Full “Snow” Moon! 2/19/19

Hello! So sorry about the delay! I had a major computer snafu yesterday! I had written a detailed blog earlier, when I clicked the publish button, something went terribly wrong, and the whole blog was deleted!

I believe my Word Press needed to be updated, and it was not saving the draft. After I hit publish, it was too late, and lost the whole thing. It was a terrible feeling! As they say…technology these days!

I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday weekend! It was a pleasant weekend, weather wise. Saturday was a taste of spring, with highs in the upper 40’s. Sunday was colder, but still a nice day to be out and about.

A weak storm system brought Boston’s largest snowfall of the season late Sunday night and early Monday, with many locations picking up between 3 and 6″ of snow across the city, and points south.

The storm was noteworthy in Boston, as it was the first storm of the season that remained all snow. Every other system has featured a mix of sleet, freezing rain, or just changed to plain rain.

Due to severe time limitations, I’m going to have to get straight to the weekly forecast. There’s no way I can retrieve all the information I had written in the blog earlier today. It’s been a very frustrating day, to say the least! With any luck, I will resume my regular schedule next Monday.

Here’s your ski snow mobile forecast. After last years blowtorch on school vacation week, this year is proving to be much more wintry. I will rate this week a 9 out of 10! Expect sunny and cold weather for both Tuesday and Wednesday.

A storm will be approaching later Wednesday and will bring some snow with it late at night into Thursday morning. There may be some mixed sleet or freezing rain, after a few inches of snow. Friday’s and Saturday look dry and seasonable, only to be followed by more snow and mixed precipitation on Sunday.

Now for our local outdoor winter activity forecast. I will rate this week a 6 out of 10. Expect sunny and chilly weather for your Tuesday, with highs in the upper 20’s and low 30’s.

Look for the full “snow” moon rising in the eastern sky Tuesday evening. As a bonus, the moon will be in perigee, it’s closest proximity to earth. They say it’s 30% brighter, and I can attest for everyone, it is magnificent!

The moon shine against the freshly fallen snow was breathtaking! It had that bluish tint against the snow. Must of looked even better across the countryside of New England, reflecting off the freshly fallen snow.

Enjoy the full “snow” moon, named by the Native American Indians, after they noted heavy snowfalls frequently occurring during February.

Tuesday night will be clear and cold, with lows mainly in the teens.

Wednesday will start out Sunny and dry, but increasing clouds will lead to a snowy looking sky by evening, And in fact, watch for snow spreading from southwest to northeast after the Wednesday evening commute.

It may snow for a few hours, but just like all its predecessors, the snow is going to turn to sleet, then rain along the coast, shortly after midnight. North and west of Rt 128, temperatures may remain below freezing, which could result in more freezing rain.

Thursday may start off icy inland, but just wet along the coast. Skies should begin to clear after noontime, as the storm pulls away. Temperatures will not be cold, with highs near 45.

Expect fair and cold weather Thursday night, but nothing unusual for this time of the year.

Friday and Saturday should also feature dry weather, with highs mainly in the 30’s and low 40’s.

Yet another storm will be approaching from the southwest Saturday night. This too may also begin with some mixed precipitation, but is also destined to go over to rain around here by Sunday. This sounds like a broken record!

Well, that’s about it for now. In next week’s blog (fingers crossed), I will have your new ski and snow mobile forecast. I will also be on the lookout for any potential snowstorms in this otherwise meager winter. In the meantime, if you like snow, then February is your month…they named a moon after it!

Thanks for reading!

Happy Birthday to my niece, Nicole! A true winter birthday!

Another Wintry Mix…2/11/19

Hello! I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend! It was a seasonable weekend weather wise, with Saturday being the colder of the two days. Sunday featured less wind, with ample sun, which made it feel that much more pleasant to be outdoors. All things considered, it was a nice mid winter weekend for all outdoor winter activities!

Well, Boston has broken another record! This time, for the least amount of snow ever recorded in the first 10 days of February. In this case, the city recorded not even a trace of snow. I believe not even a flake? This has never happened in nearly 150 years of record keeping!

With such little accumulation so far here in Boston, one would have to wonder if this could end up being the least snowiest winter on record? So far, Logan Airport has only recorded 2.8″ of snow this winter. This is the official measurement.

There are many, including myself, that believe this is a erroneous number. Officially where I live in West Roxbury, I have measured 10.6″ of snow. Being approximately 8 miles from the airport, and set a bit inland from the ocean, there’s bound to be some differences in snow accumulations.

However, there have been reputable sources claiming that the observer did not show up in a timely manner to measure the snow. Some may say what’s the big deal? In the grand picture of life, I suppose it’s not that big of a deal.

But in climatology, data and record keeping, it’s very disturbing to see such a discrepancy. As a reminder, the least snowiest winter on record was back in the 1936-37 winter, when only 9″ fell for an entire winter!

Not too far behind that, was the infamous year without a winter in 2011-12, when Boston only recorded 9.3″ for the entire season!

While I do not see the severe winter first envisioned in my winter forecast, I also do not believe we are going to set a record for the least amount of snow in history. Why should you believe this, if the winter forecast was so far off the mark?

As mentioned in previous posts, I have no regrets in the winter forecast. As I have said many times before, I call it as I see it. Back in November, all parameters were pointing towards a rough winter. It’s been only by the grace of Mother Nature, and a few small shifts that has spared the Boston area winters wrath.

Not to make excuses, or scapegoat anyone, but I saw no meteorologist, consultant group, or amateur meteorologist call for less than 60″ of snow this winter.

From what I can see at this juncture, there are two agencies that had the best forecast for this winter. First was NOAA, and the other was The Old Farmers’ Almanac!

The Old Farmers’ Almanac out of Dublin, N.H. is the butt of many professionals jokes out there, but who’s laughing now? They called for a milder winter, with below average snow in the I95 corridor from Boston to Philly. The same area where computer models were targeting for extreme winter weather this year.

As for NOAA (National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration) (Government), they’re biased warm every year anyway. Nevertheless, they did forecast a milder than normal winter for a good part of the northeast. Something that 90% of organizations did not do. So credit must be given when due.

While the winter that wasn’t is occurring down here in southern New England, folks up north are thinking the exact opposite of these “on point” mild predictions. It’s been a parade of storms tracking across the country, up towards the Great Lakes. While this is not a good track for the Boston area, the same can not be said for northern New England.

There has been just enough cold air and resistance up north, so many of these storms have featured heavy snow up there. Some of these storms have even redeveloped close to Boston, which locks in the cold air in Maine and New Hampshire. Caribou Maine is having one of their snowiest winters on record.

Getting back to our current state of winter 2018-19. The drama is building! If I gave you the impression earlier that I’m throwing in the towel for this winter, I can assure you that I am not!

Moving forward, from what I can see, there is still plenty of cold air up in Canada. In addition, the sub tropical jet stream that I was counting on to deliver moisture, is suddenly becoming very active.

Now, it’s a delicate balance between the northern polar jet (cold & energy), and southern tropical jet (moisture), to phase together resulting in big storms.

So far, the southern Pacific jet has been more dominant here in southern New England, bringing in too much warm air in with the storms, resulting in more rainstorms than snowstorms here in Boston.

