Spring Advancing North! 2/17/20

Hello! I hope everyone is enjoying the long holiday, weekend! The weather so far has been fairly benign. Saturday was on the cold side, but nothing out of the ordinary for this time of the year.

I believe it just felt a lot colder than what it was, mainly because we got used to the warm temperatures we’ve been experiencing this winter. Although I must admit, there was a nasty bite to that wind on Saturday morning!

As has been the case all winter, Sunday featured more clouds, but a rapid rise in temperatures, with highs reaching the mid 40’s across much of the Boston area.

Expect near 100% of the possible sunshine for your Presidents Day holiday. I will have more details in my forecast shortly.

The signs keep popping up everywhere. Folks posting pictures of crocuses poking up through the ground. Spring birds singing their melodies in the morning. Longer days, as our sunsets are now well past 5:00 P.M. A few short weeks from now sunsets will be 6:30 as we spring ahead with daylights savings time!

If that’s not enough, I saw an interesting tweet this morning from a local meteorologist showing Doppler radar capturing migratory birds flying north across Florida this morning!

Finally, my friend Maria messaged me yesterday asking me when I thought the cherry blossoms would be blooming in Washington D.C. this spring?

I told her if the pattern continues the way it’s been going, the blossoms may bloom at a record early date, sometime in mid March.

It’s true…spring is advancing north some 3 to 4 weeks ahead of schedule!

The picture attached to my post today depicts exactly where green up is occurring right now. The red shows how far north it has already progressed.

If correct, green up is only a couple hundred miles south of Washington D.C. and is creeping up the coast to Delaware!

If you think it’s been warm here in Boston, which it has been, locations to our south have literally had no winter, or very little winter to speak of. For instance, the city of Philadelphia has only received 3 tenths of an inch of snow so far this entire winter.

You could say it’s been a snowless winter down there. They also run the risk of going through the entire month of February without any measurable snowfall for the first time in recorded history!

Here in Boston, we have measured about 15″ of snow. You may ask, when? It seems as if it hasn’t snowed the whole winter.

Actually, there was quite a significant snowstorm, especially across inland areas to start winter off on December 1st. At the time, it was looking like my winter forecast was going to be on point this year.

Overall, Boston received above normal snow in December, with a little over 11″ falling. We had one minor snow event in January, and that has been about it!

The big story this winter has been the temperatures! At one point last week Boston was flirting with being the warmest winter in recorded history!

The cold snap over the weekend knocked us out of that spot, but if warm temperatures return for the last 10 days of February, there still a chance we return to that top spot!

In some ways, the winter is very similar to last winter. It’s been a case of two seasons here in New England. While It’s been pretty much a non winter down here in southern New England, I must say once you cross the border to New Hampshire, it’s been a different story!

While not receiving as much snow as last winter, it’s been more than enough for outdoor winter enthusiast to enjoy winter activities such as skiing, snow boarding and snow shoeing.

Yet another storm will move through northern New England tomorrow with an additional 4 to 7″ of snow.

With all this talk of an early spring, one may think I’m all on board rolling out the red carpet for springs arrival. Let’s just say I’m skeptical…very skeptical!

If just going by trends the last several winters which have gotten off to a slow start, winter seemed to linger deep into the spring, torturing those who love warm weather!

Last year was a cruel joke with March being so mild, only to turn cold and very unsettled for both April and May! Do you remember how much rain fell last spring? I do! Some 21 out of 30 days had rain falling in April alone! And the trend continued into May.

Though spring is quickly advancing north across the south, it encounters barriers as it heads north towards New England. First, we’re further north, and spring typically does not arrive until the spring equinox at the earliest.

Second, the cold Atlantic Ocean that surrounds New England to our east, prevents warm air from fully invading our region too quickly.

Because of latent effect, the ocean is only now reaching its coldest temperatures, which will continue through early March.

It takes longer for the oceans to heat up in late winter and spring, and longer for them to cool off in late fall early winter. Therefore, our winters and springs are typically delayed from arriving.

Third, if we get any snowfall in March, it tends to hold back spring, keeping us colder.

At this point, there are no guarantees for March. Honestly, it could go either way. Some computer models are showing a continuation of the record warm winter transitioning into a warm, early spring! Could the migratory birds be onto something??

Others, hold your hat…are forecasting winters fury to be unleashed upon us to begin March! These models are showing well above normal precipitation, and well below normal temperatures.

This does not always transpire to feet of snow! In fact, the pattern this winter has been to bring big storms through New England, as the cold weather has been retreating. After the storm passes, cold & dry air comes rushing back in…too late for any snow.

I agree…this is a very shaky outlook! However, I must say, this pattern of excessively warm temperatures and no snow must break down at some point! At some point we must resume back to typical New England winter weather.

The trends tell me a stormy March is on the way. Something looks like it’s brewing in my opinion. The Polar Vortex is going to be disrupted for a time, blocking could finally occur in Canada, and the bitter cold air over Alaska could finally be dislodged due to building high pressure in that region. All this could result in March coming in like a lion!

However, I did say that for February too, and Boston has only received a trace of snow so far. I know this sounds wishy washy, but the long range weather patterns have been largely unpredictable for a couple years now.

No need to panic or celebrate just yet. I still have a couple weeks to review the data to see how March is going to turn out.

As I mentioned, I’m leaning towards a big finish from winter…otherwise it will go down as one of the lamest winters in history!

It’s February vacation week for schools here in Massachusetts! I’m very excited to report that ski conditions are at their very best all season. I will rate this week a 9 out of 10! Expect beautiful weather for today, with sunshine followed by some increasing clouds later in the day. It will be seasonable, with highs mainly in the 30’s.

A fast moving storm will cut across southern New England tomorrow. This storm will bring snowy conditions all day to most ski resorts, bringing between 4 and 7″ of accumulation. Perfect timing!

Thereafter, dry and seasonable weather will follow through the end of the week. Be aware another cold shot similar to the one we just had will move through the area on Thursday and Friday, only to moderate again by this weekend.

Now for your outdoor winter activity forecast. I will rate this week 7 out of 10.

Expect deep blue skies and sunny weather for the rest of your Presidents Day. Temperatures should be on the mild side, with highs in the low 40’s. Nice day to get out for a brisk walk!

Expect increasing clouds tonight. It will not be that cold, with lows dropping into the 20’s and 30’s.

A fast moving storm will take a similar track of all previous storms this winter, tracking through southern New England. Therefore, southern New England may see a brief period of snow across Worcester county, before changing to rain.

The Boston area could see a few wet flakes, then rapidly turn to rain. If this storm tracked south of New England, the snow would be much closer to Boston.

As mentioned above, the dividing line will be along the Mass / N.H. Border including the seacoast region, and right along the immediate coast of Maine, there could be an inch or two, before some mixing or brief turn to rain. If you live or travel across the interior northern New England, you will receive a 4 to 7″ snowfall tomorrow, with slippery travel conditions.

After this storm pulls out, Wednesday should see a return to March like weather, with partly cloudy skies and highs in the low 40’s.

A brief cold shot will send temperatures back down into the upper 20’s on Thursday. A late February sun will lessen the bite.

Dry and sunny weather will continue Friday straight on through the upcoming weekend with a noticeable warming trend. Highs will be in the 30’s on Friday, 40’s on Saturday, and possibly low 50’s on Sunday! How about that?

Well, that’s about it for now my friends! In next week’s blog, I will continue to look into whether March will come in like a lion? I will also have your new ski and snow board forecast. In the meantime, slow down spring…winter hasn’t even got here yet!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

Too Early To Talk About Spring?… 2/10/20

Hello! I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend! Saturday featured blustery weather, with cold temperatures. Sunday was milder, but with more clouds. Overall, we continued with the bland theme of this winter…feeling more like early April, than early February.

Similar to last year, many seasonal winter forecasts are going up in flames again this year. For those of us who live along the I95 corridor, I feel your pain!!

The warm, wet pattern that settled into the region mid December, refuses to relinquish its grip! In fact, the feedback that’s causing the snow drought, only seems to be intensifying.

The pattern is very simple. A deep cold trough of low pressure (cold & snow) has firmly established itself out west. Meanwhile, a stubborn ridge of high pressure (warm & dry) refuses to allow any semblance of wintry weather in the southeast part of the United States, including up along the east coast.

This pattern is almost identical to last winter. New England is in the battle zone of cold & warm. Obviously, Boston points south has been on the much warmer side. We are running so warm, that Boston is currently experiencing its second warmest winter on record!

