A Spring Surprise! 2/12/18

Hello! I hope everyone had a great, weekend! After a decent Saturday, Sunday turned into a washout! It was quite the miserable day! With it being the first week without football, it was a bit of a downer of a day, for sure!

Up north was colder, but the deep moisture did not reach up there. Many ski resorts reported betwen 3 and 6″ of snow over the weekend. This is a far cry as to what could of been. Though many resorts were expecting at least double that, the snow came at a welcome time for trails that were a bit scratchy from recent thaws.

It was also chilly in the Boston area, but certainly not cold enough for snow. It felt and looked very much like an April type of storm. Cold & dark…but not cold enough for snow. Had it been colder, we would of been looking at a good 10 to 20″ of snowfall in the Boston area.

As it turned out, the two jet streams basically remained separate. The polar jet (cold) brought some periods of snow up north, while the sub tropical jet (moisture) drove tropical moisture up the east coast, bringing warmer temperatures and flooding rains in some places.

In some winters, these two jet streams phase, bringing our biggest snowstorms. Obviously, this has not been the case this year. Even in our big storm of the winter on January 4th, that was mainly driven by the polar jet stream energy. Had sub tropical jet stream got involved, we would of seen double the snow from what we received.

If you have not noticed by now, winter is having serious problems firing on all cylinders this year. Patterns and teleconnections appear very chaotic, confused, and having a hard time deciding which season it wants to be in.

This was not the case at the start of January. The winter began with some of the coldest weather to start the year in Boston’s history. However, since the second week of January, winter has pretty much been missing in action, and has not been seen with any force since.

Yes, there’s been a few quick shots of cold, and several minor snow events, but for the most part, the worst of winter so far was centered around the last week of December, and the first week of January.

You may ask, Pete, what happened to the February snow blitz I was forecasting? This is a good question. This sudden reversal in the global weather patterns has caught the attention of many local meteorologists, and around the country for that matter.

To say that I’m disappointed is an understatement. Not to place blame anywhere, but long range computer models have been just awful this winter. All these rainstorms we’re seeing so far this Febraury, were showing up as snowstorms just a couple weeks ago.

My original forecast of a tough beginning to winter, only to back off and have a mild February, was the way to go when I made my forecast back in November.

Incredibly, computer models reversed this school of thought starting sometime in late December. After a rather significant thaw in January, computer models earlier were forecasting a very rough February, with multiple snowstorms and brutal cold temperatures, somewhat similar to 2015. Well, that should of been a huge red flag for me. February 2015, could of been a once in a lifetime event, and is not something you see often.

There was no reason not to believe that this was not going to happen. Global teleconnections were lining up quite well for a significant period of winter weather to occur.

However, much like the Patriots winning the Super Bowl, it just wasn’t meant to be! Think of it this way. The Patriots & Tom Brady had the ball with 2 minutes left in the game going in for the winning touchdown. Then suddenly, Brady gets sacked and loses the ball!

Pretty much the same thing happened with February’s pattern. In fact, things started falling apart at just about the same time Brady fumbled.

I remember checking the weather during the game, for a storm system for Monday. Earlier forecasts were calling for possibly a significant snowstorm. Just like in the game, this potential quickly fizzled, as it became clear the storm would be more rain than snow.

So what happened, and is it going to come back? The events leading up to winters collapse are complicated. In short, the La Nina turned out to be much stronger than originally thought. Pacific Ocean teleconnections became more hostile, allowing the La Nina to take control. It’s quite fascinating seeing the forces of Mother Nature in battle!

In addition, we have not developed the Greenland block so far this winter. If you recall, this was one of the wildcards I mentioned in my winter forecast. I did say, if the Greenland block does not develop, the southeast ridge (warm & dry) is going to flex its muscles and create a milder winter this year. Still, there are no excuses. I decided to go with the theory of the Greenland block. This has not worked out well for me, so far.

The Greenland block helps to surpress the jet stream. So for instance, had we had a Greenland block in place yesterday, the storm would of featured more snow with it, even close to the coast.

So, is it over? Am I throwing in the towel and giving up? Never!! It’s still only February 12th! There is still time for another turnaround towards wintery weather. True, we are on the back half of winter, and the sun is getting stronger everyday.

But there are indications that the Greenland block is going to begin building over Greenland towards the end of February and to begin March. Yes, I have seen this forecast before, only to not verify.

This time may be different. A large strastospheric warming event is occurring over the North Pole. This is when warm air floods the stratosphere in higher latitudes, and works its way down into the troposphere. This event will likely help induce the Greenland block.

If this happens, high pressure will build over Greenland, north of New England. As a result, the jet stream buckles, and forces cold weather down into New England. Greenland blocks are also notorious for developing nor’easters along the east coast.

So my forecast for an epic snow blitz may not come to pass this year. My original forecast of between 60 and 70″ of snow this winter in Boston is also in jeopardy. However, at this stage of the game, I’m sticking with this number!

At his point, Boston has about 29″ for the season. Normal to date is about 27″. In a typical winter, Logan Airport receives approximately 44″ of snow. If we were to extrapolate average snow for the rest of the season, Boston would come in at about average, give or take.

I’m still counting on a change to a very wintery pattern at the very end of February and the beginning of March, to possibly bring us another 30″ of snow this season. I’ll admit, it doesn’t look good at this moment, but there still is time for strong finish!

As it is, La Nina’s are known for fouling up winter patterns right in the heart of winter. Only to reverse the pattern back to winter come March and April, just when everyone wants it! I find it very difficult to believe that we just waltz into spring this year, without another big snowstorm or two.

Despite the warm weather, ski resorts are hanging in there. It has definitely been quite a variable season, so far. Like down here, the season started out promising. However, a mid winter thaw resulted in many resorts losing a good portion what was built up during the early part of the winter.

Many resorts have since recovered, with temperatures just cold enough for frequent snowfalls, and snowmaking. I’m hoping the warm temperaures do not make much inroads to northern areas over the next couple weeks.

Right now, it’s looking pretty mild and wet at times for school vacation week next week. It would just take a slight adjustment of temperatures to bring more snow than rain, I will monitor this situation.

Now for your weekly outdoor winter activity forecast. I will rate this week a 7 out of 10. More springlike than winter. For the rest of your Monday, expect clearing skies north of Boston, to slowly sink into the city before the sun sets.

This could set the stage for another spectacular sunset! It will remain cloudy down the Cape, with showers ending by 3 o’clock or so. Temperatures will mainly be in the lower 40’s.

Watch for clearing and colder weather tonight, with lows in the teens and 20’s across the region.

Tuesday will feature colder weather. However, it will be a mainly sunny day across much of the region. With the mid February sun angle gaining strength, temperatures should warm up into the upper 20’s in the mountains, and mid 30’s along the coast.

Fair & dry weather will continue tomorrow night, with lows mainly in the 20’s.

Expect more clouds around, but mainly dry conditions for Valentine’s Day. It’s been very wintery the past several Valentine’s Day, so this will be a welcome change for folks who want to hit the town without any travel worries. It will be mild too, with temperatures mainly in the 40’s.

There is a chance of some showers and possible downpours Thursday, especially in the morning. However, if we happen to see some sun during the afternoon, temperatures could shoot up close to 60 degrees in southern New england, and near 50 up north! A touch of spring, indeed!

Unsettled conditions may return later Thursday night and Friday morning, with more showers and downpours. This is associated with a cold front moving across the region, with falling temperatures likely for Friday afternoon and evening.

And we repeat the whole process over again this weekend, with cold and dry weather on Saturday, only to warm back up into the 40’s by Sunday, followed by rain on Monday. Expect similar weather patterns at least through the following week as well.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will be letting everyone know just how long our springlike pattern will persist for. I will also have hopefully a more optimistic ski forecast for next week! In the meantime, enjoy the unexptected mild weather here in February…March could come in like a lion!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

Remembering The Great Blizzard of 1978…2/5/18

Hello! I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend! The weather was fairly typical for this time of year. After a frigid Friday, Saturday was a bit milder, but still on the cold side. Sunday turned cloudy. With a southwest wind, temperatures were even milder.

So much so, when the next storm arrived last night, it was all rain in the Boston area. Thankfully up north, it was just cold enough for wet snow to fall in many ski resorts, with many areas receiving between 4 and 8″ of snow.

Well, it was another cardiac arrest Super Bowl last night! Unfortunately, our New England Patriots fell a bit short in their bid for their 6th championship. Congratulations to the Philidelphia Eagles in winning their first Super Bowl Championship.

Give them credit, they played a great game, and ultimately, executed more plays than the Patriots did. No shame in the Patriots, either. They too played a very competitive game. Brady did everything in his power to pull off another miracle, but it wasn’t meant to be this time around. There was no stopping the Eagles last night, no matter what.

All in all, it was a very busy weekend for me. On Saturday, I went to an event I have been looking forward to for a long time. This is what I wrote on my weather forum, to my friends at WeatherBell Analytics:

Great time had by all at the Granite Links Country Club in Milton, Massachusetts today, commemorating the anniversary of The Great Blizzard of 1978! Keynote speakers were Bob Thompson, director of NWS Taunton, and Dr. Louis Uccellini, director of the National Weather Service.

Topics included a full review of the blizzard, and some other great storms over the past few decades, including the mid Atlantic Blizzard of 2016. Dr. Uccellini hinted at a possible third edition of Snowstorms Along the Northeastern Coast!! Was sorry to hear that Paul kocin was not doing well.