I can envision these two streams linking up at least once or maybe twice before we transition into spring. If this does indeed occur, I can see a couple hefty storms in Boston, bringing us up close to average, if not a bit above for the season. There’s an outside shot at a mini snow blitz occurring, which could mean even more snow than currently thinking.

This would be a formidable recovery, considering only 2.8″ has accumulated so far this winter. The period to watch for is between February 20th and March 15th. Boston averages about 44″ per season.

Now for your ski and snow mobile forecast. I am rating this week a 10 out of 10! Wow! Another major snowstorm for the ski resorts! Watch for heavy snow to develop later tomorrow, and continue through midday on Wednesday.

When the storm pulls away later Wednesday, many resorts will have picked up between 10 and 20″ of snow! There may be some isolated amounts of 2 ft, in some of the northern resorts!

Dry weather will follow on Thursday and Friday. Another complex storm will arrive this weekend, with possibly some showers Saturday, which may transition to some snowy weather by Sunday.

Now for your weekly outdoor winter activity forecast. I will rate this week a 5 out of 10. Expect pleasant weather for the rest of your Monday, with sunny skies, and temperatures in the mid 30’s.

Watch for increasing clouds overnight but no precipitation is expected. It will be a bit colder, with low temperature mainly in the teens and 20’s.

Expect dry weather in Boston until about mid afternoon tomorrow. Clouds will lower and thicken as the storm approaches. Watch for snow to quickly develop across the Boston area, and become heavy for a time as we approach the evening commute. It should snow until about 8 PM and accumulate between 3 and 5″ in the city, before transitioning to sleet for a couple hours.

Because the low pressure is going to track over Boston, any frozen precipitation is going to turn to rain as we head towards midnight. Therefore, icy roads will turn just wet as the Wednesday morning commute approaches. I am not anticipating any school cancellations in the city of Boston at this time.

As has been the case so many other times this winter, areas to the north and west will see a bit more snow and ice. If you live between I95 and I495, you can expect between 4 and 7″, with some glazing on top. It’s in these areas where delays or cancellations are possible.

Locations north and west of I495 into southern New Hampshire including the seacoast region, should see between 5 and 9″ of snow, and possibly a mix towards the tail end of the storm. Delays and cancellations are likely here, but don’t count on it. The storm will be moving out quickly by late morning, allowing road crews to clean the streets and highways.

For folks who live in the interior of New Hampshire, north of Manchester, into much of the state of Maine (except the coast), you can expect quite a bit of snow, with between 8 and 12″ of snow in valley areas, and 10 to 20″ in higher elevations and ski resorts. Lesser amounts due to some mixing within 5 miles of the Maine coast.

Expect the rest of Wednesday to feature brisk winds, and temperatures rising into the low 40’s around Boston, with additional melting.

Watch for chilly but dry weather for Thursday (Happy Valentine’s Day!) I love you all! High temperatures will make it into the low 40’s, not exactly great snuggling weather, but better than the alternative!

An approaching storm may result in showers developing later in the day on Friday, with highs in the upper 40’s.

The weekend begins our period of high uncertainty. A storm which once thought was going to bring a monsoon of rain and warm temperatures, now appears as if it want s to track more easterly, and pass south of the region.

If this is true, it could mean that rain on Saturday could transition into some wintry precipitation late in the day or at night. This could continue for a time into Sunday. Something definitely to monitor during the week. Another storm could threaten at the beginning of next week.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will be focusing on our renewed chances for wintry weather! I will also have your latest ski and snow mobile forecast. In the meantime, time to pull the shovels back out, but you can keep the ice pick in the shed!

Thanks for reading!

Pete


Perhaps He’s Onto Something? 2/4/19

Hello! I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend! After a frigid few days last week, Saturday finally warmed back up to near seasonal levels, which actually felt quite nice! After a cloudy start, the rest of Sunday featured ample sunshine, with even milder temperatures during the afternoon.

What else happened on Sunday…Oh yes, the Patriots happened to win their 6th Super Bowl title! How exciting was that game? Well, it depends you speak with. Many folks here in New England could not of been more thrilled with the victory!

This was not the same sentiment across much of the rest of the country! Most folks found it to be a boring Super Bowl. But who cares? We won a defensive sided game, and that’s all that counts!

Don’t mind the late post, I don’t recover as quickly as I used to after partying all night! I half wish that was true! Truth be told, I had early morning commitments, which turned into afternoon appointments, and this threw my whole routine off! Oh well…it happens!

First order of business…the groundhog! Yes, along with the all the other events this past weekend, Saturday was Groundhog Day! Though there are many new traditions across the northeast, even here in Massachusetts, the main event of the day is held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.

Folklore has it, that if the groundhog sees his shadow, he would scurry back into his den, and our region would have to put up with 6 more weeks of winter. Typically here in New England, it’s more like 8 more weeks of winter.

This year, I’m happy to report that Punxsutawney Phil actually did not see his shadow! This means spring is coming early this year! Right?

A good friend of mine sent me a message on Facebook this weekend, asking me if it’s true that an early spring is indeed coming? I can understand his concern. If you recall, we did not have a spring last year. In classic New England form, it literally went from winter (March & April), to summer heat in May!

It was an awful spring for many, including landscapers, baseball games, and gardeners looking to start cultivating their gardens. So cold, and so much snow in March!

To get to the point, I told my friend that the groundhog is more folklore, and there’s no scientific background to prove otherwise. If you really want to know if spring is coming early, listen for early morning spring birds cheerfully singing away.

Also keep an eye out for consistent mild temperatures, not these wild swings of warm & cold. When we get rapid temperature changes, this shows that the jet stream (dividing between cold & warm air masses) is still close by, which could mean storms and snow too.

But who am I to say? Up to this point, my winter forecast has been a total bust. So if the groundhog says an early spring is on the way, why not? If the temperatures for today and tomorrow are any indication of what’s to come, it would not shock me in the least.

But can it be? Could Boston actually record the least snowiest winter on record? So far, we have received the second least amount of snow up to this point, ever recorded in the history of Boston. If this snow drought continues for a few more weeks, it’s not out of the question!

I say the groundhog may be onto something, because I believe Mother Nature likes to make sure all things are equal. I wonder what the chances are of another bone chilling spring, such as last year?

Folks soon forget that last winter was quite a snowy one across the region, with Boston receiving close to 60″, with much more in surrounding suburbs. Believe it or not, much of that fell during March and April!

Perhaps this will be the year spring arrives early? Who knows? Seasonal long range computer models seem useless these days.

My dental hygienist, whom I visited today (a loyal reader too) was all too thrilled with the lack of snow so far this winter! She still has bad dreams about the epic winter four years ago, and has reservations calling for an early spring!

My sister Pam has a different take on it. She says this winter could end up being like the Patriots season. Well, we all know how that turned out! With the Patriots getting off to such a slow start, but coming together at the last second to pull off a last second miracle finish! Hmmmm….interesting!

I’m not ready to declare this winter dead just yet! While it may not be the severity once envisioned, I am still expecting a wintry period later in February into the first half of March. My concern is, once it shows up, it may linger longer than we would like.