Much like last year, it’s been a tale of two seasons. The climate seemingly “switches” as soon as you cross the border into New Hampshire. Here, it’s been much colder, and many have experienced some decent snowfalls. Add elevation, and it’s been a skiers delight the past several weeks!

Go further north into northern Maine, and you would run into deep snows on the ground, as seemingly every storm that approaches, falls as snow.

As mentioned in last weeks blog, I feel fortunate we had several wintry events the first half of December. At the time, it seemed as if all systems were go for at the very minimum a normal winter here in Boston. There are many cities in the mid Atlantic region who have not even recorded a half inch of snow this winter!

Many have been asking me if winter is over…and whether we are going to be treated to an early spring? I must say, last year I began hearing spring birds signing spring melodies at this time of the year. I do not hear spring birds singing as of yet!

As a lifelong New Englander, I can assure you that winter is not over! Though the prospects for snowstorms along the coast look bleak, there’s always the chance of a freak snowstorm right through the first 10 days of April!

I can bring up many late season events that will bring shivers to those early spring thoughts.

Yet, the signs are there. Many are already seeing crocuses poking up through the ground where the sun hits directly. Some folks are even seeing hardy trees beginning to bud. People down south, even right up to Washington D.C. are seeing spring advance at an alarming rate.

That happens. To be forthright it’s been happening more frequently in recent years with a warming climate. Right now, this doesn’t mean much to me. We had similar winters in the 80’s and 90’s.

It just happens that now we have the technology to track exactly what Mother Nature is up to. A quick computerized graph, and then proceed to post it on social media for millions to see around the world, within seconds.

For us up here in New England…we’ll see. My experience is when we have very warm winters, a sudden shift occurs sometime in March.

The mechanisms that were holding winter back all year, finally break down, bringing with it miserable spring weather that we’re so accustomed to here in New England.

However, there’s always those years that defy this theory. Last year was not one of them! After a very mild winter, the pattern shifted in April, delaying springs true arrival until after Mother’s Day.

By that time, June is knocking on the door and the start of summer. Spring is our shortest season by far here in eastern New England.

Some years that come to mind when a warm winter continued into a warm spring was 1991, 1995, 2002, 2010, and 2012. All these winters were very warm, and featured warm early springs, and hot summers. There definitely seems to be a link there.

Right now, long range computer models are persisting the warm weather continues into March. If a major hemispheric change does not occur, I would have to tend to agree with this assessment.

However, because the patterns are so similar to last year, a period of unseasonably cold and rainy weather can not be ruled out at some point before we reach summer.

Right now, I would give it a 50% chance the warm weather continues through spring. That means there’s also a 50% chance the pattern suddenly shifts to cold and inclement weather, with more chances of wintry precipitation than during winter itself.

We shall see…spring brings its own patterns and surprises.

As for snowfall, this is always a wildcard. At this time, it does not appear as if the pattern is conducive to any major nor’easter development through the rest of February.

Our last legitimate nor’easter is coming up on two years ago, in the wild March of 2018, when we experienced 4 nor’easters that month!

Unless we have a huge rally in march, it looks like Boston will see it’s second consecutive below normal snow season in a row. In fact, it could end up less than last year at the rate we’re going!

Now for your ski and snowboard forecast. I will rate this week a 8 out of 10. Many resorts have received impulses of fresh snow over the last 10 days. I would say conditions are currently at there best of the season! Another storm will bring several more inches on Thursday, followed by a arctic shot of cold air for Friday and Saturday. Light snow with moderating temperatures look to be on tap for Sunday.

Here is our local outdoor winter activity forecast. I will rate this week a 7 out of 10. Expect damp conditions tomorrow morning, with rainy weather from the Mass Pike points south.

Further north, you may encounter some mixed precipitation or even light snow across southern New Hampshire. Either way, this will not be a big storm, and will essentially end during the afternoon.

Expect clearing skies tomorrow night. Watch for patchy icy areas as temperatures fall close to freezing.

Wednesday should be a fine winters day, with mainly sunny skies, and temperatures in the mid 40’s. A good 10 degrees above average.

At the same time we;re enjoying this pleasant weather, a storm will be approaching from the south. As it bumps into the cold dry air, there could be period of snow and sleet later Wednesday night into early Thursday morning. Similar to all its predecessors, this is not going to last long, and will be changing to rain during the morning commute. Nevertheless, watch out for some icy spots.

If you live north of Boston, conditions will be worse. The snow and sleet will last deeper into the morning, before rain begins to take over even in these locations. There could be 1 to 2″ of accumulation before this occurs. More snow and sleet will persist longer up north and into the mountains.

As this storm moves off the coast, a stronger push of cold weather will arrive just in time to cuddle up with your valentine! Though it will be cold, it should be dry for any evening plans with your sweetheart.

Similar weather can be expected for Saturday, with dry weather and highs only in the 20’s.

An approaching warm front may produce some light snow flurries on Sunday, and periods of light snow up in the mountains. Otherwise, no major storm is expected. Warmer weather is expected to spread across the region through next week.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will be discussing in more detail the factors bringing us our warm winter, and if I foresee any changes coming. I will also have your new ski and snowboarding forecast. In the meantime, it may be too early to talk spring…but one can always dream!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

A Little Snow…A Lot Of Rain! 2/3/20

Hello! I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend! The weather was more similar to March or even early April than February around here.

I have been saying this quite frequently since around Christmas time. This is because we are experiencing one of the warmest winters on record up to this point. Which oddly enough began around when the winter solstice arrived.

Saturday was overcast and bland. Temperatures were mild, with highs in the lower 40’s. Sunday started out overcast, but then turned sunny during the afternoon, with temperatures warming up into the low to mid 40’s once again.

Friends, I have no answers. The teleconnections and analogs which pointed to a colder and snowier winter this year for the Boston area, has once again failed.

This is not announcement declaring winter over. Just pointing out the obvious where we are up to this point. We all know living in New England that things can change around here.

With a seasonal shift still in place, winter patterns could still arrive after mid February and torture us through May.

I apologize for the delayed posts as of late. I have been in the process of moving my business and it has taken up the majority of my time. We finally settled into our new location this past weekend, hopefully returning back to a normal schedule by next week.

All things considered, I have been very fortunate with the weather this winter. It would of been a very daunting task climbing over huge snowbanks to move!

My time is still short this evening, so I will be writing an abbreviated post. I am fortunate once again that there are no major storms to speak as far as I can see possibly through mid month.

For now, the pattern is set with the jet stream bringing cold & snowy weather out west, good for my Colorado buddies Brett & William!

Unfortunately, this jet stream configuration brings warm & wet weather for us here in New England. Bad news for my other Twitter friend from Massachusetts, Brian! I feel your pain, my friend!

While it’s mostly rain down here in southern New England, it may be just cold enough to bring snow or at least sleet to ski resorts up in northern New England.

I do not see any nuclear meltdowns, which is good news for school vacationers coming up in February. I would rate this week a 7 out of 10. A storm will bring accumulating snow and sleet to ski country on Thursday.

Thereafter, chilly weather will return with the possibility of another system with wintry precipitation along about Sunday.

Now for our weekly outdoor winter forecast. I will rate this week a 6 out of 10.

Expect mainly sunny and pleasant weather for your Tuesday, with highs in the upper 40’s.

Clouds will increase Tuesday night along with the chance of a few showers. It will be mild with lows only in the upper 30’s.

Wednesday will feature slightly colder weather, but still above average for the season. The day will feature more clouds, but it should remain dry.

A storm will be approaching form the southwest on Wednesday night. As been the case for the past couple winters, this storm will mainly track west of Boston.

With some cold air banked in over New England, as the storm moves in early Thursday, light snow will break out across much of the region. This will not be enough to cancel schools around the Boston area, but be more of a nuisance.

As the storm tracks west of Boston, it will drag a warm front from south to north. Therefore, we can expect snow to change to sleet and then change to rain in Boston by mid morning at the latest.

The snow and sleet may last longer across the interior of Massachusetts, and especially across southern New Hampshire, north of Mass Pike.

I’m only expecting a coating to 2″ here in Boston. It’s not the amount, but timing could make for some slick travel conditions across the area first thing Thursday morning.

Further north and west of Boston, north and west of I495 up into southern New Hampshire could see 2 to 4″ of snow. Further north from there should see mainly frozen precipitation, and slightly higher snow totals.

Once snow changes to rain, expect waves of rain bringing between 1 and 2″ of water through Friday. With the flow coming in from the south, Friday could briefly turn warm and on the muggy side!

Had the storm taken a different track in a normal winter, this could of been a nice snowstorm!

