild to even warm weather. This will give us a chance to melt snowbanks down, and thaw out a bit.

How about the rest of New England? Heading up north, you can expect a similar year to last year, but with even more snow in valley locations.

You can expect between 70 and 80″ close to the Massachusetts border, 80 to 90″ in southern New Hampshire, and 90 to 100″ of snow in much of interior New Hampshire and much of Maine. Many ski resorts will likely see double this!

If you live along the New Hampshire seacoast, I’m expecting between 70 and 80″ of snow this winter. This is a bit lower, due to the proximity to the ocean.

How about south of Boston? This area is a bit of a wildcard. How much cold air penetrates south, and does it stay warmer in storms to produce icy mixtures, keeping accumulations lower?

Right now, I will go with the standard rule of slightly lower amounts south of Boston, of 50 to 60″ across the south shore, stretching back through interior southeastern Massachusetts.

However, as we have seen many times in the past, these areas can sometimes receive much higher amounts of snow, depending if the moisture collides with the cold air, at just the right time.

South of this region, and along the south coast, between 40 and 50″ should fall. Right now, I’m expecting a tough winter on the Cape, too. However, with the warm ocean temperatures, there may be many more storms with mixing issues, and rain. Therefore, snowfall looks to be between 30 and 40″.

This is lower, but is still above the normal 20 to 30″. The Cape is tricky like many other areas south of Boston. I have used typical climatological statistics, only to see them get double of what I forecasted.

Ocean temperatures play a huge role in snowfall amounts on the Cape, and along all of coastal Massachusetts for that matter.

What could go wrong? We don’t get as much blocking, with La Nina forcing taking over, and the storms bringing too much warm air, changing snow to rain in Boston. All points from the Mass Pike points south have a rather large bust potential. I’m 90 % confident north of the Pike of a very snowy, winter. While in Boston, I’m 60% confident.

On the flip side, the cold air presses further south. If this happens, and collides with the above average ocean temperatures, we could see a couple explosive storms occur, making it even snowier than what I’m predicting.

Now for your weekly autumn outdoor activity forecast. I will rate this a 6 out of 10. Expect the rest of today to feature mainly sunny but cold weather. Highs will mainly remain in the 30’s, perhaps nick 40 in some sposts.

Expect fair weather tonight, with just a few clouds. Temperatures will fall early, only to stabilize later on, with lows in the 20’s and 30’s, perhaps rising as morning approaches.

Tomorrow will be a completely different day all together. With south winds, expect temperatures to soar to near 60 degrees! This will feel warmer, due to the cold weather of today. However, this too will not last long!

A cold front will be approaching tomorrow night, At the same time a storm will be developing off the mid Atlantic coast, and head northeast. Latest computer models show a moisture plume coming up the coast, and hitting eastern Massachusetts with up to half inch to one inch of rain Wednesday morning.

After the storm moves away, the cold front will sweep off the coast, and temperatures will begin to fall again. This sets the stage for a sunny, and rather cold Thanksgiving Day. Early morning highs will be in the 20’s, and only warm up to near 40 by the afternoon.

No travel troubles at night, with temperatures falling back into the 20’s. Friday looks to be a mainly sunny day, with highs in the upper 30’s and low 40’s.

Right now, another fast moving cold front will be approaching New England on Saturday. This means increasing clouds, with temperatures possibly back up to near 50 degrees. There may be some showers Saturday night, only to clear out and turn colder once again on Sunday. Look for windy conditions, and highs only near 40.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will begin my ski and snow boarding forecasts! I will also elaborate a bit on my winter forecast. As always, there will be some surprises. It never turns out exactly the way you thought it would! In the meantime, remember everything is relative, maybe it won’t be so bad after all?

~Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!~

Thanks for reading!

Pete

November To Remember? 11/13/17

Hello! I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend! It was a wintery one for sure! The well advertised cold blast of winter certainly lived up to its billing, with record low, and record low high temperatures falling in Boston!

After a mild Thursday, the cold air came blasting into New England on Friday. Temperatures plummeted to a record low of 23 degrees in Boston, beating the old record set all the way back in 1901 of 24 degrees.

The records did not stop there! A record low high temperature was broken on Saturday, with a high of only 37 degrees in Boston. This broke the old record set back in 1987.

You may say, Pete, that doesn’t seem that cold! Well, relatively speaking, it’s not. However, seeing that temperatures were 75 degrees just a week earlier, it felt that much colder due to the thermal shock factor!

In addition, it’s still very early in the season. It’s not that unusual to see temperatures like this after November 20th. The first 10 days of the month are typically more fall-like.

As mentioned earlier, Saturday felt more like mid December, with temperatures holding in the 30’s. The one saving grace was that we saw 100% of the possible sunshine. Wind chills were less Saturday night, but temperatures crashed once again, with lows in the teens and 20’s region wide.

Lighter winds and some sunshine made Sunday feel more tolerable. However, you’ll be surprised that temperatures still were below normal. As I mentioned above, temperatures are relative to the weather. With light winds, some sunshine, it felt much warmer than Saturday!

I don’t know about you, but all this cold, blustery weather has put me in the holiday mood! I absolutely love this time of the year, especially when the weather takes a turn to wintery conditions!

It made me search for some Christmas music on the radio. Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed! In past years, I always seemed to be able to find one station that played some Christmas music, before Thanksgiving. So far, no stations as far as I know, have caved to the demand! Looks like I’ll have to break out the cd’s!

Some friends and family contacted me this weekend, and asked just what the heck is going on with our weather patterns?! What happened to the record warm fall we have been enjoying? Is it coming back?

These are all fair questions. A while back, I wrote in one of my posts to be cautious moving forward into November. If the warm weather persists through November, we most likely will be dealing with an easy peasy winter.

However, I also pointed out to be aware of an abrupt change in the weather patterns in November. If it turns sharply colder, a whole different winter could evolve.

As it turned out, there has been a large scale atmospheric pattern change here in November. I believe it was the big storm we experienced back on October 29th that was the catalyst to begin the change.

After nearly three years of weather patterns which featured cold shots in a sea of warmth, I believe the opposite is now here to stay…with short warm ups, in a sea of cold. In other words, Indian Summer is not coming back.

If you don’t like snow and colder weather, I would suggest that you either hibernate for the next 6 months, or go winter in the desert southwest. Otherwise, stick it out like the native New Englander that you are!

You may say, Pete, you said La Nina’s are typically warm and dry in Boston!! Well, yes, this is for ‘typical’ La Nina’s. I also mentioned that La Nina’s, like El Nino’s can be vastly different, depending on other global factors.

By the way, a La Nina is the opposite of El Nino. La Nina’s are the cold ocean phase of the Pacific Ocean off the South America coast.