Could this bust too? Yes, winter may indeed not arrive at all this year. As mentioned above, long range computer models have been useless this year. Currently, they range from early spring, to a fierce late season blast of winter. We shall see, soon! It’s put up or shut up time for winter!

Now for your weekly ski and snow mobile forecast. Again, while the Boston area has been enduring a snow drought, the ski season could not get any better so far this year! I will rate this week an 8 out of 10. Expect springtime conditions tomorrow, with soft snow, and highs in the 50’s.

Thereafter, watch for colder weather for the balance of the week. There is the risk for some icy weather Thursday morning, but no major storm is expected through the weekend. It could turn stormy the first half of next week?

Here is our local weekly outdoor winter activity forecast. I will rate this week a 7 out of 10…nice job from my in house consultant! Expect some clouds overnight, with mild temperatures continuing. Lows will barely drop into the 30’s and 40’s.

For Championship Parade Day, expect amazing weather conditions! This will be the exact opposite from two years ago, when we had wet snow 7 rain falling, and a bone chilling wind!

Tomorrow will feature some early clouds, yielding to bright sunshine as the parade gets underway. Temperatures should soar up into the mid 60’s! Wow! Have a blast if you’re planning on attending! Go Patriots!

A cold front will slip through the region tomorrow night, resulting in slightly colder weather overnight.

Expect colder temperatures on Wednesday, with increasing clouds. Later in the day and overnight, a weak storm may track just south of New England.

Just enough low level cold air could hang on across the interior to make for some freezing rain. This could make for an icy commute Thursday morning. Please be careful! Even in Boston, it could be cold enough for some icy spots.

Temperatures should warm up enough by later Thursday so that most areas will see plain rain falling. However, it still might be just cold enough in the deep interior for freezing rain.

As another storm tracks west of us, we may punch into the warm sector on Friday, with temperatures spiking up into the 50’s once again! This is especially true if we are lucky enough to receive some sunshine.

As a cold front sweeps off the coast, expect a colder weekend, with highs only near freezing on Saturday, and upper 30’s on Sunday, with mainly dry conditions.

Well. that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will look into the patterns for the rest of February. Is winter ever going to show up, or not? I will also take a gander into what spring may hold for us. Look for another ski and snow mobile report, too!

In the meantime, don’t hold the groundhog accountable! He may be looking at the same information as me!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

Brief Arctic Blast! 1/28/19

Hello! I hope everyone had a great. weekend! Overall, it was a fairly tranquil weekend across our region. Saturday was blustery & chilly, but featured mainly sunny skies. Sunday was a tale of two seasons. While southern New England enjoyed mainly sunny and springlike weather, the mountains were colder, with frequent snow squalls.

It has been a tale of two stories, so far this winter. It began early up in northern New England, and especially across the ski resorts. November featured cold weather, with frequent heavy snowfalls. December backed off somewhat, but the storms and snow have resumed here in January.

Yes, there was a rainstorm last week, but the cold and snow quickly followed, covering up any loss that occurred. While it was sunny and warm down here in southern New England yesterday, I saw many reports of heavy snow squalls and accumulating snow once again up in ski country.

I know it’s way up there, but Caribou, Maine is having one of their snowiest winters on record thus far! With yet another snowstorm on the way this week, Caribou will challenge for the all time snowiest month on record.

Overall, I’m very pleased with the northern New England winter forecast thus far. If anything, I’m pleasantly surprised with the amount of natural snow that has fallen in ski country!

The same can not be said for southern New England, specifically for much of eastern Massachusetts. Call it a snow hole, a drought, bad luck, it’s just been a dreadful forecast thus far, and I don’t see it changing anytime soon!

As dreadful as a forecast as it’s been, I’m not ready to wave the white flag, and declare winter over. Here we are, January 28th, and I see many on social media cancelling winter.

I understand the frustration. As many folks who love warm weather and summer, there are a handful of us out there who enjoy winter, and all the fun outdoor activities it brings along with it! Who doesn’t like a good old fashioned winter storm or two during the heart of winter? It’s one of the reasons why we love living in New England!

As I mentioned last week, I don’t know the reasons for the lack of winter weather so far this year in Boston. It’s a very fine balance of atmospheric factors that can not be quite yet understood. If just one part of the equation is missing, it could throw the whole forecast off kilter.

All I can say is that I researched my winter forecast more so this year, than any other year. I take pride in my seasonal forecasts, and have had a good track record over the years.

While I’m deeply disappointed with the results thus far, there is still time for a bit of a comeback. If I were alone in my thoughts of predicting such a harsh winter, than I would of told myself to look in the mirror, and stop wish casting for such things.

While I may of been on the higher end of total snowfall expected for Boston, most all professional meteorologists, internet weather companies, expert consultants were forecasting between 60 and 80″ of snow this winter for our area. I saw nobody predicting less than 60″.

It’s been a shocking and humbling experience at the same time. It’s a sharp reminder that we’re not in charge here…no matter how sophisticated and advanced computer models have become.

As good as they’ve become, the computer models were flat out wrong with their predictions for this winter. In fact, it’s turning out the exact opposite of what they were forecasting for this winter, back last fall.

I look at the computer models as a tool, to help me determine what kind of weather to expect. In addition to the models, I also incorporate a 17 point global check list, that includes many signs from Mother Nature. Could I have possibly overlooked an important detail? Yes, human error does occur in determining a seasonal forecast.

The big question is, can we turn it around? Yes, I believe there’s still time. While statistics show our heaviest snows occur in February, we still can see major snowstorms right up until St. Patrick’s Day in Boston. On rare occasions, we have even had blizzards in April, such as the April Fools’ Blizzard back on April 1st, 1997.

After a bitter blast of arctic air this week, there will be a moderation for the first week of February. After that, there are some signs the winter pattern will settle in, with cold & stormy weather for the balance of the month.

I will say this, if the the pattern does not show itself with results sometime in February, then the winter may indeed be a dud! Every so often, this happens. No matter what the computer models are saying, the weather does, what the weather wants to do.

Just for your information, Boston has officially received a paltry 1.8″ of snow so far this season. More has fallen just inland from Logan Airport as many have contested, but that’s not where official measurements are kept. We should normally be around 25″ for the season up to this point.

Average snowfall for Logan Airport is approximately 44″. The least amount of snow on record for Boston occurred in the winter of 1936-37, when only 9″ fell. Then as recent as 2011-12, when only 9.3″ fell. Boston has never had this little amount of snow, for so late in the season.

Should we make it through February with little snow, then it’s conceivable that we could see the least amount of snow ever recorded in the history of Boston. This is not what I’m thinking right now, but the way things have been going, you have begin to wonder.

Now for your weekly ski and snow mobile forecast. I will rate this week a 7 out of 10. Beware for heavy snow on Wednesday with treacherous travel conditions, then dangerous cold weather for Thursday! Things will moderate for excellent skiing conditions for the upcoming weekend!

Now for your weekly outdoor winter activity forecast. I will rate this week a 5 out of 10. Wintry for sure, but nothing that we can’t handle. Expect mainly sunny and a bit colder weather for the rest of your Monday. It will be about 15 degrees colder than yesterday, but still pleasant for late January standards. Highs will generally be in the mid 30’s. There may be some low clouds showing up around sunset rolling in from the ocean.