Bob Thompson also spoke in great detail about the coastal flooding destruction during the blizzard, and the dangers that may lie ahead along New England’s coastline. The last hour of the event was reserved for a panel discussion with broadcast meteorologists that were on the air back then, and a few that still are! Many will recognize the names of Harvey Leonard, Mark Rosenthal, Barry Burbank, and the legendary Bob Copeland and Bruce Schwoegler!

This was a very exciting event! There have been many storms since The Blizzard of ’78. Some that stick out in my mind have been The April Fools’ Blizzard of 1997, a fierce blizzard in January of 2005, Nemo on February 8th and 9th, 2013, and the 4 successive blizzards in the epic winter of 2014-15. These were all major storms in their own right. However, the benchmark storm by which we measure, remains The Great Blizzard of 1978.

Why? Over the years, are we perhaps fabricating this storm more than what it really was, as the years go by? As a survivor of the blizzard, and with my own recollection of the blizzard, I can honestly say no.

I am forever grateful that I was old enough to fully remember this event from start ot finish. This may sound too sentimental to some folks, but for me, it inspired me for my love of studying the weather, for the rest of my life!

Here’s my recollection of the infamous blizzard. I remember listening to the radio on Sunday evening, February 5th. The forecast called for a chance for snow on Monday, and accumulations of 4 to 8.”

Monday morning arrived, and forecasters became more frantic. Some forecasters were now calling for a possible major nor’easter, with 8 to 16″ possible. These accumulations were later doubled, then tripled as the day wore on!

A delay in the arrival of the storm, led many to believe that the storm was not going to hit. Therefore, everyone rushed off to school and work that morning, like any other day.

I was going to Parkway Academy at the time. I arrived in school with no issues. For those who remember, Parkway Academy was nestled in the woods right at the beginning of the VFW Parkway in Roslindale.

Before entering school, I distinctly remember the whirling noise of the wind, whistling through the woods. I also remember how dark the sky was, as the dark clouds began to lower and thicken, in anticipation of the impending blizzard.

Not long after we arrived in school, I saw the first flakes swirling out the windows. My excitement level went through the roof, as I could hardly stay in my chair.

As the morning wore on, the intensity of the snow ioncreased. As many have recalled, the storm came in like a wall, in all its fury!

It was now close to noontime, and a mass exodus had begun across the city to get home safely. When we were released at Parkway, the storm had turned into a full fledged blizzard, with heavy snow, and winds roaring up to 50 mph. It took another two hours for the bus to arrive and make it to the bus stop near my home in West Roxbury.

By the time I got off the bus, the storm had further intensified into a dangerous blizzard. As I walked home from the bus stop, I remember the wind knocking me down into the drifting snow. I got up, and continued my treck home, while the wind roared above me.

When I finally reached home, I found my father tying down the awning over our back deck, as the wind threatened to rip it off the house.

It was a time I will remember for the rest of my life, our whole family huddled in the house, as the blizzard raged on for the next 36 hours! Severe blizzard conditions continued straight all through Monday night, February 6th.

And because the storm stalled south of New England, the blizzard continued unabated all through next day Tuesday, February 7th. It wasn’t until late Tuesday night, that the storm gradually began to taper off across the region.

When it was over, between 30 and 50″ of snow fell from an area from just southwest of Boston, down through northern Rhode Island. This was drifted into massive 10 to 15 ft drifts by winds of up to 125 mph!

Not to be overlooked, the coastal detruction was the worst in recorded history in Massachusetts. As I learned from the conference I attended, there were stronger storms way back in 1898 and in 1851.

However, its pretty safe to say, that this was the worst storm in the 20th century. And could be a once in a lifetime event for many of us.

The combination of a high astronomical tides, and four successive high tides, brought a storm surge or ‘fetch’ of ocean water into coastal locations, not seen before.

The inland aspect of the blizzard was equally devastating. Hundreds of people became stranded in their vehicles on Rt 128 in the Dedham/Needham area. As the snow drifted over their cars, some kept the car running for heat. Unfortunately, many succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning, because snow covered the exhaust pipes of the cars. Just an awful scenerio.

On a happier note, I do remember how people came closer together to help each other across the city after the blizzard. I also remember the National Gaurd using front end loaders to clear the streets. People buzzing around in snow mobiles, and cross country skiing around the city!

It would not be a blizzard story if I didn’t bring up a story of my old childhood friend, and my neighbor when we were kids, Eric Blaney. Eric is still a close friend today, but I still remember coming out after the blizzard, and digging tunnels and our secret whistle, to find each other! We also built some insane snow forts in between the houses! Great memories!

Any blizzards in our future? Right now, no. However, we do have a winter storm threat on Wednesday…nothing that we can’t handle! As for the rest of February, it looks like the severe cold I thought was coming, may not be coming after all.

Does this mean winter is over? The short answer to this question is no. In fact, with the threat of increased storminess, the snow I was forecasting still is still on the table. It just has to be cold enough at the right time for snowstorms instead of rainstorms.

This looks like the case especially for areas north of I90 (Mass Pike). This could be the pattern ski resorts have been looking for the whole winter! I can see several storms dumping heavy snow across much of northern New England from now into March. At times, this may include the Boston area, which will be on the southern edge of this snow blitz.

Now for your outdoor winter activity forecast. I will rate this week a 4 out of 10. Expect sunny and cool weather for the rest of your Monday, highs will be in the upper 30’s.

Tonight will feature clear and cold weather. With light winds, it will be ideal for radiational cooling. This means very cold temperatures in snow covered locations across the deep interior. Lows will be in the single digits and teens.

After a frigid start, Tuesday will a mix of sun and clouds. There is a slight chance of a few snow showers. A light southwest wind will transport somewhat milder weather by tomorrow afternoon. Highs will be in the low 30’s across the interior, and mid to upper 30’s across the coast.

Tuesday night will feature increasing clouds as somewhat colder air filters into the region. Lows will fall into the teens and 20’s.

Wednesday is looking like a very messy day. A storm system will be tracking from the Ohio Valley, towards southern New England. Snow will develop, and quickly spread from west to east during the morning. Timing may be a bit off at this point, so check for updates tomorrow.

Nonetheless, it should be snowing everywhere by midday. Snow may fall heavily at times in Boston during the afternoon. The track of the storm is critical as to what happens next. Before I get to that, if you live in and southern New Hampshire, say Nashua area to Manchester to Concord, I would be preparing for a heavy winter storm.

Right now, it looks like you may see between 8 and 12″ of snow on the way! Along the seacoast of New Hampshire, some mixing may keep accumulations down to 5 to 10″.

As mentioned earlier, the track is critical for here in Boston. At this juncture, it looks like the center of the storm is going to come close enough to Boston, to allow for mild air to mix the snow to sleet and freezing rain, and eventually change it to plain rain during the evening, but it may be a struggle this time.

As the storm moves east of Boston, cold air may rush back into the city, briefly changing the rain back to snow. Overall, it looks like between 2 and 4″ of snow and icy mix may accumulate in Boston.

This forecast is subject to change! If the storm tracks slightly further south, a colder solution could be the end result, making for more snow even here in Boston. A closer track, would cut down accumulations, and bring rain and milder air in sooner.

Regardless, Look for between 3 to 6″ just north of Boston, with amounts steadily increasing the closer you get to New Hampshire. For locations south of Boston, less snow is anticipated, with between 1 and 3″. Even less is expected on the Cape, with a quicker change to rain there.

Snow showers may linger later Wednesday night, then end before Thursday morning. Generally cloudy weather will linger on Thursday, with cold temperatures, giving it a very wintery feel and look to the region. Highs will mainly be in the 20’s and 30’s, with a brisk wind.

A small system may approach on Friday, with the chance of some light snow or flurries. No major accumulations are anticipated at this time. Temperatures will mainly be in the 30’s.

Right now, the weekend looks to start off dry and cold on Saturday. Another storm may approach New England from the southwest. At this point, it looks to bring more rain to southern New England, and snow to northern areas. Because of the midweek system, details about this system is quite murky. needless to say, expect inclement weather for the second part of the weekend.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will be discussing in more detail about our current pattern, and where we go from here heading into March. Speaking of March, just a friendly reminder letting you know that the Red Sox equipment truck left Boston for Florida today! Anything winter can throw at us this time of year, spring is right around the corner!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

P.S. Feel free to share your story to me about the Blizzard of ’78!

Winter Part II…Snow Blitz? 1/29/18

Hello! I hope everyone had a great, weekend! I must admit, it felt a bit empty without watching any football. Watching golf on a Sunday afternoon is just not the same!

As for the weather…well that was something to cheer about! The January thaw we’ve been experiencing peaked this past weekend.

Saturday turned out mainly sunny, and temperatures soared into the 50’s! Sunday started out with some showers, but these moved south of Boston early, leaving us with a cloudy but warm afternoon. Temperatures in Boston were nearly 20 degrees above average for the date.

Even today, despite a brisk wind off the ocean, it has more of a March feel, than late January. Folks were bundled up down at the rally down at Gillette Stadium for the Patriots! Despite the chilly temperatures, the crowd came out in full force, giving the team a very supportive send off to Minnesota!

As we know, the weather could of been a lot worse for the rally. This time of year, we could easily been facing a heavy snowfall, or at the very least bitter cold temperatures. So Mother Nature was very kind to the Patriots and fans alike!

With that being said, the weather out in Minneapolis will not be so kind to the team or fans as they arrive later today. I believe last I checked had windchill values of negative 23 degrees! This may be bitter cold to Boston standards, but is just normal for folks out there!