As the cold front passes through Friday night, temperatures will begin to drop, leading to a colder, drier day on Saturday.

A fast moving storm could bring light snow to the Boston region on Sunday, but I am not expecting anything major at this point.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will be on the look out to see if we have any chances of a legit snowstorm on the horizon. I will also have a new forecast for ski and snow boarders. In the meantime, be happy this week’s title is not reversed!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

February: Could Be Interesting! 1/27/20

Hello! I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend! Overall, the weather was more fit for March, rather than late January. Saturday was cloudy and cool. A band of heavy rain moved through early to mid eavening, leaving many with urban street flooding, and small ponds in backyards.

This was supposed to be the storm that would bring us snow this past weekend. After I published the post last Monday, computer models kept tracking the storm further and further north, to the point where many ski resorts also saw rain this past weekend.

After the rain cleared, Sunday saw very mild temperatures, and felt more like late March, with highs near 50. It was a nice day for a walk on the beach, or around town.

We are nearly two thirds the way though meteorological winter. At this point, there’s no need to sugarcoat it. While we have seen slightly more snow this winter as compared to last winter at this time, this winter is actually running warmer than last winter…if that’s believable!

The pattern which brought below average snow and mild weather last year, has been very stubborn to relinquish its grip here in eastern Massachusetts. It’s as if we’ve picked up where we left off from last year.

Of course it’s all relative. Most folks are quite pleased with the way things have turned out so far this winter. Heating costs are down, snow removal is at a minimal, and statistically, we are almost through the coldest part of the year.

While ski resorts got bombarded with heavy snowfall last winter, things have been a little thin this year. It hasn’t been terrible by any means, just not as the snow bonanza as last year was.

This leads to the question, has this winter been even easier than last winter so far? I believe the answer is a resounding, yes! While it did not snow much last winter, we did have two very icy events to deal with.

One was around January 20th, then the other about a month later in February. We then received between 10 and 14″ of wet snow at the beginning of March.

The two events in January and February led to quite a bit of man power and hardship with continuous salting and chipping of the ice. The snow event in March melted quite quickly, and was not much of a proble.

This winter started out like gangbusters. A major storm on December 1st brought heavy snow to interior parts of southern New England. A couple more events brought more snow and ice to the region, ending on the 17th of December.

After that, temperatures began to moderate, leading to an above normal December. The warm trend continued into January, where Boston may end up having the 3rd warmest January on record!

Up to this point, I do not have any concrete answers as to why it’s been so warm this winter. I will discuss all this come April with my winter grade and review.

What I do know is that it’s still only January, and a lot can change the second part of winter. I can bring up many examples of late blooming winters that really sock it to us just when you think it’s over!

As recent as 5 years ago, many believed winter was over. Four blizzards later beginning on January 26th, brought Boston it’s worst winter on record, when 94″ of snow fell in 3 weeks, and 110″ fell for the season. I know I will never forget the record onslaught, and I’m sure many of you won’t soon forget either.

I’m not saying expect the same for this February. However, I do see signs that could make February and March different than December and January.

Winter can arrive late, but also linger deep into spring, as has been the case the past several years now.

I talk a lot about seasonal shift, and latent heating and cooling. Due to warmer than average ocean temperatures, it takes longer for them to cool off in the fall and early winter. Once they eventually cool off, winter can finally settle in. This may not happen until mid February this year.

As the oceans reach their coldest point in early March, it takes longer for them to warm than the land. This often leads to miserable, damp cold weather in eastern New England, which often doesn’t break until sometime in June believe it or not!

Conversely, once summer arrives, it has lingered deep into September and even October in recent years. It gets cold in November, only to warm back up in December.

I was studying the long range computer models this morning. What I noticed was storms beginning to form across the southeast, then track up the coast as nor’easters heading into February. This may not seem like a big deal, and long range forecasts have been very unreliable, but many this has been the first time all winter that I have noticed this.

In addition, computer models are predicting a weakening of the polar vortex in February…possibly even a split. I know it sounds counter productive, but a weakening of the Vortex can actually mean potential for colder weather and snowstorms.

A strong vortex actually means mild weather for much of the U.S. including here in New England. This is beacause we typically see zonal flow to the jet stream, which can flood the country with a lot of Pacific air.

The polar vortex is a circular vortex of very strong jet stream winds located near the North Pole. In this vortex, lies the coldest temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere. When this vortex gets disrupted, it can elongate, sending lobes of cold air into southern latitudes.

If it splits, all hell can break loose, as warm air displaces the cold air where the vortex once sat. If this happens, cold air can enter our latitude, and can be trapped for days or even weeks, leading to severe cold and major storms.

It all depends on timing. If it happens early enough, the second half of February into March can feature some rough winter weather for us here in New England. If it waits, the effects are muted, and less severe.

I will be monitoring this carefully over the next week. However, I am still fairly confident that at least a disruption will occur. Therefore, I’m expecting a more active February on the way, with the chance of a major storm. If not, then this winter will go down as yet another non winter with below average snow.

Now for your ski and snowboard forecast. Expect mainly dry conditions this week, with little additional natural snow. The good news, is that it will be cold enough to make plenty of snow at night. A storm in the northern branch may bring some light accumulations this upcoming weekend. Overall, I would say it will be a good week for skiing. Let’s call it a 7 out of 10.

Now for your weekly outdoor winter activity forecast. I will rate this week a 7 out of 10.

Expect basically a dry week, with a mixture of sun and clouds. Watch for temperatures to be near to slightly above normal from today through Friday, with highs in the lower to mid 40’s.

Wednesday should be the chilliest day, with highs only around 40. Nighttime lows should mainly be in the 20’s and low 30’s. These temperatures are more in line with early March.

As we flip the calendar to February, the forecast becomes a bit more interesting for this weekend.

Two storms will be tracking towards New England. One with the northern branch (cold), and another with the southern branch (moisture).

These two branches are forecasted to merge off the east coast. Where they merge, will have a big impact on our weather. Right now, it appears as if the two systems will phase, but not in time to bring us a major storm.

Therefore, it appears that we’re only going to be brushed with this system. Saturday looks dry, with increasing clouds. Right now, we could see some snow on Sunday, but amounts look to be on the light side. Locations in Maine should monitor this storm closely, as it could intensify quick enough to lash them with heavy snow and wind.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will be looking ahead in seeing what February may have in store for us. I should have a better handle on whether winter will show up or not! I will also have your new ski and snowboarding forecast. In the meantime, enjoy the mild end to January…February may not be as kind!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

Milder…Then A Storm? 1/20/20

Hello! I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend! As has been the case this winter, the weather was quite changeable. Saturday featured thickening cloudiness, and it certainly looked and felt like snow. Sure enough, snow developed across the region towards sunset.

Saturday evening turned quite snowy, with some areas of moderate to heavy snows traversing the region. In the end, accumulations worked out as advertised.

The heaviest accumulations fell just north and west of Boston, where between 4 and 6″ of snow fell. Much of New Hampshire, Maine and ski country received a healthy 6 to 10″ of white gold.

For us here in Boston, most locations received between 3 and 4″ across the city. The snow dwindled to freezing drizzle towards midnight, then ended.

After the snowfall, Sunday felt very much like early March. Temperatures warmed up to the low to mid 40’s across much of southern New England, resulting in some melting during the afternoon.

To say that this has been a strange winter so far, is an understatement. It began with a cold Novemeber, followed by an unseasonable early season snowstorm on the first of December. Interior locations received up to 30″ of snow. Coastal areas received much less, but very impressive nonetheless.

The hits kept coming, with a couple more snow & ice events around the 10th and 17th of December, leading to above average snow in Boston for the first time in several years.

As we approached Christmas, winter went on an extended vacation here in southern New England. Above average temperatures were the rule for the balance of December.

Warmer trends continued into January, where temperatures have averaged a whopping 12 degrees above average, peaking last weekend, when all time record January warm temperatures occurred across the Boston area!

A cold front slipped through the region late Sunday, cooling us back to near seasonal levels early last week. Warm temperatures spiked once again, with mild weather returning for Wednesday and Thursday. Colder weather arrived Friday, but nothing unusual for January.

So there’s your recap for the first part of winter. Overall, it has been a very warm winter in Boston up to this point! Snowfall is not as far off as you may think. There has been several events, which has added up to about 14″. Normal to date is approximately 17″ here in Boston.

Everything is relative. If you’re thinking every winter brings blizzards and big nor’easters in Boston, you would be very disappointed. Yes, we had a good stretch over the last decade or so.