There will be a arctic high pressure area briefly building into northern New England overnight. This will result in two things.

First, it will make it turn colder, with low temperatures falling into the teens and 20’s.

Second, the clockwise wind circulating around this high pressure will make the winds turn northeast along the coast. As the cold wind blows over the relatively mild ocean, not only will clouds roll in from the ocean, but you can also expect areas of light snow and flurries to develop along the coast.

First along Cape Ann and the south shore, but as winds turn more east, northeast, this activity will then spread into the the city of Boston. Most of the time, this activity remains light.

However, there have been instances when bands of heavier snow squalls develop, and can accumulate several inches in isolated communities. Beware of changing road conditions along the coast tonight.

Tuesday morning may feature slippery road conditions along the coast as ocean enhanced snow showers diminish. As winds turn more out of the east, southeast, this activity will diminish by around 10 AM.

Thereafter, expect milder weather in Boston during the day, with highs in the mid to upper 30’s. As the next storm approaches, any splashes of sun will be short lived, as clouds tend to lower and thicken.

An arctic cold front will be approaching New England tomorrow night. As this is happening, a wave of low pressure is going to develop along this front near New York City. Between the two, watch for precipitation to expand across New England.

Here in Boston, it will be too warm for all snow, so expect rain to develop. As you head inland, north and west of Rt 128, it will be more of a mixture of rain and snow. North and west of I495, you will see more snow than rain, but still could have some mixing issues, holding down accumulations.

The real snow from this storm will fall across the interior of New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine. As the storm tracks north of Boston tomorrow into the Gulf of Maine, the storm is expected to intensify, and whip cold air down into Boston on the backside.

If there is enough moisture left, the rain may briefly change to snow right around the AM commute, resulting in some slippery road conditions. Remember, our worst road conditions are typically with the small events, when we let our guard down.

As the storm pulls away, any leftover snow will quickly end in Boston before 10 AM, with the sun poking through the clouds by noontime. Expect snow to continue into the afternoon across northern New England, with treacherous road conditions near the ski resorts.

When all is said and done, you can expect between 6 and 12″ across many ski resorts up north, with 4 to 8″ falling in lower elevations, which includes the Berkshires of Massachusetts and southern Vermont. Amounts will diminish as you head south and east towards the coast.

I’m expecting between 3 and 6″ of snow across interior sections of southern New Hampshire to north central Massachusetts, lowering to 2 to 4″ as you approach I495, diminishing to 1 to 3″ along the seacoast region of New Hampshire, to Boston’s suburbs north and west of Rt 128.

Here in Boston and along the coast I’m expecting just a coating to an inch or two. This includes any ocean effect accumulation from tonight. Similar amounts can be expected in Cape Ann, unless ocean enhanced snow tonight could surprise with a few inches in spots? No snow accumulation is expected down on the Cape at this time.

As this storm intensifies, it’s going to yank down a bitterly cold blast of arctic weather. In fact, watch for dropping temperatures during Wednesday afternoon, with temperatures falling through the twenties and teens.

The arctic plunge will send temperatures below zero in many suburbs by Thursday morning, and between 0 and 5 above in Boston. Unfortunately, temperatures may not rise too much on Thursday, with highs holding in the single digits all day! Much like it was back on Martin Luther King holiday last Monday.

Similar to that arctic blast, this too will not last long. After a frigid Thursday night, when many communities, including Boston may dip below zero, temperatures may moderate slightly come Friday afternoon, with highs back up into the teens and 20’s.

Temperature will continue to moderate heading into the weekend, with highs close to freezing on Saturday under dry conditions.

Southwest winds will continue to warm temperatures on Super Bowl Sunday, with high temperatures reaching close to 50, under mainly sunny skies!

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will have my review of January, and a preview of what we can expect for February. I will also have your new ski and snow boarding / mobile forecast. In the meantime, be grateful that it’s just an arctic blast, and not an arctic blowout!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

GO PATRIOTS!!!!!!


Frigid Today…Then Rain! 1/21/19

Hello! I hope everyone is enjoying their long holiday weekend! How exciting was that Patriots game last night?? Some may think it’s just a game. This is true, but I also find it a great time to gather with friends and family, have a good meal, and have some fun!

Saturday was the calm before the storm, with rapidly increasing clouds and cold temperatures. As winds shifted onshore, ocean effect snow showers blew in from the ocean, making for a wintry scene across much of the area later Saturday.

As a storm gathered to our southwest, moisture running out ahead of the storm streamed northeast into southern New England later Saturday night. Initially, it was cold enough for snow to overspread the area. You may have been sleeping, but snow fell heavily in and around Boston into the wee hours of the morning.

When I woke up Sunday morning, I estimated 4″ had fallen overnight here where I live in West Roxbury. As I reviewed reports from around the area, a general 3 to 6″ of snow fell overnight Saturday.

Of course, this was not the case everywhere! Our trusty little observer over at Logan Airport only came up with 1.8″ of snow. Hmmm…I’m starting to think this is some sort of conspiracy???

As stingy as this winter has been with snow, they’re actually not properly measuring the little snow that has fallen! This brings into question all sorts of doubt when measuring snowfall for climate data purposes.

The first measurement debacle back in the middle of November I could somewhat understand. The folks over at the National Weather Service told me that it was the warm ocean water, which modified the climate, and kept the snow from accumulating.

But here we are, nearly 2 months deeper into the winter, and they’re saying Logan received nearly 50% less accumulation than the rest of the city? I’m almost tempted to go over there, and take my own measurement during the next snow event, and see how they compare? Wow.

Anyhow, it turned out to be a very messy storm to say the least. As mentioned above, snow turned to rain in the city before daybreak on Sunday. North and west of Rt 128, the snow turned to sleet and freezing rain.

A few hours later, it was still rainy in Boston, but things were about to change! As I was shoveling the slush, I noticed the wind shifting, and ice pellets bouncing off my winter coat.

The cold air that was banked up across the Maine and New Hampshire seacoast began to surge south into the Boston area. Therefore, temperatures began to plummet, and a flash freeze which was anticipated for much later in the day, was actually on our doorstep!

This made for a very icy, treacherous day of travel around the Boston area. As the day progressed, temperatures continued to drop throughout the day. More periods of freezing rain and sleet fell throughout the day, but honestly, it could of been a lot worse!

While it was icy up here in Boston, the same could not be said for Cape Cod. As the center of the storm tracked over the canal, they actually punched into the warm sector of the storm, with temperatures spiking into the 50’s!

The same also could not be said for northern New England, where many ski resorts picked up between one and two feet of snow!

So we got the kitchen sink thrown at us yesterday! What’s next? Well, at this time, I do not see one particular pattern locking into New England over the next two weeks. This means many rapid changes are ahead! This also means there will be several chances for storms, some winter like, and some like spring.

So far, this is not what I had envisioned my winter forecast turning out to be. I’m not going to get into the reasons why today. While I’m disappointed in the amount of snow that has fallen up to this point, I’m not disappointed in my overall forecast. The weather is going to do what it wants to do, despite what computer models are saying.