Interesting to note, no doubt the climate in Minnesota is colder than here in New England. This is because it’s land locked in the middle of the country, with central Canada just to the north. This allows bitter cold outbreraks to come unmodified straight into the state from Canada.

Here in New England, we have the Atlantic Ocean which modifies theses cold blasts. New England is essentially the same latitude as Minnesota, but much of our region is surrounded by ocean.

You may think that because it’s colder out there, they probably receive a lot more snow. Well, yes and no. While the ocean may modify our climate especially early in the winter, it actually tends to add more moisture to our storms as we get deeper into the winter, specifically February.

Therefore, many areas of New England, especially from the Mass Pike north, actually receive more annual snowfall than Minnesota.

But when you add up the bitter cold temperatures and snowfall that rarely melts out there, the winters can be long and hard. Luckily for us here in Boston, we typically receive one or two breaks during the winter.

Speaking of breaks, after the coldest start of any year on record, average temperatures have made quite the recovery here in January. In fact, after yesterday’s unseasonably mild weather, Boston has worked its way all the way back to neutral this month. We shall see how temperatures fair over the next day or two, but with chillier weather on the way, we may end up slightly negative for the month.

Is the January Thaw going to linger into February? If you’ve been following my posts the past couple weeks, I think you already know the answer to this question!

But just in case you haven’t, I believe the January Thaw is actually ending today, and winter part II is just about ready to get underway!

Long range forecasting is complicated! Many meteorologists don’t want to go near it, because there are just too many variables! While advancements in technology has greatly improved forecasting, there are still many aspects of the atmosphere that remain a mystery.

Just take the minor storm coming up for tonight. Computer models have been all over the place with this system. A couple days ago, they showed a healthy snowfall of greater than 6″ in Boston, only to back way off on Saturday.

Things heated up again yesterday, as amounts increased across eastern Massachusetts. Patience was the best way to go in this situation, as late last night, computer models once again backed off the snow totals, and have pretty much squashed the event. Glad I didn’t send any warnings out!

Nonetheless, we forge ahead! My winter outlook called for between 60 and 70″ of snow in Boston. So far, we are running ahead of normal, but not by much. Boston has accumulated about 24″ of snow so far this winter.

Did I think there would be more by this time? Yes, I’m somewhat surprised we have not seen more storms this winter, up to this point. One thing I was concerned about back in the fall, was the persistant dry patterns I noticed over much of the country, specifically here in New England.

This does not include the record rainfall from Hurricane Harvey in Houston back in the summer. Those are fairly isolated events.

Just yesterday, I was explaining to my brother how that nor’easter we had back on Jaunary 4th, should of produced double the amount of snow than what we got. Yes, that would of been an epic snowfall, but that storm had the potential to do it.

It was a very intense storm, but seemed to lack moisture output, for the intensity of the system. And the fact that it was such a fast mover, basically in and out of our area within 8 to 10 hours. Typically, these type of storms last for about 18 to 24 hours.

After that storm, we haven’t had much of any consequence in Boston this month. This is typical in La Nina winters. High variability!

And this winter appears to be no exception to this rule. After a rather brutal stretch of weather, winter just seemed to disappear. Now, it appears as if it’s going to come back, with a vengeance!

Yes, I have been stating this for some time now. Why should you believe me now? Well, as I mentioned above, nothing is ever gauranteed in this field.

However, I must say, I do see the potential for one of our New England classic “snow blitzes” to occur next month. What does a snow blitz mean, and how much am I talking?

Over the past 15 or 20 years, we have had wild swings in our weather patterns, and have been more extreme than ever!

But is this really true? I would say yes, very much so. I have been following the weather patterns since I can remember, and never remember seeing such extreme volatility.

It seems like Mother Nature saves up her energy, and then just unleashes it in a unrelenting manner, burying us with boatloads of snow!

I can recall the following snow blitzes in recent years: In January/February 2005, December/January 2010-11, and the epic snow blitz of January/February 2015.

In 2005, Boston received 84″ of snow, in 2011 we received 81″, in 2015, we received a whopping 110.8″!!! Some 94″ falling in just 3 weeks!

Will this forecasted snow blitz be similar to any of these? This is the million dollar question! I believe something major is about to happen. It’s difficult to say just how much will fall. Even if it’s half of February 2015, it would be very significant. Just subtle shifts can make a huge difference in the outcome!

With the seasonal shift in place, I believe the time frame to watch out for is from the beginning of February lasting until at least until the middle of March. Winter will tend to linger deep into March this year.

In this period, I’m expecting between 35 and 45″ of snow to fall in Boston, with a possible high impact blizzard or two. At this time, I believe my numbers may be on the conservative side. The potential for even greater accumulations exist. With these accumulations I’m very confident seasonal snowfall will end up in my projected 60 to 70″ forecasted for Boston back in November, perhaps more.

Could this blitz fizzle? Yes, nothing is etched in stone. Cold & dry air could overwhelm the pattern, surpressing the jet stream, keeping the heaviest moisture south of New England.

I’m banking on a more energetic jet stream, extreme temperature contrasts close to the coast, and more moisture laden storms interacting with cold air, to bring the snow.

For what it’s worth, I’m relying on lifelong experience in studying the weather patterns and climate here in New England. The research for this winter forecast began from way back last summer!

Ski resorts have stabilized over the past week. With the innovation of snow making, resorts can recover from a thaw, quicker than anytime in history. Though no blockbuster is imminent, colder weather, with bouts of accumulating snow appear to be in the cards for the next 7 to 10 days. This will greatly improve conditions, heading into the big month of February.

Now for your weekly outdoor winter activity forecast. I am rating this week a 5 out of 10. Turning rather wintery. For the rest of your Monday, expect gray and chilly weather. A brisk northeast wind will make it feel damp. Temperatures will mainly be in the 30’s.

A tricky storm system will be developing southeast of New England tonight. Precipitation is likely to spread from southeast to northwest across eastern Massachusetts. Expect light wet snow to begin early this evening in Boston and continue until mid morning tomorrow. Right now, the best estimate for accumulation is about 1″ although up to 2″ is not out of the question.

Because the south shore and the Cape is closer to the storm, precipitation may be somewhat heavier. Any rain will change to wet snow tonight, and accumulate 2 to 4″ in this area, with isolated 5″ amounts, with slippery traveling conditions developing.

In addition, because there of the second full moon on wednesday, tides are astronomically high. We are very fortunate this is not intensifying into a major nor’easter. Otherwise, we would be looking at similar coastal flooding as the January 4th storm. As it is, there may be some minor coastal flooding in vulnerable areas along the coast at the time of high tide overnight. Please be aware and monitor the situation.

Expect snow to diminish tomorrow from west to east, early in Boston, a bit later on the Cape. It will be on the chilly side, with highs in the mid 30’s. A gusty wind may keep snow blowing around on the Cape, for a very wintery day for sure.

Tuesday night will feature some scattered snow flurries and snow showers. No accumulation expected, but it will be on the windy and cold side. Lows will be in the teens and 20’s.

Wednesday should feature lots of sun, but it will be on the windy & cold side for the last day of January. Highs will be mainly in the 20’s and lower 30’s.

Watch for the second full “Wolf” moon rising up in the eastern sky, Wednesday evening! Watch for clear and cold weather overnight, with lows mainly in the teens.

Expect slightly milder weather on Thursday, with a southwest wind, and highs close to 40 degrees. It should be dry, but expect increasing clouds during the day.

Yet another complex storm system may affect New England Thursday night into Friday. An arctic cold front will be pressing into New England. At the same time, a storm may form along this front, then intensify as it passes south of New England on Friday. This may yield a low impact snowfall across much of the region. Right now, let’s say the potential of 2″ or more is possible, with future adjustments likely.

After this storm passes, arctic air will pour into New England, with very cold weather likely on Saturday. High temperatures will only be in the teens and 20’s.

Warm air will try to press back into New England on Super Bowl Sunday. This warm air will ride up and over the cold air, resulting in light snow developing during the day. Thereafter, the potential exists for a stronger storm around February 5th or 6th.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will update everyone on the status of the anticipated snow blitz. I will also have my own 40th anniversary rendition of the Great Blizzard of 1978! In the meantime, get ready for winter part II, the last chapter in the story!

~Thanks for reading!~

GO PATRIOTS!!!

Mid-Winter Siesta! 1/22/18

Hello! I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend! If you thought it felt more like March than January, you were correct! Saturday featured temperatures near 50 regionwide, with plentiful sunshine. Sunday was a repeat performace, with lots of sun, and highs well up into the 40’s to near 50!

Speaking of repeat performances, our beloved Patriots pulled it off again, with a miraculous 4th quarter comeback win in yesterday’s AFC championship game at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro! With this win, the Patriots punch their way into the Super Bowl LII, for the second year in a row!

Today we awoke to different weather, altogether. No, it wasn’t snowing, but many awoke to a cold rain, and some to snow & freezing rain up in New Hampshire, and Maine. Lucky we won yesterday, or this rain and wintery mix would of felt even more miserable!

All in all, you couldn’t of asked for a better weekend for winter outdoor activity in New England! Whether you were on the slopes skiing, a brisk winter walk with your dog, or at Gillette Stadium for the game, it was a gift from Mother Nature in a typically frigid time of the year!