The strength and more importantly the position of the La Nina, greatly affects the weather patterns here in New England. This year, the La Nina is east based, meaning the cold water is sloshed up right against the coast off Peru. This in itself, is enough to change the jet stream, and lead to colder air reaching the east coast.

In fear of repeating myself, I will need to stop here. There are many other very important details that I will need to explain to everyone in my official winter forecast, which is going to be published one week from today! Please make sure you check out this important forecast!

So what does a typical November bring to New England, in terms of climate and weather? Well, November is a true transient month, from fall, to winter.

November is highly variable. As you can see from the past few days, the weather in November can range from warm and sunny, to cold and stormy. Typically, November is our cloudiest month of the year, and is often the wettest month, too.

But again, it’s highly variable. Last couple November’s featured well above average temperatures, with little rain or snow, and an abundance of sunshine. Quite unusual, indeed.

To me, today exemplifies a perfect November day. Cloudy, gray, damp and chilly. There’s even some areas of patchy snow around the region, especially in higher elevations around 1000 ft and higher.

Speaking of snow, much of New England sees at least a little snow during this month. On average, Boston typically receives about an inch and a half of snow. However, this too is highly variable.

The city can go several years without much accumulation of snow, only to be hit by a decent sized snowstorm once every 5 years or so. Across the interior, snow begins to fall and accumulations are quite common during November.

The last stormy November we had was back in 2014. This month featured temperatures that were 2 degrees below average. A major storm just before Thanksgiving brought significant snow to much of interior New England, when up to a foot of snow fell, with power outages!

With the sudden turn to cold weather, I’m happy to report that many ski resorts across New England were able to make snow, and have officially opened!

This is a good couple weeks ahead of schedule! Many resorts use Thanksgiving Day as a typical time to open for the season. Looking ahead, I believe they made the right call.

On average, I’m expecting colder than normal weather to persist for the remainder of the month. Mother Nature may also help out with several chances of natural snowfalls to begin building bases.

Because of the early start to the ski season, I have decided to begin my ski and outdoor winter activity report earlier. Expect chilly temperatures up in the mountains this week. There may be some light accumulation of snow today and tonight. Then another chance of snow showers later Thursday into Friday.

A large storm on Saturday will bring a wintery mix changing to some southern resorts, then changing back to heavy wet snow later at night into Sunday morning. Thereafter, it looks like much colder air blasting into ski country leading up to the holiday.

Now for our weekly autumn outdoor activity forecast. I will rate this week a 6 out of 10. Expect a typical November day for the rest of today. It will be cold, damp and gray. There will be areas of light rain along the coast.

Inland, and in elevations above a thoudand feet, you will run into light snow mixed with sleet. Not a big storm, but it doesn’t take much to result in slippery travel. High temperatures will be in the 30’s inland and up north, low 40’s along the coast, and maybe 50 down on the Cape.

As the storm begins to intensify east of New England, a light north to northeast wind will develop. With this trajectory, low level cold air may drain down the coast from New Hampshire and Maine down into Boston.

Therefore, it’s not out of the question that some very light mixed precipitation could linger along the coast from Boston north. This would not happen until very late at night and first thing tomorrow morning. Again, it doesn’t take much for roads to become slippery! These small events are usually more dangerous than our larger storms.

With a moist northeast flow, tomorrow will continue to feature cloudy and chilly weather. In addition, there still may be some areas of light showers mixed with wet snowflakes, especially in the morning. It will be chilly, with highs only near 40.

Skies will begin to slowly clear tomorrow night. As this happens, temperatures are going to fall to near freezing. Be aware of black ice across the region! Frosty conditions will make for some slick roadways! These are the most dangerous type of conditions, and catch many folks by surprise!

Wednesday looks to continue to be chilly, with highs in the lower 40’s. Fortunately. there will be more sun, and it will be drier. Fair and chilly weather Wednseday night, with lows in the 20’s and 30’s.

A south wind will briefly allow temperatures to warm up into the very low 50’s Thursday. Later at night, a cold front will sweep through New England.

This will bring windy and colder weather to region later Thursday and into Friday. In addition, there may be some scattered snow showers, especially up north. Friday will be 10 degrees colder than Thursday, so expect low 40’s.

A storm will be moving towards New England on Saturday. Right now, the main thrust of this storm looks like it will track west of Boston. When this happens, it places Boston in the warm sector of the storm.

Therefore, expect southerly winds, and warming temperatures into the 50’s during the day. In addition, a band of rain will be traversing the state from west to east. This should arrive during the afternoon, and continue well into the evening.

Later at night, a strong cold front will sweep across the state, turning winds westerly. As mentioned above, the moisture should outpace the cold air down here.

However, the rain could change to a period of heavy wet snow in the ski resorts up north, before the storm moves out.

As the cold air rushes back into New England on Sunday, there is the chance of some scattered snow showers on Sunday, across much of the region. Temperatures will be falling through the 40’s.

Thereafter, next weeks weather weather patterns looks to be highly volatile!! According to the latest computer guidance, a surge of very cold weather will be moving into New England as we head towards Wednesday and Thanksgiving Day itself.

The question is, will a storm system develop, and track up the coast around Thanksgiving Day, bringing the chance of a rare White Thanksgiving, even to the coast? I will be monitoring this possibilty very carefully, and will be sure to update everyone with the latest information!

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will be publishing my official 2017-18 winter forecast! Please check in to see what you can expect in this exciting forecast! In the meantime, it’s subjective as to whether you will remember this November fondly, or not!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

From Summer…to Winter? 11/6/17

Hello! I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend! It was yet another split decision, weatherwise. Not that Sunday was awful, it’s just that Saturday was a classic New England fall day.

After the absurdly warm temperature of 75 degrees on Friday, Saturday was some 25 degrees colder, but featured mostly sunny skies. Sunday was milder, but threatened rain most of the day. Luckily, only some light showers & drizzle was scattered throughout the region.

So what’s the deal, Pete? You said the warm weather was over last week. Two days after the end of the second warmest October on record, we were back up into the mid 70’s again! Yes, that was a bit of a surprise to me! I have seen a bunch of warm autumns in recent years, but so far, this has been the warmest that I can ever recall!

No doubt, the warm weather has taken a toll in several ways. First, it has delayed our fall folage season into territory that I have not seen before. There is a possibility of some trees still holding onto foliage on Thanksgiving Day…yuck!! Where are we living, Washington D.C.?

Second, because we have not dropped to 32 degrees yet in Boston, the mosquito and allergy season just goes on and on. Not only that, folks are still cranking up the lawn mower, as the grass is still growing inside of Rt 128.

The warm weather has also kept winter sports enthusiasts excitement on hold, hoping for an for an early start to the ski and snow board season.

On the plus side, folks who enjoy gardening and working around the house, are certainly being treated to a extended growing season.