In the end, I can honestly say I put forth my very best effort. If it doesn’t turn out the way I had envisioned, I would be joining hundreds of other professionals in the field who had similar ideas as mine.

I’m not throwing in the towel, or cancelling winter, we still have nearly two full months of winter to go. And while folks in southern New England, particularly around Boston has not seen much snow this winter, the same can not be said for much of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. There, the snow arrived early, and has been abundant this year.

No doubt, something seems to be misfiring. I was chatting with my friend Remy, from Cornell University the other day, and we both agreed that the teleconnections this year seem weak. There doesn’t seem to be one strong signal that wants to take control.

Typically, you might say El Nino, or La Nina, or the the block in Greenland. But this year, none of these want to take control. While it looked like so much potential on computer models, nothing is gauranteed until it happens.

What about for the rest of January? As mentioned earlier, its a volatile pattern, with the potential for both winter and spring like storms. This week is a good example. While we are in the ice box today, we could be looking at a soaking rainstorm on Thursday!

Then there are some indications of a possible coastal storm later in the weekend and start of next week. I hope it doesn’t turn into anything like this past weekend storm, with endless shifts by computer model guidance, and constant bickering on social media among amateur meteorologists and the professionals. But it probably will!

Before I get to my forecast, I did want have a weather history segment! On this day, back in 1978, Boston got whacked with the first of two blizzards. Many remember this storm as the blizzard before THE blizzard!

This blizzard occurred just two weeks before the infamous great blizzard of ’78 on February 6th. The one that occurred on this date was a fierce storm in its own right, delivering close to 2 ft of snow in less than 24 hours in Boston, with high winds and whiteout conditions.

Now for your ski and snow mobile forecast. I will rate this week a 6 out of 10. Sorry! So bitterly cold today, then rain on Thursday? That system on Thursday may end up with some wintry precipitation with it, if the cold air can catch up to the moisture in time.

Otherwise, not much chance for any natural snow until the beginning of next week. The good news is that they have plenty of natural snow for bases, and they can still make snow the majority of this week, with the exception of Thursday.

Now for your weekly outdoor winter activity forecast. I will rate this week a 7 out of 10. Expect frigid weather for the rest of your Monday! There were some flurries north of Boston today, but I doubt they make it down into the city. The record high low temperature in Boston is 12 degrees. We were at 9 degrees at midnight, and have not gotten out of the single digits today. So yes, we have broken a new record today!

It will still be frigid tonight, with low temperatures ranging from 5 below to 5 above. No precipitation is expected.

Temperatures will moderate on Tuesday, with highs rebounding back up into the 20’s, under mainly sunny conditions. This will be warm enough for the rock salt and ice melt to begin to melt the all the ice that’s around.

Expect fair and milder weather tomorrow night, with lows mainly in the teens and 20’s across the region.

Watch for even milder weather on Wednesday, with highs topping off into the lower 40’s. This should feel like a heat wave after the cold weather of late.

You may notice some increasing clouds later on Wednesday, leading to clouds lowering and thickening Wednesday night. With a storm tracking to our west, and no cold air available, expect rain to overspread the region from southwest to northeast Wednesday night.

Right now, Thursday is looking like a washout, with rain, heavy at times. It may be raining, but at least it’s going to be a warm day, with highs in the lower to mid 50’s! Very unusual, but not unprecedented for January!

As the storm moves north of us on Friday, expect cooler, but not necessarily colder weather to sweep back into the region, with highs mainly back into the 30’s.

It will turn colder on Saturday, with highs only in the upper 20’s., under mainly sunny skies.

There is a chance for some kind of a storm on Sunday and or Monday. Right now, it’s all speculation. If a storm develops and tracks south of New England, there is a chance for either snow or rain, depending on the temperature. I will monitor closely, and update everyone if conditions warrant.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will have your new ski & snow mobile forecast. I am also planning on studying the pattern carefully, and trying to pin down what we might expect for the second half of winter. In the meantime, if you don’t like the weather today, just wait a few days, and it’s going to change!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

Go Patriots!


Signs of Winter? 1/14/19

Hello! I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend! Overall, it was a wintry weekend, with bitter cold winds on Saturday. Temperatures on Sunday were still in the 20’s, but with less wind, it certainly felt more tolerable. While it was cold, it was also dry, with no snowfall to speak of.

This was not the case up in northern New England last week, and also down in the Mid Atlantic region just this past weekend.

While we saw rain down here in southern New England last week, many Locations up north were plastered with between 1 and 2 ft of snow!

Higher elevations saw the most snow, with some ski resorts reporting over 30″ of snow. So far this winter, it has been a tale of the haves, and the have nots!

Much of interior northern New England has been the recipient of the haves, with heavy snowfalls in November, not so much in December, but have seen an uptick in snowfall here in January.

Surprisingly, locations to the south of New England are also in the haves. Places like North Carolina, Virginia and now Washington D.C. All have received more snow than Boston this year.

It was very snowy down there this past weekend, as another storm slid south of New England, bypassing southern New England, harmlessly tracking out to sea.

Here in southern New England, it’s been the case of the have nots! After a mid-November snowfall, many locations in southern New England has seen little if any snow since.

According to the National Weather Service, Logan Airport has only received two tenths of an inch of snow so far this year.

If this measurement is indeed true, Boston has officially broken a record for the least amount of snowfall for so late in the season! With snow falling to our north, and snow falling to our south, you could make a case that the Boston area is in a snow hole!

The problem with snow holes is that they’re similar to a drought. Once snow holes establish themselves, they tend develop feedback. Meaning no snow, begets no snow!

Why? I look at his similar to a micro climate. For reasons unknown, dry air, subsidence, prohibits snow or rain to develop in a localized region, similar to a drought, though on a smaller scale.

If we take it a step further, Boston has never received an above normal snow season, with so little snow at this point in the season. Remember this as we move forward this winter.

Average snow at Logan Airport is approximately 44″. This number increases up to 60″ in many suburbs just to the north and west of the city. Here where I live in West Roxbury, 8 miles southwest of Logan, we average approximately 50″ of snow.

Of course this is an average. As you may have experienced, our winters vary greatly from one year to the next. Some more bountiful than others. As it is, we are currently on an epic run of above normal snow seasons in 5 out of the last 6 years.

The million dollar question is this year going to make it 6 out of 7? Before I try and answer that question, I apologize for having to repeat this scenario to everyone, since I made the winter forecast back on November 19th!

To be honest, I’m taken a back by the lack of wintry weather in the Boston area so far this winter. I continue to look at computer models that are relentless in showing that a severe period of winter is coming.

But at some point, there’s going to be a tipping point of no return. Meaning, the pattern has to flip soon, if my forecast is to verify.

If it flips after mid February, we’ve already passed the most severe period of the winter. And while it still could be bad, the chances of it turning out as to how I envisioned it would be very slim.

With all that being said, I’m slowly gaining confidence that winter is coming. Computer models are now locking in to a blocking pattern, that is going to force dangerously cold air from Canada south into the eastern part of the United States, while a active sub tropical jet stream delivers plumes of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico on up the eastern seaboard.