So, right back into the icebox, right? Well, not quite! While there will be a few cold days here and there, the weather for the rest of January looks fairly benign, from what I can see. This is quite the contrast to the first 10 days of the month.

Wow, was it cold! They say the first week of January was one of the coldest on record here in Boston! It’s no surprise harbors and bays were freezing over around the region. Even after the major thaw, large chunks of ice the size of icebergs were washing up on Cape Cod shores.

Even with the mild weather over the next couple weeks, January still appears as if it’s going to finish below average in temperatures. This will make the 3rd straight month of below average temperatures in Boston.

Still, as we head to the mid point of winter, I thought we would of had more snow. Are we running below average? Not quite! Boston is actually running about 7″ more than where we are supposed to be at this point of the season.

I’m not saying the winter has not impressed up to this point. Compared to the past several winters, we’ve almost had a whole seasons worth of winter already! From what I’m seeing moving forward, we are very fortunate that we’re receiving this mid winter break!

As mentioned in last weeks blog, there are many global indications pointing towards a major pattern shift towards possibly severe winter weather conditions for much of the eastern part of the U.S. Looking over long range data this morning, I see no reason to back down on my thoughts on this potential serious situation.

Some friends may say, Pete, you said the first part of the winter would bring the worst this year! Yes, I did say this in my winter forecast. The explanation for the back pedaling is complex.

While I never called for a complete end to winter, I did say the worst of winter may be over by the time February rolled around, with perhaps a comeback in March.

Well, it now appears that we may be going through what many tough winters go through at some point. Meaning, a relaxation to the pattern about midway through, only to come back with a vengeance and lock in for the duration.

But why is this potential on the table? For one, ocean temperatures are finally cooling off from last summers record high levels. This is part of the seasonal shift I have been talking about for several years. I thought maybe that would correct itself this year to some extent, but the fact that summer extended so deep into this past autumn, is a sign that the ocean is still playing a major role in our climate. This is called latent heating and cooling.

Second, a weak solar cycle (sun), is going to promote blocking in Greenland moving forward. This is going to allow cold air from Canada to dump into the eastern part of the U.S.

Third, a weakening La Nina is going to allow deep troughs of low pressure (cold + stormy) to establish themselves longer and stronger in eastern part of the U.S. There are other factors, but these are the main three for starters.

Is this just wishful thinking because I love winter? Nope. By now, you should know that I call it, as I see it. Does this mean a repeat of the epic 2015 February is on the way? It’s hard to tell for sure. But if I were to venture an educated guess, I would say not to that exetent!

While it could get wild, there are some differences to consider. First, we were in a weak El Nino that year. This year, we are in a weak La Nina. Weak El Nino’s feature a active sub tropical jet, that supplies moisture.

A few years ago the polar jet (cold + energy) phased with the sub tropical jet (stormy + moisture). When these two jet streams phased over eastern New England, the results were four catastrophic snowfalls in succession!

La Nina features a more active and dominant polar jet stream. This pattern features energetic storms, that develop rapidly, but are also devoid of moisture, and tend to move rapidly. Think of the January 4th snowstorm for an example. This was a very intense storm, but moved quickly, with Boston averting a blockbuster storm.

Placing all this together, I believe we have a more severe second part of winter ahead, than first part. We’ve had approximately 24″ of snow so far this year in Boston. I could see another blizzard or 2 occurring this winter. Keeping with the theme of La Nina, these would be intense, but fast moving storms. So another 35 to 45″ of snow is possible before the winter ends. The big story may be the reappearance of the bitter cold weather. I would not be surprised if harbors and bays froze again in February and early March.

Now for a brief weather history segmnet. This time of the year has brought many historical storms to New England. In 1978, Boston was struck with the first of two blizzards. Many forget, there were two blizzards that winter. The first one was on January 20th, where up to 2 ft fell in Boston, in just one day! Of course the second one was the grand daddy of them all, which occurred just two weeks later, February 6th.

The other storm was in more recent times, back in 2005. This was known as Cape Cod’s Blizzard of ’78, when up to 40″ of snow fell on the Cape, whipped up by hurricane force winds! Many folks were stranded by up to 15 ft drifts! Much of eastern Mass was also hit hard, with 2 to 3 ft of snow falling across the region, with drifts up to 5 ft.

How are ski resorts doing? I would rate this week a 4 out of 10. It’s been a bit of a frustrating season up to this point. After a fast start, bitterly cold temperatures prevented some skiiers from getting out there some days. Then a nuclear thaw came, only to be followed up by a freeze with icy conditions.

Last week, a weak storm dropped between 4 to 8″ of wet snow. This week, a couple inches of snow and ice today, will give way to a soaking rain tomorrow, then colder again, only to be followed up by more icy weather and warmer temperatures this weekend….YUCK! We may have to wait until February to get more consistant conditions back to our resorts.

Now for our weekly outdoor winter activity forecast. I will rate this week a 6 out of 10. Expect damp weather this afternoon and evening. It will be chilly, with highs in the 30’s. A wintery mix of precipitation will continue in New Hampshire and Maine into tonight. Watch for gusty winds and warmer weather to overspread much of New England tomorrow. In addition, heavy rain squalls will be traversing the region from west to east, especially during the afternoon. This includes much of northern New England, except for far northern Maine. Temperature will soar into the 40’s and 50’s across the region.

Early showers will exit southern New England tomorrow evening. Colder air will sweep into northern New England, changing rain showers back to snow showers, mainly in the mountains. It will turn cooler, with lows in the 20’s and 30’s.

Wednesday will be blustery and cooler, with partly cloudy skies. Highs will be mainly in the 30’s and 40’s around the region. Even colder weather will move into the region tomorrow night, with lows in the teens and 20’s.

Watch for cold weather Thursday. It will be dry, but temperatures will fail to reach freezing. With a gusty wind, it will feel like mid winter, with highs mainly in the 20’s.

Clear and cold weather will continue Thursday night, with lows in the single digits up north and teens in southern New England.

Friday will continue to feature dry weather and chilly temperatures. It may be a touch milder, with less wind. High temperatures may reach the middle 30’s around the Boston area. No problems seen for Friday night, with just some clouds around and seasonably cold temperatures.

Another warm up is on tap for this weekend. Saturday will feature some increasing clouds, with highs in the low 40’s. Showers may move in Saturday night and continue into early Sunday. Highs should move into the lower 50’s, once again! The mild weather may continue into much of next week. A change may be looming thereafter.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will focus on the severity of winter part II. I will also let you know when to expect the thaw to come to an end. In the meantime, enjoy the winter siesta, it’s a well deserved break!

~Thanks for reading!~

Pete

Watching Wednesday…1/15/18

Hello! Happy Martin Luther King Day! I hope everyone had a great, weekend! If you’re into sports, and even if you’re not, it was a great weekend to stay home and watch some exciting football with friends and family! Looking forward to watching our New England Patriots play in their 7th straight AFC Championship game in a row this Sunday! Amazing!

I was glad the storm I forecasted for this past weekend, turned out to be mostly rain across the area! When making a forecast last Monday, it looked as if the cold air would arrive sooner, making it a more wintery type storm. Computer models trended warmer during the week, so no further updates were warranted for that particular event.

That’s not to say it wasn’t a significant storm! Wow…I don’t know about you, but I was shocked at the intensity of the thaw that pushed into New England! While many were pleased to see the snow get completely obliterated, I was not one of those people!

One thing I have learned if you want sustained cold in winter, never trust a La Nina winter! While it’s safer across the deep interior and up in ski country, the coastal plain is susceptible to epic mid winter meltdowns.

Hard to believe nearly 14″ of snow and tall snowbanks could completely vanish within 48 hours! I was in awe standing in the Star Market parking lot in West Roxbury, literally watching the snow evaporating from the snowbanks!

Curious as to how all this could happen, I looked further into the epic meltdown. The combination of warm tropical air, with dew point temperatures near 60 degrees, air temperatures in the low 60’s, a strong southerly wind, and the ultimate killer, snow eating fog! All these factors, in conjunction with nearly 2″ of drenching rains, helped to eraticate the impressive snow pack…quickly!

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I love my winter season! I also love summer, but I love winter MORE! What happened at the end of last week, could be compared to if temperatures were in the 40’s with a soaking rain, on 4th of July, for folks who love summer!

And it wasn’t just here in Boston. The unprecedented thaw swept all the way up to the Canadian border, nearly wiping out snow bases from ski resorts around the region. Even Mt. Washington had most of its snow disappear!

There was hope cold air would catch up to moisture on Saturday, changing the rain to heavy snow, salvaging the important Martin Luther King Day holiday ski weekend. But that never really happened.

I was dismayed when I woke up Saturday morning to find all the precipitation had abruptly shut off, and the sun was already beginning to poke through the storm clouds. In fact, Saturday turned out to be a sunny day!

Welcome to La Nina winter in New England! Fast moving storms, rapid temperature fluctuations, and weather patterns that never can seem to make up their mind!

The big question, is it the La Nina, or just New England weather being New England weather? Well, I believe the answer lies somewhere in the middle! As we all know, our climate is fickle to begin with. Add a La Nina to the mix, and the weather really gets weird!

Many friends and family have told me they’ve already had enough winter! Bring on spring! So far, Boston has received approximately 23″ of snow this season. This is about 10″ ahead of schedule for the date.

We also have had our share of cold. Both November and December averaged below average temperatures. In some cases, especially late December and first week of January, way below average! This led to incredible pictures and video of bays and harbors freezing over across New England!Thanks to all who sent me these to my timeline!