There were some big snows for sure! March 2018, January & February 2015 (historic), February 2013, January 2011, and December 2010 all featured blockbuster snowstorms and blizzards in Boston!

Last year was a dud winter. This year has also been a pretty easy winter…so far! It was never forecasted to be a blockbuster winter.

However, I did call for above average snowfall in Boston, predicting between 50 and 60″ in the city, with much more across the interior.

Much like last winter, coastal areas are running behind in snowfall…especially areas south of Boston down the coast to the mid Atlantic region.

Interior New England is benefiting from the early December snowstorm. Since then, departures have leveled off to near to slightly above average in these locations.

So here we are, halfway through meterological winter. What can we expect for the second half of winter?

While it may not be way above average the rest of January, it still looks like it will end up well above normal for the month. Above normal this time of year can mean two things.

First, above average temperatures can still mean chilly weather! Climatologically, we are at the coldest period of the year. Temperatures in the upper 30’s and low 40’s are above average this time of the year, but can still feel cold, especially if there’s a wind.

Second, it can still snow at this time of the year, even though temperatures are running above average! A storm just needs to take a favorable track, and snow would be possible. It doesn’t need to be brutally cold, just cold enough. It’s very much like a spring pattern here in January.

One such storm may approach us this weekend. It still may be too warm for heavy snow along the coast, but interior locations and higher terrain has some potential for heavy wet snow. I will have a full report on this potential storm in my forecast shortly.

As has been the trend over the past several years, I’m expecting a shift towards colder and snowier patterns as we head into February and March.

While February may be less mild than January, departure from normals begin to go up. Therefore, I’m expecting another above average month. If this is the case, it will solidify another warmer than normal winter here in Boston.

Just when you think it’s over, winter will likely make its presence felt in a very unwelcome way as we head towards March. This is when we could see our coldest temperatures compared to average, and our most snowfall,

I know this is disappointing news to my sister, Pam! While she loves winter, she would rather have winter during winter, not when spring arrives!

Does this mean snowfall will reach my prediction back in November? At this point, I would not bet the house on it. While I’m expecting more snow the second half of winter, it would need to be a furious finish to reach this prediction.

It’s not impossible. It would only take one or two large storms for this to verify. This is especially true across the mid Atlantic region, where seasonal averages are lower than northern regions.

If you love snow, it’s been a very frustrating past couple winters! While interior and ski resorts have seen significant snow, coastal areas have been snow deprived.

This is especially true from areas south of Boston through the mid Atlantic region within 20 miles of the coast. This zone can be classified as having a snow drought past couple years.

It hasn’t been snowy by any means in Boston, but at least there has been some occasional snowfalls to remind us that it is indeed winter!

Where is winter happening this year? Look no further than the Province of Newfoundland (eastern), Canada! Last Friday, St. John’s was slammed with a record 76 cm of snow (30″) in a 24 hour period.

It was a fierce blizzard, complete with hurricane force winds which drifted snow up to 15 ft in many places. Some meteorologists compared the bomb cyclone to our famed Blizzard of 1978 here in Boston. Wow!

Cold and snow arrived just in time for ski resorts and the long holiday weekend! Many resorts received back to back 6 to 10″ snowfalls at the end of last week and over the weekend. Cold weather for most of this week will ensure quality conditions for the rest of this week.

Another slow moving storm may track just south of New England over the upcoming weekend. With this track, central and southern resorts may be in for a heavy wet snowfall. Please follow latest updates, as some computer models are printing out significant accumulations.

Now for our weekly outdoor winter activity forecast. I will rate this week a 7 out of 10.

Watch for clear and cold for the rest of your Monday night. Temperatures will fall into the single digits and teens from rural to urban areas. Cold, but nothing unusual for January.

Expect mainly dry weather with slowly moderating temperatures from Tuesday through Friday. It will still be cold tomorrow, but will not have the bite Monday had. Highs will be near 30 tomorrow, into the 30’s on Wednesday, then up into the 40’s on Thursday and Friday. Overnight lows will fall into the teens and 20’s.

The weather for the upcoming weekend may feature another winter storm. This storm looks to be slow moving storm in the southern branch of the jet stream will be tracking south of New England.

This was something I envisioned happening more often this winter. An active subtropical jet stream fueled by a weak El NiƱo. These storms can be loaded with moisture, so the stakes can be high.

However, as mentioned above, temperatures will be very borderline for a heavy snowfall along the coast.

As I see it right now, it looks like a mixture of wet snow and rain developing across the Boston area Saturday afternoon. As the storm strengthens, ocean winds will bring mild maritime air in off of the ocean, changing this mix to heavy rain Saturday night.

While all this is happening, heavy wet snow may continue across interior locations of Massachusetts, well north and west of I495. This is especially true across the higher elevated areas, where significant accumulation of heavy wet snow may occur.

Much of northern New England away from the immediate coast may be in for quite a heavy wet snowstorm, with just enough cold air available.

We may be not entirely out of the woods here in Boston. As the storm begins to slowly track east of our longitude, winds may shift to the northeast early Sunday morning. This may draw slightly colder air into Boston, changing the rain to a period of heavy wet snow even in the city.

In addition, if the storm tracks slightly further south than what computer models are currently predicting, a slightly colder solution would mean heavy wet snow much closer to the coastal plain.

I will be monitoring the potential for this winter storm and will update everyone if conditions warrant later this week.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will look into what factors could make this winter linger longer than many would like. I will also have a new ski and outdoor activity forecast. In the meantime, enjoy the milder weather later this week, but don’t expect 70’s anytime too soon!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

Back To Reality! 1/13/20

Hello! I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend! It’s pretty hard to comprehend just what the heck happened to the weather this past weekend! Most folks don’t need an explanation, they just took it in stride, and tried to enjoy every minute of it!

Unless you’re living in a bubble, the Boston area was treated to weather this past weekend which would of been beautiful for the beginning of June, let alone the beginning of January!

Wow! What a punch in the gut for winter enthusiasts! The unseasonably warm weather broke all time record warm temperatures for not only high temperatures, but record high low temperatures as well.

Saturday started off shaky with some patchy cloudiness. This burned off by late morning, and the temperature shot up to 70 degrees, breaking the record of 62 set back in 1975. It was so warm that I had my air conditioner running in the store all day!

Saturday night was warm, and on the muggy side. A line of showers whipped through the region early Sunday morning. This was followed by a very gusty west wind. You would think things would turn sharply colder with that wind direction here in January.

In this particular case, this was not what happened. A strong west wind is a down sloping wind off of the Berkshires and Worcester Hills. When a parcel of air is forced down in elevation, it expands, and warms up.

Therefore, temperatures skyrocketed to the warmest January day ever recorded in Boston weather history yesterday, reaching an amazing 74 degrees during the afternoon!

In fact, it obliterated the record high of 61 for the day set back in in 1913, 1975, and 2017 by a whopping 13 degrees. It also smashed the all time warmest January day of 72 degrees set back in 1950!

It didn’t stop there. It was also the first back to back 70 degree days during the month of January!

In typical New England fashion, it actually was snowing for a time in Boston this morning! A cold front slipped through the region last night, dropping temperatures some 40 degrees by this morning. A northeast wind off of the ocean picked up a little moisture which fell as snow across the city.

This did not surprise me one bit. This type of weather does not last long at this latitude this time of the year. We will be shoveling snow this upcoming weekend, but I will get to that in my forecast, shortly!

It was all surreal. I saw and felt it all. Folks basking in the unseasonably warm air all across the Boston area this past weekend. I even saw folks posting pictures of flowers blooming here in Boston!

I was chatting with my sister in laws brother Rich Spaulding yesterday who was up here attending the American Meteorological Society (AMS) conference which is being held in Boston this year.

Our quick conversation had us both in a state of unprecedented weather shock. To try to come up with some conclusions as to what’s going in a few minute conversation, is not realistic.

At the time, we both agreed that the climate is changing from what it used to be. It’s getting warmer. There’s no denying that our regions climate is warmer than what it used to be 50 years ago. These warm spring surges in the middle of winter are occurring more frequently, and stronger.

I have mentioned it before, out of the last 20 winters in Boston, only 5 have averaged below normal. And three of these have occurred in the last 10 years.

With December finishing nearly 3 degrees above average, and January averaging 11 degrees above average up to this point, this winter is undoubtedly going to be another warmer than normal one.

It would have to be just as cold as it was warm the second half of the winter, just be even. Unlikely at this point, however the second half of winter does look cooler than the first half.