With all this warm weather, records are starting to tumble. Now, it’s not that we’ve been smashing record high temperatures all over the place. It’s just that it’s been so consistantly warm, for such an extended period of time.

For instance, Boston is about to break a record tomorrow, for going the logest period of time, failing to drop below 40 degrees.

So far, we stand at 200 consecutive days! The record of 201 days stems back to 1968. As it looks right now, Boston will not drop below 40 degrees, at least until Thursday. So right now, it looks like the city will break the record with 202 or 203 days of temperatures above 40 degrees.

How about the warm weather in October? Yes, it was very warm…but not the warmest! At least not here in Boston. We actually missed tying the record by a measly tenth of a degree. What year had the warmest October on record? That occurred way back in 1947!

Since I love looking at analogs and trying to find a match to similar weather patterns in the past, I had to look up what kind of winter followed such excessive warmth in those years. Keep in mind, climate has changed quite a bit from those years. But what the heck, let’s look back anyway!

After the warmest October on record, back in 1947, the weather suddenly turned in Boston during November. In fact, it turned out to be quite a severe winter, with bitterly cold temperatures, and nearly 90″ of snow. Wow!

How about the very warm stretch in 1968? Well, that winter started off on the mild side, with very little snow. However, 2 massive nor’easters in February changed all that.

The fist storm occurred on February 10th, when 2 ft of wet snow blasted the megalopolis region from New York to Boston. They called this the “Lidsay Storm” as the mayor of New York believed the snow was going to change to rain, and did not send the plows out. Fatal mistake.

The second storm was a New England only special. They called this the 100 hour storm, as it snowed in Boston for 100 straight hours! This is slightly over 4 straight days!

And it wasn’t just flurries, it snowed, and snowed heavily! By the time the storm was done, some 2 to 3 ft of snow fell in many areas around Boston, and up to 6 feet in New Hampshire and Maine!

The moral of the story? A warm fall does not gaurantee an easy winter! In fact, looking at these records, one could believe the complete opposite pattern from autumn, could be the end result.

But is this really true? Is a severe winter about to ambush New Englanders? Well, you will have to wait until November 20th to find out! At this juncture, I am still studying all the weather charts and long range guidance to help me formulate my forecast.

I am also keeping a very close eye on my seventeen natural signs I gather from Mother Nature. After I assemble all of this information, I simplify it, and make a prediction.

Like many years in the past, Mother Nature does not readily give you this information on a gold platter. Even the most high powered computer models can sometimes be no match to what Mother Nature holds in store for us.

So far, I am seeing a lot of conflicting signals. Teleconnections are conflicting with each other. Many computer models continue to advertise a warm & wet winter in eastern Massachusetts. While teleconnections say cold and snowy. This disagreement is leading to a low confidence forecast at this point.

Sometimes, after you make a forecast, a sudden change in ocean temperatures can foul up a perfectly good forecast, and be much different that what you first envisioned. This happened during the first couple weeks in December last year.

One thing to keep in mind my good weather friend Remy just mentioned to me. While the patterns looks similar to last year, subtle differences can mean a whole different outcome!Remy is in his freshman year at Cornell University, studying Atmospheric Sciences and Architecture!

I have mentioned in the past, I monitor the November temperature departures very carefully for snowfall forecast here in Boston.

At first glance, one may think winter is not coming this year. I can assure everyone, winter is coming. That, I do know at this juncture. How severe, I’m still working on that!

After today’s mild temperatures, a marked shift is going to occur in our weather patterns. It will turn cooler for the balance of the week. Come this weekend, a storm is going to intensify in the Canadian Maritimes. As this happens, it’s going to yank a chunk of cold air mass down into New England, from Canada.

How cold? Well, it may actually feel more like December this weekend! High temperatures may struggle to reach 40, and night time lows will fall into the 20’s!

Yes, the cold weather means the growing, mosquito and alergy season will finally come to an abrupt end in Boston! It will also get many in the mood for the upcoming holiday season!

Looking deeper into November, I see a very volatile weather pattern evolving. The Greenland Block looks like it wants to develop around mid-month.

This acts as two things. First, with high pressure building over Greenland, it surpresses the jet stream south of New England, allowing for colder than normal temperatures to move into New England.

Second, the block can sometimes mean a strong storm developing along the coast. If there’s enough cold air available, some spots in New England could be looking at an early season winter storm with snow next week.

This pattern may be repeated during the week of Thanksgiving. Snow in New England around Thanksgiving is not that unusual, especially across inland locations.

On average, snow around Thanksgiving occurs about once every four or five years. For instance, last Thanksgiving many saw a period of wet snow during the morning.

Back in 2014, a nor’easter brought nearly a foot of snow to many inland locations, with power outages just before Thanksgiving. Could this year be another year with snow? I believe the chances are above average!

Getting back to are beleagured fall foliage season. Yes, I agree, it’s been an off year. Way off, if you want my opinion. With the combination of record warm temperatures, and the black tar fungus, it left a lot to be desired for.

However, I always like to hold out hope for a surprise. Last week, I said the best could be yet to come. Well, everything is relative. With peak foliage running two weeks behind schedule in Boston, we have one more chance of a brief burst of color, before it’s over.

After tonight, temperatures are finally going to cool off to that ‘optimum’ zone. This means lows in the 30’s amd highs in upper 40’s and low 50’s. In other words, temperatures you would typically find in late October.

In addition, we are going to get a hard freeze in the city this weekend. This may come in the nick of time to reveal one final burst of color, allbeit somewhat muted. Although the red bushes are not disappointing this year!

It’s going to quick, and it will be over by November 20th. So be on the lookout for a very brief, and very late peak foliage here in Boston. Otherwise, it’s over across 95% of the rest of New England.

Now for your weekly outdoor activity autumn forecast. For what’s left in the day today, expect cloudy & somewhat gloomy weather, with periods of showers moving through. The one bright spot is that it will be on the mild side, with highs in the mid 60’s.

After some early evening showers, expect clearing and colder weather to move in. Late night low temperatures will fall into the 30’s, except low 40’s in Boston.

Tuesday will feature a small storm passing south of New England. I’m not sure if any precipitation will make it this far north. It’s not out of the question a few light showers may fall south of Boston. No heavy preciptation is expected, but some places south of Boston may experience some light rain showers. High temperatures will only be near 50, with lows in the 30’s and low 40’s.

More waves of low pressure will pass south of New England on Wednesday and early Thursday. At this point, it looks mainly dry around our area, with just lots of mid and high level cloudiness, which may block out the sun at times. A slight shift could bring some light precipitation south and east of Boston.

As we head towards this weekend, a storm is going to develop too late to bring us precipitation. However, as it intensifies north of our latitude, it’s going to drive a bundle of arctic air into New England.

I can’t rule out a few flurries or showers on Friday. Otherwise, expect falling temperatures through the 40’s and even 30’s during the day, and 20’s and low 30’s at night!