Not only is it coming, but I’m still anticipating a 6 to 8 week period of severe winter conditions is on the way, starting this Sunday, and continuing through at least the middle of March.

Could this rival the epic winter of 2014-15? It’s difficult to envision a similar scenario unfolding, with nearly 100″ of snow falling, in just over three weeks time.

However, as stated in my winter forecast, this blitz may be stretched out over a longer period, lasting nearly two months, rather than 3 weeks, so in that sense, it may be more manageable for municipalities to keep up with the snow removal, between the extremely cold temperatures and heavy snowfalls.

My objection is not to scare everyone. I’m just trying to give folks awareness as to what I believe is about to unfold. Could I be wrong? Yes. There is nothing more unpredictable than the weather!

With that being said, I would be shocked if we were to continue with the same pattern we are in now, for the rest of the winter. All signs point to where I think this winter is going to. Does it mean it’s going to happen? No. Only Mother Nature has the the real answers! So we shall see!

Here’s your ski and snow mobile forecast. I will rate this week a 9 out of 10. Good conditions will continue and will transition into epic conditions!

Aside from a few snow showers tomorrow, expect fairly dry and cold weather through Thursday. A weak storm will deliver steady light snow on Friday, with 2 to 4″ of accumulations. It may briefly dry out on Saturday with cold temperatures.

From what I can see at this point, be prepared for a major winter storm system to affect much of the north country starting late Saturday night, continuing all day Sunday, and even into Sunday night.

This storm will bring heavy snow in northern areas and ski resorts, with heavy snow mixing with freezing rain and sleet in southern areas, which would change back to all snow later Sunday. The threat for power outages and downed trees is possible for southern areas, south of Concord N.H. To the Mass border, due to heavy icing.

The threat of heavy snow to the tune of 1 to 2 ft or more exists in many areas north of Concord N.H. And especially across higher elevations.

Up to 1 ft is possible south, with heavy icing on top of that. Plan accordingly if you are taking a ski trip this weekend, as you may encounter major delays or even not being able to leave your location!

Now for your local outdoor winter activity forecast. I will rate this week a 6 out of 10. Expect increasing sunshine this afternoon. It will be on the cold side, with highs in the lower 30’s.

Tonight will be clear and cold, with lows in the teens and 20’s. Nothing unusual for this time of year.

Expect mainly sunny and dry weather for both Tuesday and Wednesday, with slightly milder weather, and highs back up into the upper 30’s tomorrow, and low 40’s Wednesday.

Fair weather should continue for Thursday, but it may be colder, with highs in the 20’s again!

A weak storm will be tracking through southern New England on Friday. Because the center will be tracking north of Boston, any light snow in the city should transition to light rain, with less than one inch here in Boston. As you travel north of Boston into N.H. More snow will fall, with heavier accumulations.

As this storm exits the region later Friday’s, a cold front will sweep through the region, plunging temperatures back into the 20’s on Saturday.

As mentioned in the ski forecast, a significant winter storm will be affecting the region late Saturday night through Sunday.

The track of this storm is critical as to what kind of conditions we can expect here in Boston. There are three scenarios that could play out.

The first scenario is if the storm tracks west of Boston. With this track we would see a period of snow beginning here in Boston late Saturday night. This would then transition to a brief period of mixed precipitation, then turn to heavy rain.

The second scenario is if the storm tracks across southeast Massachusetts. With this track we would see a more significant storm, with heavy snow, transitioning to sleet and freezing rain, then plain rain, and possibly changing back to snow Sunday night. With this scenario, the potential also exists for a severe ice storm for locations north and west I95, and possibly even close to Boston. This would bring heavy rain to the South Shore and Cape Cod.

Yet a third scenario would be if the storm tracked south of New England, locking in the cold air along the coastal. With this track a major winter storm would unfold across much of the region.

Right now, I am leaning towards scenario #1, but I will be monitoring the track very carefully, and be sure to update everyone if conditions warrant!

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, we will continue to track the evolution of this fascinating winter pattern. I will also have your latest ski and snow mobile forecast. In the meantime, it’s time to hunker down, as winter finally arrives!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

Go Patriots!!!

Winter…For Some! 1/7/19

Hello! Happy New Year! I hope everyone enjoyed their, weekend! It was a split decision weekend, weather wise. Saturday was basically a washout, with a cold rain falling just about all day.

Had it been a little colder, we could of been looking at between 6 to 12″ of snow. This was yet another rain storm, that looked like it was going to be snow a couple weeks ago on computer models.

Sunday was better, with a mixture of sun and clouds. Overall, it was a pretty mild day, for this time of the year. As a cold front pushed through the region, many saw snow showers being whipped around by gusty winds. Honestly, the day reminded me very much like the weather we see during March.

Some friends commented on the type of precipitation that fell yesterday. They asked me if it was hail falling. Actually, it was something called graupel.

Graupel is a snow pellet, or little round pellets that look like sleet, but is soft to the touch, like cotton balls. Graupel forms when Super cooled water droplets freeze onto snowflakes, creating a soft pellet of snow. It’s actually one of my favorite forms of precipitation!

To say the weather patterns have been strange is an understatement. They’re behaving the exact opposite as to what I was anticipating. When Mexico has been receiving more snow than Boston, you know there are atmospheric issues going on.

If you haven’t seen, parts of Europe have also been getting bombarded with excessive amounts of snow. Austria is known for their heavy snowfalls, but how about Italy, Greece, and now even parts of Lebanon!

Much of these heavy accumulations are occurring in the mountainous terrain. But still, there are many people who live in villages, and these snowfalls have been quite unusual.

This is getting to be borderline ridiculous. Here it is, January 7th, and only two tenths of an inch of snow has accumulated at Logan Airport so far this winter.

How have other winters fared with similar accumulation at this time? Glad you asked! Let’s put it this way…you can go ahead and print my winter forecast, crumple it up and toss it into a trash container. Then proceed to light a match, and watch it go up in flames!

Out of 23 winters with similar paltry accumulations, all 23 ended up with below to well below average seasonal snowfall. Digest that stat for a moment.

Am I concerned about an epic forecast bust? The short answer to this question is, yes! It would be very arrogant of me to think it could snow as much as I predicted in such a short period of time.

Has it happened before? YES! In the 2010-11 winter we got blitzed with 81″ of snow from December 27th to February 1st! As recent as the epic 2014-15 winter, Boston was bombarded with 93″ of snow in just 3 weeks!

If anything, I have been blessed with an uncanny ability to remember past weather patterns, and certain storms. It was just about this time of the year, 4 years ago, that I gave up on that record 2014-15 winter.

Many will point out that I called that winter, but few remember that I retracted the forecast, and downgraded it in mid-January, when Boston only had received 3 and 1/2″ of snow up to that point.

So here we are today, four years later, faced with the same predicament! Perhaps it’s Mother Nature’s way of giving me a second chance? I doubt it, but you never know!

With the statistical information given above, this makes the decision even more difficult. Do I downgrade the original forecast, or let it stand?

To me, this would be like a captain of the ship being the first one on a life boat, if the ship was sinking. I know I did it four years ago, but I learned my lesson. If the ship goes down, I’m going down with it.