So the thaw was needed and welcomed by many across the region. While it’s true we’ve had a pretty impressive first half of the winter, I’m eyeing the possibilty of an even harsher second part of winter!

Last week, I mentioned that this winter is not for the faint of heart. Just what exactly do I mean when I say that? Well, when you add up the harsh beginning, with the bitter cold temperatures, and major nor’easter a couple weeks ago, then the prospects of a even more intense second half of the winter, well, things could get rough.

Why do I think it’s going to get worse? There are a number of global factors that I’m looking at, that support this forecast.

First, La Nina will be weakening heading into spring. This will actually allow more cold air to spill into the U.S. and spread east into New England.

Second, ocean temperatures are beginning to finally cool off. This fits in very well with the seasonal shift I have been talking about over the last several years. Once winter settles in, it’s going to be difficult to dislodge it.

Third, computer models are forecasting a disruption of the Polar Vortex. What does this mean? This is a complex subject, that only Atmospheric Scientists truly understand.

By now, I’m sure you have heard the term ‘Polar Vortex’ in media outlets. The Polar Vortex is a vortex of cold air spinning around the arctic regions. When the vortex is strong, it tightens up, allowing warm westerly winds to flow across much of the United States, keeping us mild.

Occasionally, the Polar Vortex is disrupted by warming in the upper stratosphere. When this happens, it disrupts the vortex, allowing lobes of cold air to penetrate into lower latitudes, where we live.

Computer models are forecasting multiple disruptions of the Polar Vortex in coming weeks. This may lead to extended periods of frigid cold weather across a good chunk of the U.S. including us here in New England.

In addition, as the jet stream becomes more active and interacts with the cold air, more nor’easters and winter storms are anicipated from February and into March.

Now for the good news! Before that happens, it appears a general relaxation of the pattern is going to bring an extended period of above average temperatures to much of the eastern part of the U.S. including us here in New England.

You may ask, Pete, did we not just have a January thaw? Yes, but that was just a ‘mini thaw.’ A real genuine thaw looks to be on the table…beginning after the winter storm threat on Wednesday.

Wait, what?? Winter storm threat on Wednesday?? Yes, in typical La Nina fashion, another complex winter storm is setting its eyes on much of New England for this Wednesday. This is another very complex set up!

However, latest computer model runs are trending towards a potential heavy snowstorm for interior portions of New England. This means areas north and west of Interstate I95. At this point, I am anticipating snowfall to be in excess of 5″ but not more than 8″, occurring during the day on Wednesday, especially during the morning.

Let’s say from Worcester, to Portsmouth N.H. up to Portland, Maine, and back over to Manchester, N.H. and all towns in between outside of I95, is in this zone.

Is this my final call on this storm? Not at all! Could the heavy axis end up in the city of Boston? No doubt. There are still some models showing a colder solution, and thumping Boston with a heavy wet snowstorm on Wednesday.

Because of the tricky timing of this storm, I am going to review more data, and wait until tomorrow to make a final call with this storm system for Wednesday. As usual, please see my updated post on Facebook for my latest thoughts on this potential storm.

Here’s your latest New England ski forecast. After last weeks nuclear meltdown, things have stabilized, and many resorts are back to making snow. In addition, many areas will be receiving a decent snowfall on Wednesday, resulting in very good conditions returning heading into next weekend. Overall, I will ratre this week a 7 out of 10.

Now for your weekly regional winter activity forecast. I will rate this week a 5 out of 10. Winter weather, but also spring weather by next weekend!

Expect cloudy and cold weather for the rest of your Monday. If you live on Cape Ann, and the south shore of Boston, you will continue to see ocean effect snow blowing in off the ocean. Many areas have already picked up a couple to three inches of snow. You may pick up another couple inches for your own private snowstorm!

Oddly enough, these same areas could receive mostly rain on Wednesday! Later, these snow showers may spread up into Boston, resulting in slippery travel, and a couple inches of snow overnight here in the city. It will remain on frigid side, with highs only in the teens.

Tuesday should feature mainly cloudy weather. Another area of snow may move into western Massachusetts and Vermont during the afternoon. I’m not expecting snow tomorrow in Boston, and it should be milder, with high temperatures near 30.

As mentioned above, a storm will be developing across the mid Atlantic region tomorrow night. This storm is expected to be another fast mover, but it will be tapping into tropical moisture out in the Atlantic Ocean, while feeding off cold air off to our west.

Due to the clash of these two air masses, a wide area of precipitation is going to develop, and rapidly move into New England late tomorrow night. This should begin as all snow from Boston points north and west. Down on the Cape, it may begin as a mix, but latest computer models are showing warm air flowing in off the ocean, turning this to mainly rain.

Wednesday is going to be a tricky day. I am not expecting blizzard conditions, or anything like the storm we had back on January 4th. However, a good part of our region could see a good slug of precipitation, with the heaviest falling the first part of the day…especailly during the AM commute. In places where it’s cold enough outlined above, this will fall as snow, and quickly accumulate between 5 and 8″ as I see it right now.

The forecast for Boston is much trickier! As the storm approaches, computer models are poking a nose of warm air in the upper levels of the atmosphere over the city, to create very borderline temperatures to support snow.

If I were to go by what the data says right now, I would say that a burst of heavy wet snow will fall in Boston, which may also mix with rain at times, keeping accumulations between 3 and 6″.

However, as I mentioned above, I will need to update everyone on the forecast for Boston tomorrow. This could still trend colder, resulting in different scenerio for Boston, with heavier accumulations. The problem with this storm is that the heaviest snow may be falling during the morning commute.

Conditions will begin to improve, as the storm pushes off the coast later Wednesday, and skies begin to clear at night. Lows will fall back to the teens and twenties. Any areas that see slush, will freeze up overnight, so be aware of that.

Thursday should see sunny skies, and seasonable temperatures, with highs in the low 30’s. No bitter cold air will follow this storm, unlike the one on January 4th.

As promised, a warming trend will commence on Friday, and continue through the weekend, with mainly dry conditions. I would say upper 30’s on Friday, upper 40’s on Saturday, and mid 50’s on Sunday! It will truly be a touch of spring! Wow!

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will be talking about how long January thaw part II will be sticking around for!

I will also be reviewing latest data regarding the second part of winter, and its implications. In the meantime, I’m keeping a close eye on Wednesday, especially for that all important commute & possible school delays and cancellations!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

GO PATRIOTS!!

Cold Snap…Snapped! 1/8/18

Hello! I hope everyone was bundled up and kept warm this weekend! After the blizzard, temperatures plunged into the deep freeze, with sub zero readings at night, and wind chills to minus 30 below zero! Friday was brutal, with ineffective sunshine and gale force winds, resulting in widespread areas of blowing snow. The winds were less intense on Saturday, but temperatures barely made it out of the single digits.

Wow! What a storm! The weather of this past week was a meteorologists/weather enthusiast smorgasbord! The interaction between Facebook friends, new friends and family brought levels of competence you don’t see everywhere! I would like to personally thank everyone for all the great questions, positive feedback, and weather observations!

I would also like to thank the Beethoven Elementary School in West Roxbury, in placing their trust in my forecast in helping them determine whether a snow day was coming!

Of course, I have no control in that decision. Determining whether to cancel school in Boston is a collaberative effort with city officials, the NWS, and other agencies.

In the end, the children’s safety should be first and foremost in the decision making. The decision to close down nearly the whole city on Thursday was also a very good move in my opinion.

A late afternoon press on conference on Thursday with city dignitaries had Mayor Walsh closing Boston Public Schools a second day on Friday. This too, was the smart decision. The city was hit hard, and needed more time to clear sidewalks, and streets to make it safer for kids and parents alike.

It’s always a tricky call. In this case, Mother Nature gave clear signals that a major storm was coming. I can recall a similar situation just last winter, where a major storm was forecasted for Monday morning with blizzard conditions and high winds. Shools were cancelled, everyone was ready for the storm. We we all awoke Monday, the sun was shining, and the storm missed!

In all fairness, it was meant to be a two part storm. We did get hit with the first one, with 6 to 12″ of wet snow falling on that Sunday. Another 6 to 12″ of windblown snow was forecasted to hit on Monday.

This storm did develop, but it was north of Boston’s latitude, therefore clocking Maine the next day, and sparing Boston. Computer models made a last second change in the track of the storm, and it was too late to reverse the no school call made the day before. It was a very frustrating storm, to say the least.

I can also see the difficult decision the city encounters when making a no school call. Some folks say just wait like the old days until 6:30 the morning of the storm. This would be ideal. But we don’t live in the 70’s anymore! People’s time is so much more in demand these days!

Many parents have have to scramble to place kids in daycare or with relatives when they are faced with these last second decisions.

Not to mention many employers who are not so understanding when it comes down to lost time. It’s better to make a decision and stick with it, rather than to flip flop and keep people wondering.

Circling back to the storm that hit much of New England on Thursday. Overall, I was pleased with my forecast for much of the area. I certainly busted too high on snowfall for the Cape! Many friends on the Cape were messaging me asking me when the snow was coming?

The Cape is such a difficult call during winter storms. This is beacuse of it’s location sticking out into the Atlantic Ocean. I’ll tell you this, it could of very easily turned into a wicked blizzard down there. As it turned out, a coastal front developed, and persisted during the duration of the storm.

This meant mild ocean winds warmed up the temperatures to well above freezing anywhere east of the canal, even right up along the immediate coastline from Plymouth, Marshfield, and Scituate.