Watch for cold weather Saturday, with highs struggling to reach 40, and lows in the 20’s…even in Boston!

After a cold start, temperatures may moderate a few degrees by afternoon on Sunday. With increasing clouds during the day, some may think snow would be on the way. But it appears as if it will warm up enough for just rain here in Boston on Monday, perhaps some wet snow in ski country.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will be discussing my thoughts in a bit more detail about my upcoming winter forecast. I will also let you know when some of us may see their first snow of the season! In the meantime, I hope everyone enjoyed the endless summer…is it winters turn next?

Thanks for reading!

Pete

Record Warm October…Is Over! 10/30/17

Hello! I hope everyone enjoyed their, weekend! It was yet another split decision, weatherwise. Saturday was a gorgeous late October day, with nearly 100% of the possible sunshine, and temperatures in the mid to upper 60’s.

Sunday was cloudy, and actually turned muggy. As a strong storm system approached, scattered showers developed during the afternoon.

Later Sunday night, an intense storm developed south of New England, and tracked due north, into the Hudson Valley of New York. This placed eastern New England on the eastern side of the storm.

Strong southeast winds and torrential rain squalls soaked the region late last night into early this morning. When intense storms track west of New England, this places us on the warm sector of the storm, with strong southeast winds.

Had this storm tracked south and east of New England, winds would of blown in from the northeast, and this would of been called a nor’easter. It also would of been a much colder storm, with heavy wet snow falling in the mountains of Vermont and New Hampshire.

However, this was not the case. Meteorologists and weather enthusiasts like myself call this type of storm a ‘south-easter.’ Now that the storm is north of our latitude, strong westerly winds are ushering in cooler and drier air from the west.

In it’s wake, the storm left damage similar to what a tropical storm would of brought. In fact, tropical storm Phileppe was actually absorbed into this giant vortex, adding fuel to this storm.

It was a very complex set up. Almost as if a winter storm and a tropical storm merged off the Atlantic coast. I could remember a similar set up on the same date back in October, 2012, when Hurricane Sandy merged with a winter cold storm.

I talk a lot about troughs of low pressure (cold & stormy), and ridges of high pressure (warm & dry). In this case, a deep trough of low pressure plunged into the deep south, west of New England.

Meanwhile, a strong blocking ridge of high pressure remained locked over New England. Believe it or not, it was actually colder in Georgia than it was in Maine this weekend!

This is what they call a high amplitude pattern. Think of it as taking a garden hose, and violently shaking it, until it forms big loops, like a winding river.

As cold air plunged south towards the Gulf coast, warm & humid air flooded up the coast into New England. The difference in air temperature between these two air masses resulted in a intense fall storm.

My sister reported to me from the New Hampshire seacoast region, that many were without power in her neighborhood, and some roads were closed due to downed trees. This matched up well, to the many reports of wind gusts greater than 70 mph I saw in this region.

I talk many times about big weather events breaking persistant patterns down. In this case, I believe this storm was the catalyst which broke the record warm weather pattern much of New England has experienced for the better part of two months now.

This doesn’t mean instant winter. However, I do believe this storm may be sign as to what we may expect to see more frequently this upcoming winter.

More importantly, this storm has broken the back of the persistant summer like warm & dry weather many have enjoyed so far this fall.

In fact, this October may go down as the second warmest in recorded history in many locations across New England. It was briefly number one at the end of last week. Slightly cooler temperatures to round out the month on Halloween may drop it out of first place.

I will have to wait to see what the final numbers will be from the National Weather Service, to make anything official. I’m very confident of at least a top 3 rank, which is very impressive!

Looking back on my forecast for October, I was anticipating it to be slightly warmer than normal, but was no where close to forecasting the excessively warm departures observed. I was also underdone on the precipitation.

I forecasted near average precipitation, when many areas doubled the monthly average. The exception was in Boston, where we will end up near average precipitaion.

This all came within the past week. Otherwise, it was a very dry month up to that point. So in summation, it was a very warm & wet month (especially towards the end).

As we close the chapter on October, we look forward to the transition month of November. This is a true transition month from autumn to winter.

As I mentioned earlier, I believe the intense storm of last night, is a game changer. This storm will rearrange the jet stream pattern across the northeast. While I don’t see a complete reversal to winter, I do see November to average out much closer to seasonal temperatures than what October was.

With the jet stream tracking much closer to New England this month, I see a roller coaster temperature pattern, with times of mild weather, but also periods of colder weather.

Because the storm track will be close to us, I also see a much more active month of weather in store, with many chances of stormy weather for us.

With cold air close by, this also means many may see their first SNOW this November! This especially true across the interior of New England, and up in the mountains. But it will be so changeable, that it would not shock me to even see snow in the coastal plain at some point this month!

How much snow? Logan Airport only averages about 1 and a half inches of snow in November. However, this number is greatly skewed. Boston can go several years without snow in November, and then receive a healthy snowstorm about once out of every 5 years. On average, the city does see it’s first light snowfall at some point during the month.

If you live across the interior, away from the ocean, your chances of snow in November greatly increase! I am expecting snow to arrive in much of New England this November, with many ski resorts opening up terrain for November skiing in the not too distant future!

I am monitoring the November patterns very closely. At this point, computer models are all over the place. I am calling it a atmospheric state of confusion! Teleconnections are contradicting the long range guidance. This means, teleconnections are saying it’s gong to get cold, while computer guidance is saying warmer than normal weather is going to overwhelm the pattern once again in November.

This is very important! If the warm weather keeps coming back, this is a sign of a warm & dry winter for Boston. However, if the pattern unfolds as I believe it will, with near seasonal temperatures, and the chance of some wintery precipitation this month, then we could be looking at a very stormy winter across New England, with significant amounts of ice & snow.

At this point, I am not seeing the very warm temperatures we have enjoyed the past two November’s here in New England.

I will be following these trends very carefully, leading up to my official winter forecast which will be published on November 20th. So stay tuned for that, it’s looking very interesting!!

How’s our foliage coming along? Poor fall foliage season, this year! It just can’t seem to catch a break from Mother Nature! Just when colors seemed to have been brightening up across the area, a big wind and rainstorm strips the leaves off the trees!

Typically, this week would be peak foliage around Boston. However, due to the excessively warm teperatures in October, we are running nearly two weeks behind schedule.

In addition, the black tar fungus has turned many of the maple tree leaves brown, or even black in some cases. However, there have been many other trees that were beginning to turn beautiful colors, albeit somewhat muted this year. I believe the best is still yet to come!

Early November can offer opitimum temperatures to bring out the best in fall colors. With clear, chilly nights, and sunny days coming up, I believe there will be one final burst of bright colors as we head into mid November. Also don’t forget, there are many fiery red bushes that only add beauty to the fall foliage extravaganza!