All the research and observation I did starting back in the summer, all point to a snow blitz similar to prior years. All but 1 of my 17 signs that I incorporate into my winter forecast, verified for a rough winter ahead.

Your may ask, Pete, how can you go against the statistics? All 23 winters finished with below average snow. I must agree, seeing this statistic is quite daunting!

But that’s not the whole story. As the saying goes, ‘there’s more to the story, than meets the eye.’ Not only is there a first time for everything, but I also believe that there’s a discrepancy with the NWS snow measurement regarding the storm back on November 15th.

If you recall, there was an early winter storm here in Boston on the night of November 15th. Snow fell heavily across much of Boston, resulting in a quick thump of 6″ of snow, especially across the interior parts of the city. But even areas close to the water such as Dorchester and South Boston recorded between 3 and 4″ of snow.

This is why I was quite surprised when the NWS only measured one tenth of an inch of snow for that event. I asked them if they had any plans to re-evaluate the measurement.

They quickly answered back telling me the ocean was still very warm, and snowfall was melting as it fell. It was colder further inland, allowing snow to readily accumulate. They said the measurement was correct for the date in question.

All that makes sense, and I should just chalk it up to the changeable conditions frequently observed across the city of Boston.

However, I later learned that the NWS takes their snow measurements once every six hours. I was always under the impression that it was done every hour, like many other observation sites.

This is why snowfall measurements can not be totally trusted. There’s no doubt in my mind that at least 2 to 3″ of snow actually accumulated at Logan that night. The snow actually turned to rain, so indeed it may have melted by the time the measurement was taken.

You may ask, what’s the big deal here? Well, you saw the statistics for winters that have this amount of snow for so late in the season. All 23 winters featured below average snow for the season.

If by chance 3″ has accumulated up to this point, then the ball game changes significantly! Our chances for above average snow increases dramatically, if just 2″ of snow falls during November! Not to be repetitive, but my winter forecast could hinge on a measurement discrepancy!

With all that being said, I’m still very surprised where we stand right now at this point of the winter. I thought we would be much further along. But it is what it is.

Long range seasonal forecasts is nothing more than an educated guess. As I mention many times, the forecast never really goes exactly as planned. We may get there, but it’s always an adventure!

Now for your ski and snow mobile forecast. I will give this week a 8 out of 10! Fresh snow is on the way. Expect snowy conditions in the resorts for both tomorrow and Wednesday, with between 4 and 10″ of new snow. It will then turn cold later this week with another threat of snow on Sunday.

Now here’s your weekly outdoor winter activity forecast. I’m rating this week a 6 out of 10.

Expect mainly sunny for the rest of this afternoon. Increasing high clouds late today could yield a colorful golden sunset. It will be cold, but not bitter for January standards, with highs near 32.

A clipper type of storm will be tracking across New England tomorrow. For Boston points south, there may be some brief snow showers early tomorrow, which will promptly turn to rain showers later in the morning.

I’m only expecting a coating at best in Boston. Areas to the north and west of Rt 128 could see up to one inch. North and west of 495 could see up to 2″.

Much of northern New England will see mainly snow, with between 2 and 4″ of snow, mainly away from the coast.

Another low pressure will be developing in the Gulf of Maine later tomorrow. This storm may intensify, and slowly meander off the Maine coast on Wednesday.

Therefore, northern New England will see snow continuing on Wednesday, with another 2 to 4″ in lower elevations, but up to 10″ in the mountains, between the two events.

Here in Boston, we may see a brief period of snow and rain showers Wednesday morning, with little if any accumulation. Whatever does fall, would only melt later in the day, as highs reach the low to mid 40’s.

Colder weather will be moving back into New England after this storm moves out of our region on Thursday. It should remain cold and dry for Friday and Saturday as well, with highs mainly in upper 20’s.

Our next threat of a storm comes on Sunday. For the first time in a long time, we actually will have cold air in place. As is typical, there are two camps. The European model keeps the jet streams separate, and harmlessly passes a weak storm out to sea.

However, the American GFS model is slower, and more amplified. This would phase the northern polar jet, with the sub tropical jet stream. If this indeed occurs, a storm would develop along the Mid Atlantic coast, then track up the coast resulting in a significant winter storm for much of New England. I will closely monitor throughout the week and be sure to update everyone if conditions warrant.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will know much more whether my winter forecast will come to fruition or not. I will also have your new ski and snow board forecast for everyone. In the meantime, winter is coming for some this week, and for all later this weekend?

*Just noticed this is my 500th post! Great having everyone reading along! I’m very grateful for you all!

Thanks for reading!

Pete


So Long 2018…Hello 2019!

Hello! I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas, and are enjoying your holiday, season! Last time we spoke, there were some festive snowflakes falling here in Boston back on Christmas Eve, a week ago today.

Unfortunately, the flakes were just that, and melted upon contact, leaving no accumulation around the Boston area. Therefore, it officially went down as a green Christmas this year n Boston.

It happens every year. The one time of the year most folks don’t mind to see a little bit of the white stuff, and the majority of the the time it comes up green. Statistically speaking, December 25th has the least chance out of any day during the winter, to actually see snow falling.

I always say we have short memories. We would like to see it white every year, but that just isn’t the way it works out. That was not the case just a year ago, when many not only had a white Christmas, but also had heavy snow falling on Christmas Day!

We have reached the final day of the year! Before we officially say goodbye to 2018, I wanted to write a quick weather review to the year that was.

It was just a year ago today, when Boston was in the trenches of a arctic cold snap! The year came in with frigid temperatures, with a temperature of just 4 degrees at midnight, and an overnight low of minus 4.

A few days later a nor’easter struck, which quickly turned into a blizzard across eastern Massachusetts. Boston received 14″ of windblown snow, and a record high coastal flooding mark, which surpassed the Great Blizzard of ’78.

Bitter cold persisted until about the 9th of January. Thereafter, the cold eased, and the rest of January turned into somewhat of a cream puff.

This leads us into February. This month featured record warm temperatures! In fact, some communities saw their all time highest February temperature on record, reaching 80 degrees! Despite the record warmth, a sneaky snowstorm still managed to drop 8″ of wet snow in Boston towards the end of the month.

Just when you thought winter was over, high latitude blocking, aka the Greenland Block forced cold air back down into New England during March. This also was the catalyst to a very stormy and snowy month in much of New England, as three major nor’easters pummeled the region.

The month started off with a bang, with a severe nor’easter. High winds, major coastal flooding, and wind swept soaking rains battered the coast for 2 days. The storm actually stalled in the ocean for a third and fourth day, resulting in devastating coastal flooding in much of east coast Massachusetts, and some parts of the Cape.

Earlier, there was some concern that a good majority of this storm would fall in the form of snow around Boston. This would of resulted in a storm of historic proportions, with considerable property damage and hardship.

Higher elevations of northern and western New England were not so lucky. Some locations in southern Vermont reported up to 40″ of heavy wet snow!

Less than a week later, a second storm developed, and began to track up the coast. This storm had more cold air to work with. While many called for rain, 8 to 10″ of heavy wet snow surprised many in the city of Boston, with power outages and trees down.