While the cold air changed the rain to heavy wet snow in these areas, it never really made it to the Cape. With so much cold air over the region, many meteoroligists and myself thought it would change the rain to snow sooner.

I believe the culprit was that the storm actually moved closer to the coast than what was first predicted. Therefore, places like Worcester, who were not supposed to see much snow, ended up getting 16″ of accumulation!

Sorry if you were expecting a big snow, and got nothing! It’s part of the risk you live living on the Cape! There will be more events this winter, I can gaurantee that!

As for the rest of our area, forget it!! Most areas in and around Boston were clocked with between 12 and 21″ of snow! The city of Boston itself registered between 13 and 16″ of windblown across the city.

Areas to the south of Boston saw between 12 and 21″, with the Stoughton, Brockton, and Bridgewater areas seeing the most between 18 and 21″. West of Boston also saw a lot with between 15 and 19″ of snow, depending on what town you live in. Same story north and northeast of Boston, with many areas seeing between 12 and 18″ of snow up to Portsouth N.H. and Portland, Maine.

This all fell in a very short period of time! Had the storm moved a bit slower, no doubt many would of seen a crippling storm in excess of 2 ft! During the height of the storm, I also heard three rounds of thundersnow! When I posted this on Facebook, I was glad to see many other friends also experienced this rare phenominon in our area! This was the result of a rapidly intensifying storm.

The other aspect of the storm many were commenting on was the historical coastal flooding. While I did not emphasize it, I did call for the potential for moderate to major coastal flooding in my forecast. My one regret was not to warn people more as to what was to come.

I could see the potential, a rapidly deepening nor’easter off our coast, astronomical high tides from the waning full super moon on Monday, and strong northeast winds. All these ingrediants added up to a period of major coastal flooding along our coastline.

This flooding caught many by surprise, especially in the City of Boston! The water rushed in like a category 2 hurricane storm surge. Most coastal locations were hit hard.

The question presented, was it as bad as the Blizzard of ’78? While the tidal height was higher in this storm, the damage was not as great as in the blizzard. Remember, the Blizzard of ’78 stalled in the ocean for two days.

This resulted in four consecutive high tides, which absolutely destroyed our coastline. Had this storm stalled like the blizzard, this would of been a bigger storm both in terms of snowfall and coastal flooding. It truly would of been catastrophic.

Many friends were asking me what the terms “bombogenisis” means, and “bomb cyclone”? Bombogenisis is a true meteorological term, and the meaning is a low pressure that drops 24 millibars of pressure, within 24 hours. In this case, this was a double bombogenisis, as the central pressure fell nearly 60 millibars within 24 hours…truly amazing!

Bomb cyclone is a term made up in social media, which is essentially the same thing. It’s a storm that rapidly intensifies, and literally explodes in strength, like a meteorological bomb.

Last week, I had a friend message me asking me to please stop saying Arctic Blast! Polar Express! Icebergs coming! I found this very funny, and told her the next winter animal on the list will be penguins! It was all in good humor!

Yes, we have endured through one of the most intense January cold snaps in Boston since winter 1917-18! Winter 2014-15 was also frigid, but that period came in February and March. There are so many different ways records can be broken!

For those who are tired of the cold, and I know there are many, I’m happy to report that a relaxation of the pattern is on the way this week! I would love to get into all the changes with everyone, but my time is suddenly limited!

I did want to quickly add, with the mild weather arriving this week, there may be a surge in burst pipes call. The reason is that the when the temperatures warm up, the ice melts, and the pipes only then begin to leak. So please be aware that this could happen as we thaw out.

I will say this…while the worst of this past cold snap is behind us, do not be fooled that winter is giving up. Talk of the rest of January being warm, and that spring being around the corner is false.

We have a long way to go here. There will be some roller coaster temperature swings coming up over the next couple weeks. This will only lead to a very active pattern, with multiple chances of storms, some of which will be snow, rain, or even our nemises freezing rain!

Thereafter, the real winter pattern may not become fully established until February, leading to the real possibility of some serious winter weather.

Yes, we may flirt with 60 on Friday, but this winter is not for the faint of heart. A sharp change back to winter is lurking for this upcoming weekend. I will speak more about this shortly in my forecast.

Now for your ski report. The blizzard on Thursday did hit ski country, too. The emphasis was in eastern New England, but many resorts picked up between 10 and 16″ of snow. This week is not shaping up to be too bad.

Temperatures are moderating, so skiing will be more comfortable. The best days for hitting the slopes will be tomorrow, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Unfortunately, it may rain on Friday, only to turn sharply colder over the weekend, with the chance of mixed precipitation changing to snow.

Here’s your weekly outdoor winter forecast. I will rate this week a 6 out of 10. Sorry I missed today’s forecast. It was a fairly tranquil day, with temperatures cracking the freezing point, for the first time in nearly two weeks!

There’s going to be a period of light snow moving through the Boston area this evening. I am only expecting a dusting at most in some locations. It will be moving through at the time of the commute, so be aware.

Tuesday looks to bring mainly sunny weather with a chill back to the air, but nothing bitter! Highs will mainly be in the mid 30’s. Expect fair and cold weather tomorrow night, with lows mainly in the teens and twenties.

There will be a bit more of a nip to the air on Wednesday, with highs in the lower to mid 30’s, but nothing that we can’t handle!

A noticeable jump in temperatures will bring readings up into the mid 40’s on Thursday. It looks dry right now, but complex storm system may begin to approach the region later in the day with some showers. Showers will overspread the region Thursday night, with lows not likely falling below 40.

A storm is going to track west of New England on Friday, driving in a south wind, and possibly warming many cities and towns close to 60 degrees! The downside is that it looks like there’s going to be periods of rain and showers most of the day.

Right now, the weekend is shaping up to be very complex weather scenerio. That same storm passing to our west is going to be pressing a cold front through the region during the night. This will allow colder air to begin to slowly sag back into New England.

At the same time, computer models are indicating another storm is going to form on this cold front, and slowly track south of New England. To me, this looks like it has trouble written all over it!

It’s very difficult to say exactly what’s going to happen from now, but at this point, I would expect the possibilty of a winter storm to affect much of the area this weekend. One scenerio I could see developing is mixed precipitiation changing to a heavy snowstorm up north.

In southern New England, I could see heavy rain turning into a major ice storm for us here in southern New England, including Boston. That would not be good!

Another possibility would be if the colder air pressed further south into southern New England, and mixed precipitation turned to heavy snow the deeper we went into the day on Saturday, and into Saturday night.

Needless to say, the Patriots game at Gillette Saturday night could be a very wintery one indeed! Of course I will be monitoring this storm potential during the week, and have further updates as conitions warrant.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I am going to be discussing the pattern for the rest of January, and have a sneak peek into where we are heading from here. I will also have a new ski forecast. In the meantime, enjoy the break, Mother Nature looks like she wants to snap her fingers again come this weekend!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

Frigid…Potential Storm! 1/1/18

Hello! Happy New Year, to all! I hope everyone stayed warm & cozy as we welcomed in the New Year! After a brief period of very light snow later Saturday, temperatures actually turned colder on New Year’s Eve, with highs barely reaching the teens, with wind chills below zero!

Unfortunately, time is very short this evening, so I will need to post an abbreviated post this go around. In addition, we may have a very important winter storm to track this week, and many folks just need to know the details, so they can make plans accordingly.

Some have been asking me with all this cold around, where’s the snow? Be careful what you wish for! It’s not that it hasn’t snowed, it has. In fact, Boston finished December with exactly the amount of snow that the city typically receives in December.

Areas to the north and west has seen even more. I went out to Wayland, Mass. today, and they had a solid 6″ on the ground, compared to 3″ here in Boston. This is very normal this time of year, as the Atlantic Ocean modifies the coast, and keeps winter temporarily at bay.

This all changed on Christmas Day. A rapidly developing storm brought white out conditions Christmas morning, followed by plummeting temperatures during the day. We’ve been in the deep freeze since!

Overall, December went according to plan. I was expecting a wintery month, with snow and below average temperatures. I also was expecting a White Christmas, which most from Boston points north and west certainly received!

What about January? Was December the dress rehersal for this winter? I believe it was! Looking at some of the long range guidance, I am anticipating a very rough month of winter weather in much of New England. Perhaps centered here in the Boston area.

This means I’m expecting generally below average temperatures, with above average snowfall. There will be some moderation to the pattern. But with the milder temperatures, I’m expecting a big ramp up in snowfall. Boston averages approximately 14″ of snow in January. We could easily end up with double this amount, if not more.

Because January is our coldest month of the year anyway, expect the colder than normal temperatures to feel more harsh than usual. I could get into all the details of the weather pattern, but it will have to wait until perhaps next week. Needless to say, it’s going to be a very wintery month!

Getting to the matter at hand, there is the potential for a significant winter storm this week on Thursday. I’m not sure whether there’s just too much information to go around these days, or Mother Nature is becoming more hostile at scientists trying to figure her out!

Whatever it may be, the complexities of the pattern has meteorologists and weather enthusiasts across the country studying the weather charts and computer models more diligently than ever!

The potential storm on Thursday is no exception! I have mentioned it to folks on my weather chat forum and other friends, this is an exceptionally rare set up for a major storm to hit the Boston area. I’m not saying it’s not going to happen, because I really need to study more data before I can make my call on this beast one way or another.