Would it not be beautiful, if we received a light coating of snow around mid November, with the colors of fall still lingering on the trees & bushes? This possibility exists!

Now for your weekly autumn outdoor activity forecast. I will rate this week a 6 out of 10. As the storm lifts out of New England, expect windy weather to persist into the afternoon. The rain is done, but you will notice temperatures falling throughout the afternoon, with early highs near 60, only to drop into the lower 50’s by days end.

Watch for clear skies tonight. It will still be breezy, which will make it feel a bit colder than what it really is. Low temperatures will be near 50 in urban areas, and 40’s across much of the interior.

Tuesday will be a nice day. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!! It will be sunny and seasonal, with highs mainly in the 50’s, with light winds. Due to the clear skies, and light winds, temperatures will quickly cool off across suburbia tomorrow night.

In fact, if you live in Boston’s suburbs, and have not received a frost as of yet, you may get one tomorrow night, with lows in the 30’s. It will remain in the lower 40’s in Boston.

Wednesday will feature seasonable weather for November 1st. Expect sunny weather, with highs in the 50’s and lows in the 30’s. Still no frost expected in the city of Boston, but it may be closer. Many surrounding communities will see frost Wednesday night.

The average date of the first freeze at Logan Airport is around November 7th. At this point, I don’t see this happening until maybe a week later than that date.

More clouds but milder weather is expected for Thursday and Friday. There may even be some light rain showers from time to time. Highs will warm to near 60 Thursday, and lower to mid 60’s Friday. Lows will remain in the 40’s and lower 50’s.

Right now, the weekend looks as if it will turn cooler. A cold front will slip through New England, followed by north winds. This means high temperatures only in the lower 50’s, and lows in the 30’s and lower 40’s. Don’t forget to turn the clock’s back 1 hour Saturday, evening!

A couple waves of low pressure may ride along this boundary, and bring a couple chances of light rain at some point during this weekend, however a washout is not anticipated.

Timing this is very difficult at this point. It could be that mnost of the weekend is dry. Expect more roller coaster temperature swings moving into the following week.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will be discussing more about our fickle November weather patterns, and give more details into my winter forecast. In the meantime, the record October is over, but that doesn’t mean winter…just yet!

Happy Halloween!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

Change…Is Inevitable! 10/23/17

Hello! When it comes to fall weather, it just doesn’t get much better than this past weekend! I hope everyone was able to get out and enjoy this amazing stretch of weather!

While Saturday was on the warm and sunny side, a slight change in the wind direction on Sunday brought onshore winds to much of eastern Massachusetts.

This kept temperatures mainly in the 60’s. Along with the sunshine, the sky was decorated with wispy cirrus clouds, which only added to the scenic beauty.

As the temperature cooled last evening, the air became 100% saturated when the temperature matched the dew point. When this occurs, fog develops! I’m sure many were watching how the dense fog obscured the football game last evening at Gillette stadium.

So what exactly is fog? A simple definition of fog is actually a cloud, that forms here at ground level. There are many ways fog can form. In the winter, fog can develop when warm, moist air advects over a thick snow pack. They call this ‘snow eater’ fog, and is a ski resorts worst nightmare!

Last night, the fog formed when a cool, moist wind off the ocean, converged with the warm temperatures we had during the day yesterday. So this would be classified as advection fog. As the temperature cooled, it matched the dewpoint temperature, resulting in thick, dense fog.

Getting back to our amazing stretch of weather, wow!! Who would of thought that way back on Labor Day, the great weather would still be here! This just proves, that some of our best weather occurs in September and October, and some years even November around here!

I can’t really say that I have never seen this before. In fact, the past several autumn’s, we have experienced similar weather patterns. I also remember a fall way back in 1995 that was very similar to this one. I will chat about this in just a bit.

But doesn’t it seem even better this year? Is this the perception, or reality? I don’t have all the statistics in front of me, but I believe that this may be one of the most tranquil, and warmest September and October’s in recent memory. I’m sure that this is at least one of the top 5 warmest October’s on record! And it’s been dry. too!

Last week, I mentioned that the state may be upgraded to moderate drought levels when the mew update came out last Thursday. And indeed, most of the state is now in moderate drought status. It has been exceptionally dry three months around here.

You may ask, I thought we eradicated the drought last spring? What happened to all that heavy rain and snow we got? Well, yes, we did have a wet period, and Mother Nature did a wonderful job with relieving the short term departures in precipitation.

However, much of New England continues to suffer through a long term drought, that believe it or not, extends way back to the start of this century! This is the cumulative deficits we continue to hold over, from previous years of below average precipitation.

Because our water tables are low, it didn’t take long for reservoirs, rivers, and lakes to begin showing the stress of not having enough water feed them.

Earlier, I mentioned how this fall is very similar to the conditions in fall of 1995. In that year, we also were enduring a serious drought through much of New England. Though that summer was much drier than this year, with this fall has been equally dry. That year was also a weak La Nina, something we are heading into this winter.

Everything was moving along very smoothly that year. It was one of the driest & warmest falls on record. This continued until right about this time of the year.

I vividly remember a major atmospheric upheaval in the weather patterns that year. At about October 26th, a strong cold front pushed through New England, essentillay ending the endless summer. From that point on, a new weather pattern took over for the following winter.

And what a pattern it was! Snow began in Boston in November, and did not finish until the following April, when 107.6″ fell. This was the cities snowiest winter on record, until the 2014-15 season beat it out!

Now, it may amount to a hill of beans. I always say that no two years are exactly the same, and most likely, that will be the case for this year as well. However, while it may not be a perfect match, you can tell a lot about a upcoming season, by looking at past years.

When meteorologists and weather enthusiasts (like myself) look at past weather patterns, and similar years, we call these analog years. The weather likes to repeat itself with similar weather patterns. It’s like a big puzzle, we try and piece together!

While this year looks similar to that infamous 1995-96 season, I’m not ready to say Boston is going to get bombarded with snow this winter, just yet.

That 1995-96 year was quite the anomoly. As I have mentioned before, La Nina years tend to be stingy with snowfall in Boston. Last year, Boston got off to real slow start. Nonetheless, the city still managed to accumulate above average snowfall for the season.

So where do we currently stand? At this point, the prospects for snow and sustained cold in eastern Massachusetts this winter, appears to be very much in question.

NOAA just released its winter forecast this past Thursday, and for folks who don’t like winter, this was your kind of outlook!

NOAA basically took the typical, generic La Nina patterns, and formulated a winter forecast off of that. In the end, this may be the best way to go. We shall see!

In their outlook, they are calling for a warmer than normal winter here in New England, with near average precipitation.

This is a very safe, conservative outlook! This outlook is subject to interpretation. If one looked at last years outlook, it was very similar!