A friend asked me if we can expect a early spring this year? With the seasonal shift in place, I see no evidence of an early spring arriving to New England this year. With the delay in winters arrival, I’m fully expecting wintery weather to linger deep into spring this year, making everyone feel miserable.

The big question is if this is earth’s natural cycle, or is our climate going to continue to warm up, turning Boston’s climate similar to Norfolk, Va. in the coming years?

At this point, I’m going to have an objective outlook on this matter. I thought things might be turning around by now. You would think there’s a breaking point at some point?

In terms of weather, I’m still a believer in trends and cycles. Since 2015, our weather has certainly been in a warmer than normal cycle, with each year seemingly warmer than the year before,

As mentioned earlier, nothing is going to be answered anytime soon. It may take until the next generation to really look back to have definitive proof.

However, I will say, if the pendulum swings back to a colder regime in the next year or two, I would come to my own conclusion that the weather works in natural cycles, with periods of warm times, and cold times. In the meantime, I will continue to monitor our ever changing New England climate!

Many New England ski resorts took a big hit this past weekend. Only resorts in Maine were spared the June like swoon. With all this being said, I have good news for ski areas from this point moving forward! Colder temperatures are moving back in for the balance of January.

Therefore, snow making will resume on a daily basis in all areas. In addition, there will be some natural snow both tomorrow night, then again on Wednesday night into Thursday. These will be minor to moderate events, but will help stabilize the conditions.

The larger event looks to arrive this weekend. If you are planning on skiing this weekend, I am expecting a major winter storm starting later Sunday, continuing into Sunday morning. Right now, it’s looking like a solid 6 to 12″ snowstorm for many ski resorts across northern New England!

Now for your weekly outdoor winter activity forecast. I will rate this week a 6 out of 10.

Expect overcast conditions tonight, with a light wind coming in off of the ocean. With temperatures hovering around freezing, any patchy drizzle could result in some slick roads, especially across the interior.

Tuesday should feature some breaks of sunshine in the morning, transitioning to mainly cloudy skies during the afternoon. Shifting winds will bring milder weather to our region, with highs in the 40’s.

A storm will drag a warm front through the region tomorrow night. Watch for rain showers to spread across the area tomorrow evening, and continue through much of the overnight.

Watch for any early rain to move out early Wednesday. The balance of Wednesday should feature improving weather, with mild temperatures continuing. Highs should mainly be in the 40’s again. Which is still about 15 degrees above average.

Another low pressure will approach New England Wednesday night. This storm is projected to track through central New England. This will place southern New England in the warm sector, with possible rainy weather, and mild temperatures. As mentioned above, ski resorts should see accumulating snow with this event.

As this storm passes to our north, it’s going to rapidly intensify over the maritimes. At the same time, strong high pressure is going to begin building to our north. This will result much colder and windy weather on Friday! This will set the stage for the potential of a winter storm this weekend.

A strong storm will be tracking across the country later this week. This storm is expected to begin to interact with the strong high pressure across southern Canada come Saturday.

If this primary storm tracks across New York State, southern New England would receive an initial burst of snow, which would change to sleet, then eventually rain, across much of eastern Massachusetts. With this track, many would see a general 2 to 4″ before the changeover. Similar to what we have seen in a number of storms the past couple years.

However, there are indications that the high pressure will be very strong, which may force a secondary storm to develop off the New Jersey coast, then track northeast, passing close to Cape Cod on Sunday.

If this scenario verifies, the potential exists for a major winter storm across much of interior New England, west of the I95 corridor. The idea is the secondary storm would lock in the cold air across the interior, resulting in heavy snow and possibly some sleet. A storm like this could easily bring 6 to 12″ of snow.

In situations like this, a changeover to rain still seems likely across Cape Cod, and much of southeastern Massachusetts, perhaps up to and including Boston. Because of a colder track, many could see 3 to 6 or 4 to 8″ before a changeover. If the storm tracks slightly further offshore, heavier snow and ice could occur even closer to the coast.

Watch for snow to overspread the region from southwest to northeast on Saturday. Expect hazardous road conditions Saturday night, with snow, perhaps falling heavy at times. Later at night, the snow should mix with sleet and turn to rain by Sunday morning in Boston.

Later Sunday, any leftover moisture may turn back to snow showers, as temperatures drop. Exact amounts and precipitation types will be fined tuned as more information becomes more clear during the week.

I will monitor closely, and update everyone as confidence increases. However, do expect a winter storm with travel problems over the course of the weekend for many.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will let you know if the colder and snowier weather pattern is going to persist for the second half of winter, or not. I will also have your new ski forecast.

In the meantime, getting back to seasonal weather would be fine for many. We could be in trouble if Mother Nature decides to over correct!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

Some Snow…Then a Touch of Spring! 1/6/20

Hello! Happy New Year, to all! All in all, the first weekend of the year felt more like March than January! Saturday was damp, drizzly and cold…just not cold enough for snow. Sunday was blustery, with a changeable sky, and chilly temperatures. If you’re a winter enthusiast, this pattern has been for the birds!

My time is short today, so I’m going to briefly discuss the pattern, then get right to the forecast.

Much like last year, folks who love winter weather are beginning to grumble again. To be honest, I can’t blame them. Not because I’m one of these people, it’s just the weather patterns have been…weird.

Winter started off strong enough, with a two day nor’easter at the start of December. Several other smaller events actually brought Boston’s snowfall to above average for December.

After the icy event of December 17th, it seems as if the wheels have fell off the wagon for winters weather around here.

Not only did December end up nearly 3 degrees above average, but since about December 20th, Boston has been well above average…complete with a Christmas thaw, and mild New Year’s Eve.

Since then, it has what they call in the weather community, a “blowtorch.” Temperatures have averaged close to a whopping 11 degrees above the seasonal norms for January.

It’s not just southern New England. Most of northern New England have not had the snow and cold they received last at this time.

It’s not all doom and gloom. Most northern ski resorts are doing just fine. While we got rain and sleet last week, many northern areas such ast Stowe, Wildcat, and Sunday River received between 10 and 15″ of snow!

This is the exception and not the norm. Most areas in southern New England and most of eastern U.S. have enjoyed a very warm winter up to this point.

In fact, if you live south of New England along the east coast, many have not even had any snow up to this point.

If you’re thinking that this winter seems very much like last winter so far, you are correct! The similarities to last winter is nearly identical.

The big question moving forward is if this pattern is going to persist like last year, or are we going to see a flip to colder & snowier?

While Boston has seen nearly a foot of snow more than last year at this time, temperatures have been every bit as warm as last winter.

And when the average snow for Boston at this time is actually more than what we have received at this point for the winter, you can see it hasn’t been much of a winter at all.

Last winter, Boston had only received a paltry .1″ of snow up to this point. That’s right, just one tenth of an inch! The second half of winter was a bit more active, with Boston receiving 27.6″ of snow for the season. This is still well below the seasonal average of 44.”

Well, enough about the past. What do we have in store for the rest of this winter? My winter forecast called for between 50 and 60″ in Boston this winter. As mentioned above, the winter started out strong, but has since petered out.

I would not be forthcoming with everyone to say that I’m, once again, very shocked at the way this winter is playing out so far. I expected a pullback to some milder weather in December. Certainly not to the extent that it did, but milder nonetheless.

However, I was even more surprised at the intensity of this warm weather here in the first 10 days of January. As mentioned above, Boston is running nearly 11 degrees above normal for the month.

Computer data has been inconsistent with the fate of January. While it does show some un usual springlike warmth between January 10th and 20th, it also shows some cold air too, and also the chance for some snow.

Computer models are beginning to show some changes starting around the 20th of the month. High latitude blocking is starting to show up across Europe. This could force colder air back down into the United States.

An active southern jet stream continues to track abundant moisture across the southern part of the U.S. then up the eastern seaboard.

If this were to continue, the last 10 days of January could feature colder weather, with the chance of our first major winter storm of the new year.

In the end, I do not believe this winter will follow then same path as last winter. I’m sticking with my original forecast of between 50 and 60″ of snow in Boston.

Much like the 2014-15 winter, the worst of winter could wait until February to move into the I 95 corridor. I’m not expecting a repeat of that epic winter, but even if we received half of that amount, a very disruptive second half of winter would be the end result.

Despite the mild weather, northern ski resorts have managed to receive some significant snow since the new year. This snow helped salvage the New Year school vacation week. I will rate this week a 7 out of 10 for ski conditions.