This we do know, is that this is going to be one ferocious ocean storm develpoing southeast of New England. Should this storm come in full bore, we would be looking at a severe blizzard, with hurricane force winds and accumulations exceeding 20″ in eastern Massachusetts.

However, many pieces of the puzzle need to fall into place for such an event to materialize. All these ingredients are not in the mixing bowl just yet!

At this point, computer models are forecasting an intense storm to form in the ocean, but the question remains as to just how close this storm is going to track to New England. The closer it tracks, the more severe the impact on our region.

Over the past couple days, computer models have been waffling back and forth with the track. One run tracks it close to the coast, while 6 hours later, it’s 300 miles further out to sea with minimal impact. Keep in mind, meteorologists look at 51 different ensemble members, nearly all of them with different solutions!

One thing’s for sure, there is a tremendous amount of potential in this pattern. Currently, a very strong short wave (energy in the upper atmosphere), is diving down out of central Canada.

This energy is forecasted to dig deep into the southeast, merging with more energy off Florida. As this storm develops, enough cold air may be around for some frozen precipitaion to fall in northern Florida!

As this storm begins to track up the coast, it will begin to increase in intensity. At that point, computer models diverge, some taking it northeast, further off the coast and out to sea, while others track it north, close to Cape Cod.

Should it come close to Cape Cod, get ready to be buried on Thursday! If it tracks further out to sea, it could still be a major snowfall of 6 or more inches, but not a real blizzard.

If it tracks any further than that, we may just be dealing with a lot of snow blowing around on Thursday, but nothing that we havn’t seen already. I will not know for sure what the final outcome will be until sometime tomorrow afternoon.

So with all this in mind, here is my current thinking for my weekly forecast. It’s going to be a very wintery week, regardless if the storm hits or not. For the rest of tonight, expect frigid temperatures, with lows near zero once again.

Tuesday will feature mainly sunny weather, with highs in the upper teens, to maybe near 20 degrees.

Tuesday night will continue to be fair and not as frigid. Lows will be mainly in the single digits and lower teens.

Expect sunny skies to begin on Wednseday, but watch for clouds to increase during the afternoon. It will actually be a bit more tolerable, with highs in the lower 20’s.

Watch for thickening clouds Wednesday night. Late at night, heading towards dawn, snow may begin to develop from south to north. Temperatures will remain in the teens and lower 20’s.

Right now, let’s just call for snowy and cold weather for Thursday. Let’s also call for brisk north to northeasterly winds, and cold temperatures in the lower 20’s. This forecast is subject to MAJOR changes! Please stay tuned for updates over the next day or two!

Whatever happens on Thursday, this storm is going to yank a brutally cold airmass out of Canada over New England this weekend!

Hibernation watch in effect! Get ready to watch as many movies and keep warm, as temperatures will likely be only on the single digits for highs on Saturday, with lows well below zero!! Some slight moderation is possible on Sunday.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will talk in more detail as to how severe this winter pattern may turn out to be. I will also keep you posted to let you know if any more winter storms in our future. In the meantime, please look for my updates on the impending winter storm for this Thursday! I’m excited to see how this is going to turn out! Please keep warm & safe!

Thanks for reading & welcome my new friends!

Peter

Polar Express! 12/26/17

Hello! For those who celebrate, I hope eveeryone had a wonderful Christmas Holiday! It was a magical Christmas for me! Not only did we celebrate the day with my mother, but the fast moving blizzard in the morning, added just enough snow to make it the perfect White Christmas, perhaps ever!

Talking about a possible White Christmas in my blog back from November, I couldn’t have written the script up any more perfect! As is typically the case, Boston kept us guessing right to last minute whether it was going to pull it off, or not!

After some late night Christmas Eve snow, the snow changed to rain early Christmas morning. However, this was only temporary. As the fast moving storm tracked just south of Boston and into Massachusetts Bay, the storm rapidly intensified.

This is when winds suddenly picked up, temperatures plumetted, and whiteout conditions settled into Boston points north, along with thundersnow! It only lasted for about an hour, but it was enough to accumulate between 3 and 4″ across the city, and officially make it a White Christmas! Areas to the north and west received more snow, with generally between 4 and 7″ falling. In Maine, most areas received between 8 and 12″ of snow!

Some startling statistics. This was only the third time in the last 50 years, that Boston received more than 1″ of snow on Christmas Day! The all time record snowfall for Christmas Day was 3.3″ set back in 2002 and 1974.

Officially, 2.9″ of snow fell at Logan Airport, but closer to 4″ fell in many surrounding neighborhoods. Had it snowed for another half hour, we would of had the snowiest Christmas Day in recorded history in Boston.

We are beginning our descent into the depths of winter. Yes, it has been feeling like winter for the past few weeks now, and winter has just officially arrived a few days ago, but that has been just a warm up, as to what lies ahead.

Bitterly cold air has been building in Canada for the better part of this month. We’ve seen pieces of it, but now that we are officially in winter, Mother Nature is going to begin unleashing this severe cold, aimed right at New England!

Why is this so dangerous? Well, severe cold is tough to take anytime in the winter. But it’s twice as worse this time of year. We are heading into our lowest temperatures of the year on average. When you forecast temperatures that could be up to 15 to 20 degrees colder than already very cold averages this time of year, you have the potential for extreme winter conditions.

What are some of the dangers to look out for in bitterly cold weather? First, freezing to death! Yes, frostbite is a term you’re going to be hearing a lot of in the next week or two. Cover those extremities up!

Next, pipes bursting due to the extreme cold temperatures. Leave a slight drip on your faucets, and open up cabinet doors to help prevent pipes from freezing!

Folks with little to no heat can come down with hypothermia, and get very sick. Please check on the elderly to make sure their furnace is working properly, and to keep them warm.

If you have to use a space heater, make sure it’s far away from flamable material, and the outlet has enough amps to accommodate the power drawn from the heater. These can be very dangerous, and are the cause of many house fires in our region.

Next…snowfall. As mentioned several times in previous posts, the snow is coming. While southern New England has been teased with a couple moderate events here in December, the pattern is getting itself into position to blast us with several heavy snowstorms and possibly even blizzards. Begin preparing for a period of heavy snowfalls, possibly beginning as soon as this weekend!

I was speaking with my sister yesterday, and we were talking about how wintery this December has turned into. We had a moderate snowfall on December 9th, a full ice storm just last Saturday, then a fast moving snowstorm on Christmas morning that socked much of Maine with between 8 and 12″ of snow. Next is going to be the bitter cold, along with the potential for more snow before the year is out. I would say it’s been a very wintery month, so far!

December was expected to turn wintery. However, the big storms are coming in January and February this winter. I’m fully expecting to reach my forecast of between 60 and 70″ of snow in Boston, and then some.

Many friends and family were asking me about the ice storm. Yes, it certainly has been a while since we saw an ice storm in Boston. Maybe 15 or 20 years ago since we had one to this caliber.

The interior has had several, such as December 2008, and January 1998, which come to mind. Both were severe, and resulted in excessive damage.

Here along the coast, it’s much more difficult to have an ice storm. The pattern has to be perfect, usually warm ocean water modifies the climate.

Ice storms are complex, especially along the coast. Warm, moist air overides a dome of cold air near the surface. Cold air is dense, and is difficult o dislodge, especially across the interior, and deeper valley’s.

Typically, the cold air gets scoured out along the coast very quickly. However, in this case, a small storm developed along the warm front, south of New England.

The counterclock circulation around the clock maintained a northerly drain of low level cold straight into Boston, coming down from the Maine coast.

This process maintained itself throughout the storm on Saturday, resulting in glazed trees, and very icy sidewalks and side roads.

Now for your weekly ski forecast. This week will be a 9 out of 10. A fast moving snowstorm dumped between 6 and 10″ across most ski resorts, except in Maine, where between 8 and 14″ fell on Christmas Day. If you are planning on going skiing later this week, dress appropriately, and be prepared for below zero temperatures! More snow may fall on Saturday, then possibly on New Year’s day.

By the way, if you are planning on building an outdoor rink this year, the pattern is looking very good! I would say a 9 out of 10. Cold looks strong through January 10th. We may warm up for a period between the 10th and 20th, only to turn cold again late month. There are also several snow threats to monitor.

Now for your weekly outdoor winter forecast. I will rate this week a 4 out of 10. Be prepared for winter conditions! It will be mainly blustery and cold for the rest of today, with highs only in the 20’s.

Tonight will be fair and very cold, with lows mainly in the single digits and teens. Expect dry weather to continue for your Wednesday, with highs in the lower to mid 20’s.

An arctic front is going to push through the area tomorrow night. There may be some scattered squalls, otherwise, expect temperaures to plummet to -10 below zero to +10 above zero.

Thursday is going to be bitter cold!! Many places in New England may not get out of the single digits. Along the coast, it will be very cold too, with highs only on the lower to perhaps mid teens.

Watch for pipe bursting cold Thursday night, with low temperatures ranging from -15 below zero inland, to near zero in the city of Boston.

A cold northerly wind may develop on Friday, this may introduce the ocean effect snow showers on the Cape. Eleswhere, expect dry weather to continue, along with bitterly cold temperatures.

A coastal storm may develop Friday night, and track close enough on Saturday, to deliver snowy and windy conditions to eastern Massachusetts, and especially on Cape Cod.

Right now, the potential is there for a moderate snowfall of between 4 and 8″. However, should this storm trend stronger, and closer to the coast, a much more serious storm would unfold, which would linger into Sunday morning.