NOAA does not predict individual storms or periods of severe winter weather. Therefore, you have to interpret this forecast with a grain of salt.

While the overall winter may be warmer than average, there still is the possibility of a period of two of rough winter weather. In fact, in La Nina years, it’s expected!

I found it humurous that NOAA actually singled out the New England region in their discussion letting us know that just because they are predicting a warm winter, this does not mean that we can’t get a period of severe winter weather, with a blizzard involved.

Why did they do this? Because New England weather is very fickle, and basically everything and anything is on the table when dealing with long range outlooks. It has happened before. Just last year was a warmer than normal winter, but areas in Maine received near record amounts of snowfall!

After one of the warmest falls on record so far, I’m looking for some answers as we head into November. This may begin as early as this week. A strong cold front is moving towards New England, and will likely bring strong winds, and a period of torrential rainfall later Tuesday night into Wednesday.

Thereafter, the weather will turn cooler, but not colder, as we close out October. Is this the big change I was looking for? Not quite just yet!

Looking ahead into November, I can see a much more volatile pattern developing. This means I’m expecting a much more amplified jet stream pattern, with periods of cold & blustery weather, along with stormier times.

In fact, from what I am seeing, there is the potential for an early season winter weather event, for many in New England. Could this be a sign of things to come this winter? My official winter outlook will be written and on line on November 20th…just a few weeks away!

Yesterday, I was driving around, and noticed that the fall foliage is finally beginning to change! Yes, there is the black tar fungus on many maple trees, that has ruined some of the colors this year. But as I mentioned in previous posts, there are many species of trees in the Boston area!

Though running a couple weeks behind schedule, there is plenty of beautiful colors showing up all across the region. Remember, there are also many beautiful bushes that also turn beautiful gold and vivid red colors.

Unfortunately, a strong southerly wind this week, is going to temporarily dull the colors. Next week, another frost may come closer to the city. There should be another burst of nice colors heading into the first week of November around here. There is also still some nice color to be found across much of southern New Hampshire and northern & central Massachusetts this weekend. So plan a drive & enjoy!

Now for your weekly outdoor autumn activity forecast. I will rate this week a 6 out of 10. After a very foggy start, expect a mixture of sun and low clouds today. Temperatures will be mild, but not as warm as recent days. Watch for dense fog to reform tonight. It will be on the damp side, but I’m not expecting any rain.

Tuesday will start off with low clouds and thick fog in some places. As the day progresses, there may be some breaks in the overcast during the afternoon. If this happens, it may boost temperatures up to 70. You will also notice it becommimg more muggy out, again!

At any point during the day, there may be a few hit and miss showers. I am not expecting a washout in eastern Massachusetts tomorrow.

Watch for a gusty wind to develop tomorrow night. It will have a real tropical feel to the air. Later at night, say after 10 pm, a squall line will be approaching the area.

In this squall line, you can expect gusty winds, high levels of humidity, along with torrential downpours crossing the region. I’m expecting a solid 1 to 2″ of rain, with isolated areas of 3″ if you experience any convection (thunderstorms)!

Wednesday will continued to be unsettled! Though not a completee washout, there still could be some additional showers during the day. It will still be on the humid side, along with some additional gusty winds. The sun may emerge late in the day for a interesting sunset!

Thursday will see a brisk west wind, with cooler weather moving into the region, along with lowering levels of humidity. It still may be a bit unstable, and a few scattered showers cannot be ruled out. High temperatures will be near 60.

Friday and Saturday are looking nice, with sunshine returning, along with mild temperatures. I can see temperatures warming up to the mid 60’s both days.

Right now, another storm system will be approaching New England on Sunday. If we’re lucky, most of Sunday will remain rain free.

However, there’s an equal chance that showers begin to move into the region during the afternoon. This will continue well into Sunday night, and early Monday.

Thereafter, an even cooler airmass will greet us for Halloween. Right now, the long range outlook looks dry, with high temperatures in the 50’s, and lows in the 30’s. Looks like a treat to me!

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will have a more in depth look into my winter outlook. I will also have a preview for November, and a review of October. In the meantime, when talking seasons, change is inevitable! Time for a new beginning!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

Frost…Then Indian Summer Reigns! 10/16/17

Hello! I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend! Overall, the weather was very pleasant across New England. Saturday featured some light showers, especially down the Cape. The morning was rather cool, but it warmed up when the sun came out during the afternoon.

The warm theme continued on Sunday, with temperatures soaring into the mid 70’s, under generally sunny skies…amazing!

All of that is coming to an end…at least temporarily! A sharp cold front sliced through New England eaarly this morning. This front was associated with a lot of mid and high level cloudiness. As has been the case so far this fall, the front had little to no precipitation with it.

After a wet spring, the weather patterns have returned to drier than normal conditions, for the better part of the last three months or so.

Because of this, the Palmer Drought Index have classified much of eastern New England, including us here in Boston, as being abnormally dry. This is the first of four stages in classifying drought status.

At one point, the region was under the extreme, and in some areas exceptional drought. So we have come a long way in eradicating the drought.

However, I believe the long term drought far exceeded the short wet season we experienced last spring. Therefore, it would not surprise me when the drought index is updated this Thursday, more of the region upgrades to moderate drought status.

I was chatting with my weather friend Remy about this the other night, and he had done some research about precipitation patterns here in New England, and came to some startling conclusions.

While it may seem like has rained and snowed quite a bit, he can trace the origin of this “drier” than normal weather patterns all the way back to 2006! Yes, we’ve had some wet seasons, but overall, precipitation has been below average, more times than not during this stretch.

And indeed, it has worsened over the last several years, to the point we have been in and out of one level or another of drought conditions, peaking last autumn, when some areas were under exceptional drought warnings.

Just when you thought we were done with it, an unusual drier than normal pattern re-emerged late this past summer, and has continued unabated straight into this fall.

While the reservoirs and water supplies are still in good shape, such dry conditions stresses our trees, gardens and wildlife.

You could literally write a whole book about the drought, and the implications from it. But keep this in mind, I’m a believer that everything happens for a reason. For reasons unknown to us, Mother Nature has the last say with our climate conditions.

Moving on to other topics. We are now at mid october, and many folks have been asking me why the leaves aren’t changing, yet? This is a very good observation. While splashes of colors have been showing up since about late August, most trees remain unchanged!

After a cool August, this could be the warmest autumn that I can ever recall! While temperatures are not the only reason why leaves change, it is one of the factors that help bring out the colors.

Fall is coming whether we like it or not. As we lose sunlight, and the days get shorter, the leaves begin to lose chlorophyll, the pigment which results in the green leaves.

A process known as photosynthesis uses the sunlight to produce food for the leaves to keep them green. As we lose sunlight, this process diminishes, and the colors of the leaves are revealed.