Watch for roller coaster temperatures this week. Mild tomorrow, cold Wednesday, then mild Thursday and Friday. A storm will bring soaking rains to southern New England this weekend, but possibly icy weather turning to snow up north this weekend.

Now for your weekly outdoor winter activity forecast. I will rate this week a 5 out of 10. Expect clearing and chilly weather tonight, with lows mainly in the teens and 20’s.

Expect a mixture of sun and clouds tomorrow, with highs in the upper 30’s low 40’s. Later in the day, you may notice more overcast conditions.

A fast moving compact storm will be tracking across the Tennessee Valley, across the mid Atlantic then south of New England tomorrow night. Right now, it appears as if the snow from this system will track across southeastern New England., including Rhode Island, Cape Cod, and from Boston points south and east.

It’s not going to be a big storm, but if the storm tracks close enough, a period of moderate snow could fall overnight. Right now, it looks like a quick 1 to 3″ of snow for Boston. South of Boston, you could see 2 to 4″ of snow. Similar amounts can be expected on the Cape, unless rain mixes in, then amounts would be less. If the storm tracks closer, Boston could see 2 or 4″, if further south, just a dusting to an inch. No accumulation is expected for New Hampshire this go around, unless the storm tracks closer, then a dusting to 2″ could result.

This system will rapidly move out of the area first thing Wednesday morning. The rest of Wednesday will feature blustery conditions, with colder weather moving in during the afternoon. There may also be a few flurries around the area.

Wednesday night will feature colder weather, with lows dropping into the teens and 20’s.

Thursday will be our coldest day of the year so far, with highs not even getting up to 32 degrees. This despite mainly sunny skies.

This will be short lived. Milder weather will overtake the region once again by Friday, with afternoon temperatures warming all the way back up into upper 40’s to near 50!

Mild to unseasonably warm weather will continue Friday night into Saturday. Showers will arrive Friday night and continue through much of the day on Saturday, along with gusty winds.

You may think it feels more like April than January, with high temperatures approaching 60 degrees!

A cold front will be slipping through the region on Sunday. At the same time, low pressure will continue tracking through the region, bringing with it mainly wet weather. It may turn cold enough north of Boston for some sleet and freezing rain. The rain may change to ice & snow across ski country. I will be monitoring that over the course of the week.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will be monitoring this volatile weather pattern, and will update you with all of these rapid changes I’m expecting. I will also have a new ski and snowboard forecast. In the meantime, enjoy the touch of spring in January. This hasn’t happened since, well…last winter!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

Wet…Then Mild! 12/30/19

Hello! I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season! The weather since the icy storm back on December 17th has been, well…boring. For the majority of folks, this was welcome news for those traveling over the holidays.

Although I love stormy weather, I am fine with the lack of inclement weather over the holidays. When a storm hits this time of the year, the end result is major delays and cancellations of family events. Not fun for anyone!

My family gathered up at my sister and brother in laws home in the seacoast region of New Hampshire for Christmas. This was the first Christmas in several years held up in New Hampshire.

Though it had not snowed in over a week, there was just enough snow on the ground to classify it as a White Christmas!

Temperatures were seasonal, with highs mainly in the 30’s. Later in the day, we were all treated to a spectacular CHristmas sunset!

With so many people traveling, either by plane or car, even a small storm can result in delays and cancellations. Imagine if there was ever a major storm around Christmas?

Looking back in history, there have been major winter storms on or around Christmas Day over the years.

For instance, back in 1969, a major storm hit New England on Christmas Eve, bringing with it heavy snow, thunder and lightning!

A few years later in 1974, a slow moving storm off the Massachusetts coast brought snowy weather all day long on Christmas Day.

Just a year later, Boston received it’s largest December snowstorm on record, when 18.6″ of snow fell between December 20th through the 22nd.

There were not too many White Chistmas’s to speak of through much of the 80’s. The next one occurred in 1995, when Boston recorded a foot of snow on the ground Christmas morning, from previous storms.

That winter turned out to be a real doozy, with 108.6″ falling at Logan Airport! This record stood until the epic winter of 2014-15, when 110.6″ fell at Logan Airport!

Believe it or not, I do remember all these events, beginning from the 1974 snow event on Christmas Day.

Perhaps more of you would remember the Christmas Day nor’easter back in 2002? This storm brought incredible snow rates in central Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire during the day, when up to 2 ft of snow fell!

It rained here in Boston most of that day. However later in the day, the rained turned to heavy snow when up to 7″ of wet snow plastered all the trees, making for a Winter Wonderland the morning after Christmas!

There was also the Boxing Day Blizzard the day after Christmas back in 2010, when 18″ of snow fell in Boston, stranding thousands at airports.

In recent years, Boston received 3″ of wind whipped snow on Christmas morning back in 2017. Up to 13″ of snow fell in Maine that day, as a storm rapidly intensified as it moved up the coast.

As we close out another year, I like to write an annual review of certain weather events of 2019. After several turbulent years, 2019 was a rather tranquil year for us. Basically, just another warm & wet year.

Some highlights to the year was the winter that never arrived in coastal areas. Snow turned to sleet or freezing rain in many events along the coast, keeping accumulations below average for the year.

Our heaviest snowfall did not arrive until march 3rd and 4th, when between 10 and 16″ of heavy wet snow blanketed the Boston region.

Heavy snowfall fell up in the mountains, with relentless snows through March.

As has been recent trends, spring was reluctant to arrive, with cool to cold weather persisting well into May. There was actually a bit of sleet recorded on Mother’s Day!

July 2018 brought very hot weather to Boston. So it was hard to imagine it could get even hotter. Mother Nature loves to out duel herself sometimes, as July 2019 turned out to be the hottest month for any month on record here in Boston! Wow!

Another major event which also occurred in July, was the EF1 tornado that ripped across the cape with winds of 110 mph, resulting in extensive damage. A very rare event indeed for the Cape!

August cooled off, but was still above average, with plenty of sunshine. This made this past summer a banner year for beach goers and summer vacationers!

But the Best was yet to come! The summer pattern really settled in by September. In what could only be described as possibly the best month of weather in years around here, September brought warm sunny days, with very little rainfall. Temperatures averaged well above normal, making it a very pleasant month for completing outdoor work, or spending time at the beach house.

The warm dry weather of September, gave way to warm and wet weather of October. No records were broken, just many rainy days.

November began mild, but a sudden turn to colder weather reminded us that winter is on the way! A nor’easter before Thanksgiving brought snow to the mountains, and drenching rains in southern New England. More cold air arrived just after Thanksgiving, making this November the first below average month for temperatures since last May.

A large early winter storm just a few days after Thanksgiving is the third major highlight of 2019. On December first, a storm moved into the Great Lakes. This storm was forced to redevelop south of New England due to blocking high pressure in eastern Canada, resulting in our first nor’easter of the season. Snow turned to rain then back to snow along the coast.

Heavy snow fell inland, where between 1 and 3 ft fell across north central Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire in the long duration storm.

The rest of December featured some additional snow events, but also turned quite mild and tranquil after the 17th. Boston recorded its first above average snow month since March of 2018.

Overall, 2019 was a warmer than normal year in Boston. In keeping the theme with 2018, it was also a very wet year. Though not as wet as 2018, it still will finish about 5″ above average. Snowfall was below average here in Boston.

Looking ahead to January 2020. I am forecasting a warmer than normal first 10 days of the month. Then brief cold shots oscillating with warm shots during the middle of the month, only to turn progressively colder the last 10 days of the month.

January is looking to be very active, with many storm systems. I am expecting one or two snow events the first half of the month, but the possibility of a major storm exists sometime during the last 10 days of the month.

I am expecting above average snow in Boston this January. Boston’s Logan Airport receives approximately 14″ of snow on average in January.

Northern New England ski resorts are receiving a early New Year’s present today. While we receive a mixed mess down here, northern ski resorts, especially in Maine are receiving heavy snowfall today. Some areas will be receiving between 12 and 18″ of snow!

This is good news, as there has been a lack of snowfall most of the month up there. Mild weather the rest of the week should make for pleasant conditions on the slopes. Another storm later in the week, could bring brief wintry mix changing to rain come Friday….which is not ideal.

Now for your weekly outdoor winter activity forecast. I will rate this week a 6 out of 10.

Expect a wintery mix across much of New England today, especially from Boston points north and west. Watch for a mix of rain and sleet around Boston and along the north shore coast this afternoon. There have even been reports of snow mixing in at times. Road crews may need to head out to treat the roads if the sleet comes down any heavier.