Thereafter, Sunday should begin to dry out and continue to be very cold, with highs only in the teens and low 20’s. First Night celebrations look to be on the dry side, but bitterly cold, with lows in the single digits and lower teens!

Right now, Monday is looking to be cold and dry. Another storm may be lurking close by, which may bring more snow to start off the New Year, or shortly thereafter. Overall, the pattern is going to turn bitterly cold over the next 10 days or so.

There is the potential of snow, too. Tracking timing and strength is very difficult at this point. However, the potential for a major winter storm, if not a blizzard is on the table. If I see the threat increasing, I will update everyone accordingly!

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will have my review of December, and look ahead as to what may happen in January! I will also let you know as to when I think this cold snap will be letting up. In the meantime, I hope we don’t see any polar bears roaming down from Canada to keep warm!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

~Wishing everyone a Happy & Safe New Year!~

Still Dreaming of A White Christmas? 12/18/17

Hello! Wow! What a game last night! Just when you thought the Pats were down and out, they pull out an improbable victory! There’s no better feeling than watching the game around the holiday season surrounded by family and close friends! I have said it before, but to me, watching sporting events helps bring families closer, by sharing an emotional experience together. It does not hurt when your team wins, either!!

I thought I would would start off with this, since that game was much more exciting than the weather has been around here lately!

This is not all true. Last weekend, Boston received 6.1″ of snow, making it the largest snowfall in the city for the date since 2005. Then over the weekend, specifically Thursday morning, then again Friday night, fast moving clipper storms brought accumulating snows to the Cape for the first time this season.

The storm on Friday night came close enough to give Boston a feather dusting, with mostly novelty like snowflakes falling across the city.

While nothing major, somewhat more serious snow fell in places that normally see the least this time of year. Between 1 and 4″ of snow fell on the Cape, making for a very picturesque scene for sure come Saturday morning!

The rest of the weekend continued the theme over the last several days, mainly cold and dry weather across the region. While not brutal, the cold weather last week certainly had a bite to it.

This is in stark contrast to the past several Decembers around here. After a fairly mild first week to December, the long advertised cold snap has finally arrived! The question is, how long is it going to stick around for?

This is a good question. As we all know, this is a La Nina winter in Boston (cold ocean temperatures off the South American coast). La Ninas typically bring variable conditions to Boston, tending to be on the warm and dry side.

Last year was a perfect example. While Boston received near average snow, it was the second warmest winter in the cities history…yikes!

This year is another La Nina. While it’s been colder this past November, and some of December so far, it’s also been a very dry pattern. Despite this, Boston is running near average snowfall so far here in December.

Typically, the city receives about 9″ of snow during December. With 6.1″ already fallen, it wouldn’t take much for us to reach the average this year.

Again, this is a far cry from the past several Decembers, where we either had no snow, or received well below average snowfall for the month.

Moving onto the matter at hand. We are excactly one week away from Christmas, and family and friends have been asking me whether there will be snow for Christmas this year? On average, Boston sees a White Christmas, defined as 1 or more inches of snow on the ground on Christmas Day, about 1 and 4 times, or about 25%. These chances increase dramatically if one lives to the north and west ot the I95 corridor. The numbers are also highly variable. We can go years without snow for Christmas, then have several white ones in a row.

If you asked me a week ago, I said it looked like a lock for a White Christmas this year! Now…well, the answer is not as clear cut!

This is quite unfortunate, as it appeared from a couple weeks ago, that the pattern was going to be very conducive in producing cold and snow around here leading up to Christmas.

Now, at least in the short term, temperatures may warm up to near 50 tomorrow, and possibly even close to 60 on Saturday! Wow! What a turnaround! With no new snow in the forecast, this will for sure melt away any remaining snow we have left from last weekends snowfall.

So is all hope lost? Is there no chance at a White Christmas? NEVER!! There’s always a chance! I always believe there’s a chance for a Christmas Miracle!

Last year I reminisced about when I was a kid, and a surprise snowstorm hit Boston on Christmas Day! It could of been in 1975? My sisters came running into my room frantically telling me to open up the shade! It was something that I will never forget, for my whole life! Big, fluffy snowflakes falling staright down. Snow fell steadily the whole day and well into the night, turning Boston into a Winter Wonderland!

So, any miracles for Christmas 2017?? Well, after the blowtorch on Saturday, things *could* start to become interesting! Over the past few days, computer models have been waffling back and forth as to what the weather is going to be like on Christmas Day.

I recently saw a tweet by longtime NECN meteorologist Tim Kelly tweeting out what he thinks the weather is going to be like next Monday. He tweeted that it could be sunny, cloudy, warm, rainy, cold, snowy, thunder, or windy. Hmmmm….that sounds just about right for New England weather!

In all honesty, Mother Nature is keeping us guessing! Some models show a blowtorch, or “torchmas” as some been calling it. Meaning break out the lawn chairs and BBQ grills! This was the weather two years ago on Christmas Day, remember?

As mentioned above, these models have been waffling back and forth. While one model shows a very warm day, the next model run shows an arctic blast arriving.

Still other models show a chance of rain or snow, or rain changing to snow, while others show something in between, with neither warm or cold weather.

I will be discussing in detail as to what I think may happen on Christmas Day shortly in my forecast!

Just a quick update on my winter forecast. So far, I have seen nothing to change my thoughts on the forecast. I’m neither more confident, nor less. I’m still expecting a barrage of winter storms to strike our region. When this happens is still somewhat murky at this point.

Nonetheless, with the official start of winter arriving this Thursday, I am planning on issuing one final update to the forecast, in case you’re interested!

Now for your weekly ski forecast. While it rained in Boston last Tuesday, many ski resorts gor hammered with up to a foot of fresh snow! This is just what they needed! I will rate this week a 7 out of 10. Not much natural snow coming up for this week. They are receiving very light accumulations today, however.

Overall, it looks fairly tranquil this week. Unfortunately, the warm air and rain may briefly make it to ski country this weekend. Thereafter, it should turn much colder, with the chance of some natural snowfalls during Christmas week. Prospects are looking good heading into the new year with an active jet stream and multiple chances for snow.

Now time for your weekly outdoor activity winter forecast. Look for cloudy skies for the rest of today. It will be chilly, and you may see some flakes floating down from time to time.

Right now, it appears any light accumulations will be confined to areas to the north of Boston, where some may see a dusting to an inch. I spoke with my brother in law on the N.H. seacoast, and he says there’s been occasional light snow falling all day! This is actually a warm front attempting to press through the region.

Clouds may linger this evening, along with some patchy areas of light snow to the north, and sprinkles or showers to the south. With southwest winds, temperatures should not fall that much. Expect lows to be in the 20’s and 30’s across the region.

Tuesday will feature a increasing southwest wind, ahead of an approaching cold front. This wind direction typically transports mild temperatures to our region. Tomorrow is no exception, so expect temperatures to warm up into the mid to upper 40’s in the Boston area.

As the cold front sweeps off the coast tomorrow evening, watch for winds to switch to the west, northwest. This is typically a cold wind direction for Boston! Therefore, expect temperatures to plummet tomorrow night, back down into the teens and 20’s, along with a gusty wind!

Expect cold and breezy weather conditions in Boston for both Wednesday and Thursday. Temperatures will mainly hold in the 20’s and low 30’s both days. As mentioned above, the first day of winter officially arrives on Thursday, at 11:28 am!

A low pressure is going to develop in the midwest, and track west of New England into the Great Lakes on Friday. This will once again develop a southwest flow across New England. Watch moderating temperatures on Friday, with highs in the lower 40’s.

Another storm will develop and track closer to New England on Saturday. This will increase the pressure gradient, and bring even milder weather into southern New England. Watch for temperatures to soar into the mid to upper 50’s!! In addition, periods of rain will traverse the region from south to north. Not very Christmas like at all!

As this storm moves north of our latitude, it’s going to drag a cold front across the region. Right now, it looks like it’s going to start to turn cooler on Christmas Eve. Another wave may form on the front, and bring more rain to the Boston area.

However, it may begin to turn cold enough far to the north and west for some sleet and snow to begin to mix in with the precipitation. High temperatures look like they will be in the 30’s north and west of Boston, and 40’s in much of eastern Massachusetts, points south.

As mentioned above, some computer models want to bulge this wavy weather front back north of Boston on Christmas Day, resulting in another warm spike into the 50’s, with periods of rain. UGHHH!!

At this point, I’m not going with this solution. I’m going with a colder solution to happen. From global teleconnections that I can see, I believe that the cold air is going to press further south into much of New England later on Christmas Eve night.

At the same time, with the intense temperature gradient setting up just off our coastline, I believe there’s at least a 50% chance that another storm is going to develop and track up along the coast, passing close to Cape Cod on Christmas Day itself!

If this were to occur, we could be looking at some sort of a winter storm storm on Christmas Day. Right now, it’s looking like rain at the coast and snow across the interior, say north and west of I495.

However, as it turns colder later in the day, the rain may change to snow even to the coast, setting us up for wintery evening?

I will be closely monitoring this forecast as we move closer to the holiday. I can assure you there will be changes. I will update everyone if conditions warrant.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will have a quick update of my winter forecast. I will also be on the lookout for any impending winter storms or cold snaps for the rest of 2017! Where has the year gone? In the meantime, whether we get snow or not for Christmas, I wish all your dreams come true!

Wishing everyone a very Happy Holiday Season!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

*I may update this weather blog on Christmas Eve or write an abbreviated blog next Monday, depending on weather conditions! ~Thanks!

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

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