As I mentioned above, temperature also plays a crucial role. Warmer temperatures will keep sugars and water flowing into the tree. When the temperatures get cool enough, the tree begins to shut off this source, preparing itself for winter hibernation.

Obviously, this process has not commenced here along the coastal plain, yet. It’s been too darn warm! For this reason, fall foliage is currently running two weeks behind schedule this year.

And it’s not just here. Up north, where it typically is colder, has also been running behind with the leaves changing. It was only this past weekend, where reports up north, are coming in that the leaves are finally changing!

So when they do change, how are they looking? I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, there’s never a “bad” foliage season here in New England! Yes, some years are not as vivid as others. This appeares to be one of those years.

A black tar fungus around the Boston area has turned many maple tree leaves brown, or even black, not the colors we’re looking for in autumn!

As I have also said before, all is not lost! Peak foliage is still about three weeks away from arriving here in Boston. We have many species of trees and bushes around here, and some beautiful colors undoubtedly are going to emerge and surprise. It happens every year!

To get this process started, a chilly night is in store for much of New England, tonight! Much of northern New England has already experienced a frost or freeze. This has not been the case for us here in eastern Massachusetts, aside from a few isolated locations.

A very chilly air mass will be settling in across New England tonight. If you live inside of I95, from Portsmouth, N.H., to the city of Boston, Providence, R,I., points south and east, you will not experience frost tonight.

However, areas just west and north of I95, including all the suburbs of Boston, northern Rhode Island, and just outside of Portsmouth, N.H. there is a very good chance that frosty conditions will develop late tonight. This means temperatures could drop to the low to mid 30’s in these locations.

You may ask, Pete, how does frost form if the temperature is 35 or even 36 degrees? Yes, frost can still form, because the the air can become supercooled just within a few feet off the ground, and be close to 32 degrees right at ground level. Remember, cold air is heavier, and more dense, and settle to the ground.

For this reason, a few towns and communities even just inside of I95, but set back away from the ocean, may too exeperience a light touch of frost on some car and roof tops.

So that’s it, right? Summer is over? No!! The endless summer of 2017 is coming back! Because many will have received their first frost, or freeze, it’s safe to say an official Indian Summer is coming!

This cold dip in the jet stream, is quickly going to lift out of New England. Beginning on Wednesday, the high pressure area will begin building south of New England.

Because winds circulate in a clockwise motion around the high pressure, southwesterly winds will begin blowing warm weather right back into New England starting on Wednesday, and last for days on end, at least through next Monday!

Many ask what constitutes an official Indian Summer? The official definition is a warm, sunny period of weather, with light winds, after the first freeze.

A freeze means you have dropped to 32 degrees or lower. As I pointed out above, you can have a frost, and still official not dropped to 32 degrees.

For simplicity sake, after toinight, many will have experienced a frost or freeze, with the exception of coastal communities. So I believe the Indian Summer forecast is justified!

Many have also been asking me whether this warm weather is going to continue into winter? This is a very good question!

As the the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end! After a record setting all time warmest start to October, there are signs of a major pattern change heading towards the end of the month.

Long range computer models are indicating that the upper air pattern is going to reconfigure itself differently than what it has been this past September and most of October.

Rather than having a huge ridge of high pressure over the east (warm & dry), a significant trough of low pressure (cold & stormy), will evolve across the east, including for us here in New England.

This is in response to a retrograding upper air pattern, which builds a high pressure block over Greenland. This typically results in colder weather for us here in New England, as well as increasing chance of storms.

This is a very touchy situation. I have always believed that major pattern shifts at this time of year, could be a significant signal, as to what the winter may bring.

If this pattern shift to colder and stormier weather persists into November, then I have to factor this into my winter forecast. In other words, this pattern shift may have major implications for the winter forecast!

If this were to continue into November, we could see a very stormy winter unfold in much of New England, including Boston, with above to much above normal amounts of snow than usual.

This would be quite the contrast to what we have been experiencing this fall so far. In addition, I could see this beginning sooner than what we’ve been used to in recent years, with wintery threats beginning in November!

At this point, this is still just speculation. If the pattern reverts back to the endless days of summer in November, then I would need factor that into the winter outlook.

This is why I closely monitor weather patterns heading into November so carefully. Regardless, the winter forecast will be written for all to see, right or wrong, on November 20th! So stay tuned for that!

Now for your weekly autumn outdoor activity forecast. I am rating this week a 10 out of 10. Almost unheard of this time of year!

This is going to be short and sweet! After a mainly cloudy day, watch for clearing skies as we head close to sunset. This may result in a beautiful sunset, so keep an eye out for that! It will be cooler today, with highs barely reaching 60 in Boston, and actually dropping into the 50’s by late in the day. No precipitation is expected.

Watch for clear and chilly weather for tonight! As mentioned above, many areas will experience frosty conditions, with lows in the 20’s up north, 30’s in southern New England, except low 40’s in urban areas.

Tuesday will be a crisp, fall day. A great day for a drive to view the foliage! Highs will only be in the 40’s up north, and 50’s south. After another chilly night inland tomorrow night, Wednsday will feature sunny skies with moderating temperatures. Highs will be near 70.

Now, for the period of Thursday through next Monday, expect sunny skies, light winds, with highs in the 70’s and low 80’s, and lows in the 50’s and low 60’s!! Sounds like Indian Summer to me! Enjoy!

Well, that’s about it for today! In next week’s blog, I will be talking more about the possible pattern change, and whether it really means business, or not. I will also have another fall foliage report. In the meantime, Indian Summer reigns for now, but watch out for late October!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

Through The Fog…I Still See Summer! 10/9/17

Hello! Happy Columbus Day, to all! It was yet another split decision weatherwise this past weekend. Saturday was a gorgeous early fall day, with abundant sunshine and warm temperatures. Sunday began with a brief period of showers. These showers moved away, but the rest of the day remained murky, with areas of fog and drizzle.

The one common theme from this past weekend and into today…it’s so darn muggy!! As the remnants of Hurricane Nate tracks north of Boston, it’s pulling up all sorts of tropical moisture from the deep south.

Many friends and family have been asking me, is this unusual weather? The short answer to this question is, yes!! It feels more like Memorial Day than Columbus Day. In fact, it may be a record for being so muggy, so late into the season around here. There’s no sense in sugarcoating it any longer. The autumn’s are warmer than they used to be…a lot warmer!

Just looking back over the last 10 years or so, I can count 7 out of the last 10 autumn’s were warmer than normal. In fact, Boston meteorologist Eric Fisher tweeted a startling graph, showing how Boston autumn’s have been steadily becoming warmer over the last 60 years or so. Yes, there have been some exceptions, but when you smooth the graph, you do notice the median line increasing over the years.

Even within my lifetime, I distinctly remember most years featuring brisk, chilly, autumn like weather on Columbus Day. I can’t remember the last time we had fall like weather on this holiday.