Areas across the interior have seen significant icing, with trees down and power outages. This could transition to more of a sleet mixture, as it becomes a bit colder in the upper levels of the atmosphere. Road crews will definitely need to be operating this afternoon into tonight treating the roads.

The storm will continue for many tonight. As the low tracks closer to Boston, it should warm up enough for just plain rain along the coast. However, low level cold air will continue to be trapped across the interior, which could result in additional icing problems.

Further up north, a heavy snow is likely across interior portions of Maine, where many will see between 12 and 18″ of snow. Significant snow is also likely across the White Mountains of New Hampshire, but not as much as Maine. Seacoast region of New Hampshire will see between 2 and 6″ of icy snow, with a bit more likely along the Maine coast.

The storm should begin to diminish in Boston by early afternoon tomorrow. Mild drier weather should follow for first night activities, I’m expecting temperatures to be in the mid 30’s at midnight, with dry conditions, and not too much wind! Happy New Year!

For the period from New Years Day through next Sunday, expect mild and bland weather, with highs mainly in the 40’s with lows in the 20’s and 30’s at night.

A storm will pass west of New England on Friday, this will punch a warm sector into the region on Saturday when highs could reach the mid to upper 50’s! Enjoy!

There is a chance of showers on Friday and a chance of a shower on Saturday. Sunday should be cooler, with highs back into the 40’s with a mixture of sun and clouds. Next week could briefly turn colder with a chance of some snow.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will be looking out for our first potential snowstorm of 2020! I will also chat a bit about our winter pattern, and where I believe it will be going from here. In the meantime, it may be wet and mild for now…this may change to white & wild later in January!

Wishing everyone a safe and Happy, New Year!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

‘Twas The Thaw Before Christmas…12/23/19

And all through the night, not a snowflake was stirring, not even in sight! Merry Christmas & Happy Hanukkah to all!

Hello! I hope everyone had a wonderful, weekend! Saturday by far was the colder of the two days. Fortunately, for all the last second shoppers, the weather remained dry.

In fact, after last weeks cold snap, Sunday felt quite balmy come afternoon. In reality, temperatures only warmed up to “seasonal” levels.

Although not a widespread White Christmas is not in the cards, that’s not true for all of New England! If you live inside of Rt 128, especially from Boston south, there is not going to be a White Christmas this year.

However, if you live outside of Rt 128 from Boston points north and west, it appears as if the snow form the icy storm of last Tuesday is actually going to survive until Christmas!

Even where I reside in West Roxbury, the ground is completely covered with ice and snow (in shady areas) from last weeks event. Yes, it will give it a festive feel, but I wouldn’t go as far to call it an official White Christmas.

As you travel closer to the ocean, I would imagine only a few piles of snow will be left by Christmas morning.

All in all, this year will fall just about what you would expect form your chances for a White Christmas in New England. Your best chance is across the interior of New England. Away from the ocean.

What constitutes a White Christmas? Well, this is all relative on How you perceive it. From the National Weather Service, an official White Christmas is having one inch or greater of snow on the ground at 7 AM Christmas morning.

Other folks believe it’s actually snow falling on Christmas Day and accumulating greater than one inch, even if it begins after 7 AM.

For instance, Boston accumulated 3″ of snow on Christmas Day 2017. Yet, it was not officially considered a White Christmas because it fell after 7 AM. Ridiculous! It was one of the whitest Christmas Days that I could remember in recent years!

If it seemed as if we had more White Christmas’s growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, you were not imagining this! Due to a cyclical nature of weather patters, snowstorms were more frequent before and around Christmas in those decades.

I can remember a big snowstorm just a couple days before Christmas back in 1975, when the Boston area received over 18″ of snow! Thank you to amateur meteorologist Anthony Siciliano for tweeting out this bit of Boston weather history!

I remember going out to get our Christmas tree with my dad during that big snowstorm! Yes, that was a very White Christmas that year!

Despite Boston only having a 25% chance of a White Christmas, you can imagine all of the close calls we have had throughout the years!

Officially, in the city and within 10 miles of the coast, this will not go down as an official White Christmas. Better luck next year!

Although it may seem like winter has been around for a while this year, astronomical winter just began on December 21st at 11:19 PM.

For those thinking spring is right around the corner, I have some good news and bad news to report. The good news is indeed the days will now begin to lengthen each day until we reach the summer solstice in June!

The bad news is that we have a long haul before we arrive to the spring equinox. The old weather saying holds true, “as the days lengthen, the cold strengthens!” This is due to latent heating and cooling. Meaning it takes longer for the oceans to cool off than landmass.

Therefore, our coldest weather here in New England still lies ahead of us. On average, our coldest time of the year runs between January 15th though February 15th.

Knowing this, it should come as no surprise the coldest temperature ever recorded in Boston was on February 9th, 1934 when Boston plummeted to -18 degrees Fahrenheit!

So far the winter forecast is going according as planned. Back in November, I called for a snowier than normal December, with near average temperatures at months end.

Up to this point, Boston has received nearly a foot of snow this December. Average at Logan Airport is 8″ for December. No doubt, interior locations have received nearly double this amount, thanks in large part to the spectacular early winter storm on December 1st through the 3rd.

As expected, temperatures have been on a roller coaster, but will likely average very close to seasonal values come months end…perhaps slightly warmer than average in a few locations due to a mild last 10 days.

As for the entire winter, I forecasted above average snowfall in Boston, forecasting between 50 and 60″ of snow to fall in the city, with much more falling inland.

After carefully studying all the latest information I have available, I have decided to go with my first gut instinct, and leave the total accumulation right where it is. This holds true for most other locations I gave a forecast for. Most areas are going to receive above average snow.

There are just too many conflicting signals this year to pull out all the stops for a blockbuster winter. Though the storm track looks like it will be closer to the coast than last year, this would still mean the coast will be fighting sleet and rain.

This could hold accumulations down in the city and along the coast. In other words, the pattern looks quite similar to last year, just a bit colder, which would mean more snowy, mixed events closer to the coast than last year.

The only area that may have to be scaled back a bit would be the northern mountains, of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. It looks like the storm track is going to set up further south this winter, compared to last.

Therefore, not as much snow is going to fall as last winter. This may mean some northern ski resorts may be dealing with a thinner snowpack compared to last year.

What could go wrong? Many things, even at this late juncture! In my opinion the winter is going to go one or two ways.

The warmer solution would be to have a winter evolve similar to last year…with the mean storm track staying out west, and we get strung out storms that track to our west, starting out as snow, but changing to messy mixes.

The second solution is more ominous. This solution delivers a winter pattern much different than last winter. The storm track evolves towards the east coast, allowing nor’easters to develop.

The southern jet stream (moisture), would phase with the northern jet stream (cold), to produce major snowstorms, even to the coast. With this scenario, we would be looking at higher accumulations than what I’m calling for at this moment.

Very tricky situation! The original forecast is my best educated guess at this time! This solution is still not a winter to be taken lightly! These accumulations would surely mean some significant winter weather events…possibly even a blizzard the second half of January. I will be monitoring the patterns very closely, and be sure to update everyone as conditions change!

The brief thaw did not do too much damage to ski resorts. You can expect colder weather to move into the region for the rest of the holiday week. Not too much natural snow, but they can make snow at night, with temperatures in the teens and 20’s. Daytime high temperatures will mainly be in the 30’s. There may be a touch of snow come Thursday, then maybe some mixed precipitation come Sunday. No major storms are anticipated at this time.

Now for your weekly winter holiday forecast. I will rate this week a 8 out of 10! Fantastic weather for travelers across much of New England!

A dry cold front will slip through the region overnight. Temperatures will begin to turn slightly colder, with l;owns mainly in the upper 20’s and mid 30’s by morning.

Expect a mix of sun and clouds for Christmas Eve. Very tranquil weather. Temperatures will be cooler than Monday, with highs in the lower to mid 40’s.

Dry and chilly weather will continue Christmas Eve, with lows dropping mainly into the 20’s.

Christmas Day should feature dry weather, but a bit colder, with highs mainly in the upper 30’s. There will be some clouds around, but no precipitation is expected.

More dry weather will continue through Christmas Night, with lows in the teens and 20’s.

Thursday looks mainly cloudy with a northeast flow off the ocean. At the very most, you may see some tiny snowflakes along the coast. Otherwise, it looks on the chilly side, with highs mainly in the 30’s.

A very weak storm will be tracking north of Boston Thursday night and Friday. This may bring a few light rain or snow showers across the region.

Fair weather looks to return on Saturday, only to cloud over again on Sunday. Another system will approach on Sunday, but at this time it looks to be too mild for snow, so mainly rain showers are expected.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will have your forecast for the rest of the year! I will also have my outlook for January, which looks like a volatile month! In the meantime, enjoy the peaceful weather this holiday week!

Merry Christmas, friends!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

Wintry Mix! 12/16/19

Hello! I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend! Saturday was a complete washout, with torrential downpours and localized street flooding.

On the plus side, it was obscenely warm, with temperatures approaching the record high of 64 degrees, with humidity to boot! Not very December like at all!

Sunday was windy & remained on the cloudy side. Temperatures started off on the mild side, but cooled off as the day wore on.

Yesterday, my sister Pam and myself took a drive out to Connecticut to pick up some office furniture donated by her company for my store.

I have not visited Connecticut too much in my life. The location was New Hartford, which is located approximately 30 minutes to the west of the city of Hartford.

I must say it was quite picturesque! With its rolling hills and farm houses, along with pristine white churches set by the countryside, the region measures up quite well when one thinks about quaint New England scenery!

I was also impressed by the extensive snow piles left over by the early December storm…especially in spite of the heavy rain and balmy temperatures from Saturday.

This made sense, as the location we were at is quite a bit inland from any oceanic influence. It’s colder there, and snow does not melt as quickly.

Still, you often think of Connecticut as south, and associated with the ocean. This is true along the south coast of the state. As in Massachusetts, the further you travel away from the ocean, the colder it is, and more snow that falls.

In fact, northwest parts of Connecticut often get walloped with large snow falls and longer winters than southern parts of the state.

They benefit from active storm tracks from the west and south, and being cold enough to support snow due to its interior location.

As predicted at the start off the month, the pattern this December has not been for the faint of heart!

After two accumulating snows in Boston, and two nuclear warm ups, the pendulum is about to swing the other way once again, with a wintry type storm on tap for your Tuesday!

To date, this will be Boston’s third winter storm in the young season. Although less than interior locations, Boston is running ahead of schedule so far in the snow department. Especially when compared to last December! If you recall, Boston did not receive any snow accumulation last December.

Up to this point, the forecast for above average snows for December, and near average temperatures is working out just fine. Remember, it’s the extremes that make the averages, so the roller coaster temperatures we have been experiencing is not out of the ordinary at all.

As we settle deeper into the winter, one would expect more prolong periods of cold weather to develop. Technically, we are still in autumn until December 21st, when winter officially arrives!

Have my thoughts changed on my winter forecast made back on November 25th? If you recall, I called for above average snow in Boston this winter, with near to slightly below average temperatures.

My final update will be posted one week from today. This gives me a chance to review some last minute guidance, just in case I need to “tweek” the forecast.

Everything appears to be on schedule so far this month. The early call for Boston was for between 50 and 60″ of snow this winter. Logan Airport typically receives approximately 44″ of snow annually.

Similar to Connecticut, interior locations average quite a bit more snow than Logan Airport. Oceanic influence frequently reduce the amount of snow in the city of Boston due to a mixture of sleet, freezing rain, and in many cases a change to plain rain.

I see many similarities to this winters patterns as compared to last year. You may say, Pete, last year featured below normal snowfall from Worcester points south and east.

Yet, I always said, just a small adjustment to the pattern last winter, would of made all the difference in the world!

I believe the jet stream, which steers our storms, is going to be closer to us this winter. This can mean wild swings in temperature such as the warm rain storm we saw on Saturday.

However, this also means colder weather is going to be closer by this winter. Therefore, I’m expecting more wintry type storms, with greater than average amounts of snow.

How much snow? Well, I’m still looking over last minute data this week. There are some indications of a severe period of winter weather at some point for New England this winter.

If that were to happen, I would need to increase my snowfall predictions for this winter. I will study all my guidance carefully, and make my final call on this next Monday. Please check back!

It’s been a tough week for ski resorts. After some natural snow last week, the region took a big hit with conditions over the weekend. However, all was not lost!

Colder air rushed back in after the warm rainstorm, and resorts were able to resume snow making by Sunday. Overall, the pattern looks very good from here on out through Christmas for colder temperatures and snowmaking.

Unfortunately, the storm track appears to be somewhat different from last winter. Storms seem to be tracking further south, leaving northern New England out of the heavy precipitation. The good news is that southern resorts should pick up a half foot of powder tomorrow.

The next chance of snow would be as a result of frequent snow squalls on Wednesday, as arctic air comes rushing in! Bitter cold weather could make it uncomfortable Thursday and Friday. The weather this weekend looks to moderate, with more tolerable temperatures.

Now time for your weekly outdoor winter activity forecast. I will give this week a 5 out of 10. Wintry weather for sure!

Clouds will lower and thicken this evening. Watch for snow to overspread the region between 3 and 6 AM. It will be cold, with lows mainly in the 20’s.

Expect wintry weather across most of the region for your Tuesday. Snow will be falling across much of Massachusetts through much of the morning hours. It does not look like heavy snow, although there can be bursts of moderate snow at times. Nonetheless, expect hazardous driving conditions across much of the region.

As the morning progresses, warmer air in the upper levels of the atmosphere is going to begin heading north. This will change the snow to sleet then rain along the south coast, Cape and the islands.

This warming will slowly head from south to north, and come in off of the ocean from east to west towards midday. However, the cold air is going to be strong, and lock in tight across interior regions.

Therefore, expect a mix of snow and sleet to continue anywhere just north and west of Rt 128 tomorrow. In this region, you can expect between 4 and 7″ of snow tomorrow continuing into tomorrow evening. This includes southern New Hampshire as well as seacoast region. Lesser amounts will fall points north.

For interior areas of Rhode Island and much of Connecticut, the potential exists for a possible ice storm. Here, the warmer air will be overriding the cold air at the surface.

Therefore, rain will fall, but will freeze on contact at the surface, due to temperatures which will hover at 32 degrees or lower. Temperatures should warm up within 10 miles of the ocean for plain rain to fall.

As for the immediate Boston area. This is a bit of a tricky forecast. After 3 to 5″ of snow, I am expecting enough warm air to result in a mix of sleet and freezing rain in the city. There is about a 50% chance that the icy mix will eventually turn to plain rain within 5 miles of the ocean during the afternoon.

Later in the day, as winds turn more north, colder air may collapse back into the city, resulting in a change to freezing freezing drizzle and light snow. This could make for an icy evening commute home.

This is not going to be our biggest storm. However, snow falling during the morning commute, and possibility of icy roads later, make can make these storms surprisingly difficult.

I do not make these calls, but I would close schools tomorrow in Boston. A few inches of snow in the morning will be followed by sleet and freezing rain. Give the crews plenty of room to keep the streets clear for the city to operate safely.

I know our standards have dropped for school closings. But this is also not the 1970’s anymore. The cities population has increased by 20%, resulting in more more cars on the roads, and more people!

It’s questionable whether the city turns to plain rain or not. Even if it briefly does, a wind shift to the north later in the day could send temperatures plummeting, resulting in a rapid freeze up and icy driving conditions. Why take the chance?

Be prepared that it’s going to be one of those years with multiple school closings. Winter has not even officially arrived, and this is already our third wintry storm.

Wednesday will see improvement. However, an arctic cold front charging out of southeast Canada will squeeze out any leftover moisture, which may result in some localized heavy snow squalls. These too can result in a flash freeze, resulting in icy roads!

Expect dry weather but very cold temperatures for both Thursday and Friday. Highs will only be in the 20’s, and lows will be in the single digits and teens. In addition, there will be a biting wind, resulting in below zero wind chills at times.

Watch for some moderation over the weekend. It won’t turn warm or anything, but temperatures should recover back up into the 30’s. I do not see any storms at this time over the weekend. Welcome winter on Saturday, December 21st!

There will be a developing low pressure off the southeast coast over the weekend. Most computer guidance is tracking this storm safely out to sea.

However, it’s been my experience to carefully monitor storms in this position. I would not be surprised if later computer models trended this storm closer to the coast.

If that were the case, we could be looking at some sort of a winter storm threat come a week from today. I will monitor this closely and be sure to post an update if conditions warrant.

If that’s a miss, it would remain cold and dry for Christmas. Which would mean any snow you receive tomorrow, would have to last until Christmas in order to enjoy a White Christmas. Which judging by the temperatures, looks to be a good bet, especially if you live west of the I95 corridor.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will be giving my final update on our 2019-20 winter season! I will also have your Christmas week travel forecast, and a new ski and snow board forecast. In the meantime, take it slow on the roads tomorrow! We don’t want any “fender benders” before Christmas!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

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