In recent years, many folks have actually been going to the beach! In fact, if you happen to have tomorrow off, I would recommend taking a trip to the beach, it’s going to be that nice!

Yet, despite the warm weather, you can’t stop the seasons from changing. We are losing daylight quickly now, and the nights are getting longer. With less radiation from the sun, cold air is beginning to pool in Canada. Eventually, a strong autumn storm will track close to us, and yank this cold air down into New England.

In a modified way, this is going to happen this week. As Nate passes through our area, the storm system is going to pull down cooler and drier air from the north this week.

However, because the source region is not that cold, it’s only going to bring us back to seasonal levels. It’s main focus is going to eraticate the oppressive humidity levels felt across southern New England.

As mentioned above, Columbus Day used to be the big weekend for peak fall foliage viewing across much of interior New England. Even in Boston, I remember certain trees starting to change color about this time of year. Over the years, the trend has been to push this date back a couple weeks.

While taking a short drive around my area yesterday, I was encouraged to see some splashes of bright foliage showing up on many of the trees. Now it’s true, certain species of maple trees around Boston have already turned brown, and lost their leaves.

This is due to a pesky fungus that attacked the leaves this summer. Lucky for us, there are many different species of trees around Boston!

Therefore, I’m happy to report that I’m still expecting some beautiful colors to arrive real soon! When is it ever not beautiful?

Despite the late start, I have read and seen many reports of some brilliant color showing up north, and even across western Massachusetts. It seemed as if the leaves changed overnight, said one report!

If you want to see peak colors, you probably have to drive about two hours north and west of Boston. However, it’s entirely possible that the color wave quickly collapses south, even as close by as Rt 128 belt by the middle of this week!

Here in Boston, and inside of I95, the process takes longer. Because of the modifying effects of the Atlantic Ocean, fall tends to last longer along the New England coast.

In fact, the beauty of autumn colors can sometimes last until mid November! This is when the perfect mix of chilly nightime temperatures, and mild sunny days, bring out the best of colors around here.

This means our autumn’s tend to last longer along the coast, extending the beautiful colors by a couple weeks longer than across the interior.

Due to the excessive warm weather this October, I am not expecting peak color to arrive in our area until the start of November this year.

Many continue to ask me just what this warm October means for our upcoming winter? This is the million dollar question! I don’t weigh too much of what happens in October for the upcoming winter. In recent years, October has just seemed to become an extension of summer.

My attention primarily focuses in on the patterns in November. My motto is, what happens in November, the winter will remember! While October may offer some clues, it’s in November when I gather most of my signals. Therefore, my official winter forecast is not published until November 20th, this year.

If looking at only October patterns, one would think that an excessively warm winter is on the way. And it’s true, if this pattern were to persist into November and December, you can forget about any meaningful winter this year for Boston.

The whole winter hinges on temperature and precipitation patterns in November. The more above average the temperature is at Logan Airport during November, the less snow the city receives.

Conversely, the closer it is to average or a bit below, the higher the amount of snow falls. I use this, and about 16 other signals to formulate my winter forecast.

Right now, the western trough (cold & stormy) and eastern ridge (warm & dry) pattern is persistant and stable, and is unlikely to change much for the next 7 to 10 days.

However, there are some signs, that as we move towards Halloween and the start of November, chillier temperatures may begin to penetrate the northeast, resulting in a reverse of this current pattern.

If this pattern persists, and does not “flip” to colder weather in November, as I mentioned earlier, a non winter may be in the works. But this is currently NOT the forecast. Just merely speculation.

It’s a very stubborn pattern to break down, especially with a La Nina (colder than normal water) developing in the south Pacific Ocean this winter. Typically, La Nina brings warm and dry winters to Boston, with below average snowfall.

A stubborn ridge (warm & dry) of high pressure tends to persist in the southeast part of the U.S., resulting in a warm & dry winter there. This ridge can sometimes extend all the way up the coast to Boston.

Meanwhile, a trough (cold & stormy) of low pressure, persists across the northwest part of the U.S., resulting in a very snowy and cold winter for that part of the country. This is currently the pattern across the U.S., very La Nina like.

The tricky part is, La Nina can be quite variable. No two La Nina’s are alike! Other global factors can alter the typical pattern, resulting in a surpressed jet stream, bringing snowy and cold weather for Boston. I am closely monitoring these other factors for the upcoming winter forecast.

With all that being said, I have calculated that out of 10 La Nina’s, six of them feature below average snow, two will be close to average, and two will deliver well above average snow. So if don’t like much snow, the odds are in your favor!

Now for weather history. In stark contrast to today, back on October 9th, 1979, an unusual early snowstorm struck the region! While it’s not that unusual for snow to fall in the hills and mountains of New England in October, it is unusual for snow to accumulate along the coast, especially so early in October!

In this storm, not much fell right along the shore, but you didn’t have to travel too far inland to see heavy wet snow begin to pile up!

The storm caused considerable damage to trees and power lines across the region. As is typically the case when it snows in October, not much fell the following winter! The weather community calls this the October snow curse!

Now for your weekly autumn outdoor activity forecast. I will rate this week an 8 out of 10! Expect warm and muggy weather for the rest of today in Boston. More like late mid summer, than early fall. As the remnants of Nate pass by, watch for areas of rain and downpours to travers the region this afternoon, beginning around 2 to 3 PM, and continuing on and off until about 10 PM.

It’s questionable whether the Red Sox get this game in without a rain delay or even a cancellation. If they’re lucky, the heaviest of rain will miss Fenway…go Red Sox!

Any leftover rain will sweep out of the region tonight. Skies will clear and the humidity levels will begin to drop. Still, low temperatures will only fall into the 50’s and low 60’s.

Expect a beautiful day for your Tuesday. Watch for at least partly sunny skies, with lowering levels of humidity. With temperaures near 80, I would consider a trip to the beach if I had the day off!

For the period Wednesday through Friday, expect more typical weather for this time of the year, with high temperatures mainly in the 60’s, and lows in the 40’s and 50’s. It should be mainly dry, however, there is a slight chance of a period of showers Wednesday night into early Thursday.

Next weekend is slightly iffy at this point. I’m not expecting any washouts. However, a front may be in close proximity to our region. If this front is north of us on Saturday, we may break into another blast of warm temperatures! We could be talking 80…again!

Sunday may be slightly cooler, with more clouds increasing, along with the chance of some developing showers, especially later in the day. Thereafter, warmer than normal weather looks to resume at least through October 24th.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will be letting you know when we may see our first frost. At this rate, it won’t be for a while yet. I will also have another fall foliage report, and another update on the winter forecast. In the meantime, summer is not ready to set sail, just yet!

Thanks for reading!

~Happy Birthday to my sister, Val!~ (October 10th)

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