Yet a third storm which began on March 12th, proved to be the most widespread snowstorm of the season for much of New England. This storm was intense, and brought blizzard conditions to some locations, along with widespread 16 to 24″ across the region, with the heaviest accumulations falling just 10 miles inland from the coastal plain.

Hard to believe a fourth storm threatened on March 20th, the first day of spring. A very last second shift spared the Boston area heavy accumulations, as the brunt of the storm fell south of the city, towards the Mid Atlantic region.

You would think now that we were in spring, the weather would cooperate, and warm up. Mother nature had different ideas! Cold air, and storms persisted right until the end of April! In fact, a late season nor’easter came in a very untimely manner right on Marathon Monday!

There was actually sleet falling early in the day, which turned into a windswept, cold rain. It was not only one of the wettest Marathon Monday’s, but also one of the coldest. There were many runners who suffered from hypothermia that day.

Starting on May 1st, everything changed. It was if Mother Nature flipped a switch, and turned spring “on”. Because of the incredibly cold spring up to this point, all the trees still had no foliage. Incredibly, after 10 days of temperatures in the 80’s, most of the trees had bloomed by Mother’s Day!

After the most 80 degree days on record for May, June turned out to be a very pleasant month, with average temperatures, and very little humidity to speak of.

This all changed starting on July 1st! A torrid stretch of oppressive humidity and well above normal temperatures made July through September one of the most uncomfortable in recent memory. Boston finished the season with 23 ninety degree + days this past summer, well above the average of 14.

In addition to the heat, it rained…a lot! The funny thing was, there were many great beach days to be enjoyed by all this summer. The bulk of our rain fell later in the fall.

Speaking of our fall, it was one of the rainiest on record! Relentless storms soaked the region later in September, October, and especially November! It also turned progressively colder after October 10th.

November was stormy and cold. So much so that many ski resorts were able to open with record early dates. Heavy snowstorms made it look and feel more like December, rather than November. Even southern New England got in on the act, as a mid month storm brought accumulating snow to much of the state.

Thanksgiving brought its own surprise, with the coldest Thanksgiving on record for much of New England. Wow! Many were thinking, if November was like this, what would December be like?

I was thinking the same thing, and forecasted well above average snow, and cold weather. How did I make out with that idea? Not good. December not only turned warm, but was essentially snow with Logan Airport officially measuring just .1″ of snow for the entire month!

One has to wonder…what could 2019 hold in store for us? That was quite a weather year! Lately, I feels like I have had trouble figuring what the next day will bring, never mind an entire year!

The weather lords are becoming restless. Weather enthusiasts, meteorologists, and folks who love winter are asking just where are the storms and cold weather we were touting so highly back in the early fall?

Even I’m asking myself just what the heck is going on here? At this point, there is no reason to go over all my thoughts yet again to everyone. You know my reasoning, you know where I stand. I’m not wavering on what I predicted back on November 19th.

Yet, I have never in my life, seen so much potential on computer models, just fizzle away into thin air. I would not be straight with you if I didn’t tell you that the current weather patterns are eroding my confidence in my winter forecast.

However, unlike 2014-15 when I abandoned ship, I see to guide this winter into dock, right til the bitter end…win or lose! While I’m rattled that it hasn’t snowed yet, I’m not giving up hope. My forecast signals still tell me to prepare for a period of severe winter weather…still sticking with the period from mid January to mid March.

Does this mean 2014-15 is going to happen again? No, the chances of a repeat with similar results are very low. I would not say zero chance, anything can happen in climate we live in today.

With that being said, the pattern has uncanny similarities to 2014-15. As you know, this was one of the analog years (years with similar patterns) I used to help me forecast this winter. It’s just amazing how similar the pattern is to that year!

Could 2018 have stolen my thunder? Could of it rained and snowed itself out last year, and left us with a much more tranquil new year? Yes, anything is possible.

I believe seasonal forecasts are an educated guess at best. I give a lot of credit to those who go out on a limb to make one, and post it on social media. Obviously, the less you walk out on the limb, the less of a chance of it busting.

Looking ahead to this January. I am seeing signs of a fairly warm first half of the month. However, starting around the 20th, we should begin to see some of the things I have been talking about for this winter kick in. It’s difficult to say for sure, but snowfall should be on the uptick this month, with one or two heavy snowstorms if things work out. It should also turn progressively colder after mid month. I’m a little gun shy after December’s debacle.

Now for your ski and snow mobile forecast. I’m rating this week a 7 out of 10 on the slopes. Expect snow to greet you for the new year! Many ski resorts should pick up between 2 and 8″ tonight. Southern areas should see less, with a change to some rain, while northern areas will see quite a bit of wintry precipitation. Tomorrow will feature windy weather, while Wednesday will be cold! Another storm will approach Friday with similar results, snow north, and mix or rain south.

Now for your weekly winter outdoor activity forecast. I will rate this week a 7 out of 10. For the rest of your New Year’s Eve, expect increasing clouds. It will be on the chilly side, with highs in the 30’s.

A storm system will be approaching New England from the southwest tonight. Because this storm will be tracking to the north and west of Boston, expect milder southeast winds to turn this storm into all rain here in southern New England. It will be a different story up north, and into southern Quebec. Montreal will be ringing in the new year with a winter storm.

Down here, expect just rain. In fact, it may be a soaking rain when we ring in the new year. Would you expect anything different? Actually, it can be extreme this time of year. Last year, it was 4 degrees at midnight!

As the storm continues to pull north tomorrow, very strong winds will whip in from the west on the backside. If you can deal with the wind, it should be very mild at least through early afternoon. Thereafter, it will begin to turn colder.

Wednesday and Thursday should feature dry weather with seasonably cold temperatures, but nothing unusual for this time of the year.

Another storm will be approaching from the southwest on Friday. This one looks to be a little colder, but I’m still expecting this to be mainly a rainstorm for us here in Boston. Perhaps a little wet snow on Saturday? The mix and rain snow line will be closer, with perhaps areas in southern New Hampshire receiving some light accumulations.

Sunday should become partly sunny, with mild temperatures continuing, highs mainly in the 40’s. I do not see any major cold outbreaks or major snowstorms in Boston at least through the middle of January. Things can change quickly this time of the year, s just in case I will be monitoring.


Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will have a more detailed look at January, and whether I see any true winter weather in our future. I will also have a new ski and outdoor winter activity forecast. In the meantime, so long 2018…and all the inclement weather you brought along with it!

~Wishing everyone a safe & Happy New Year!~

Thanks for reading!

Pete

Festive Flakes! 12/24/18

Hello! Merry Christmas Eve, to all! After a throwback to summer on Friday, temperatures have been slowly cooling off during the course of the weekend. Of course, that record high temperature of 65 degrees on Friday, also came with 1 to 2″ of soaking rains across the region…including much of ski country.

Along with that record high temperature, came a surge of high dew points (temperature which tells us how much water vapor is in the air). We all remember how humid this past summer was! Was this a parting shot from summer on the first day of winter? Perhaps!

Thank goodness we didn’t have a snow pack of any sort down here in southern New England. It would of been a shame getting so close close to Christmas, only to have it wiped out by springlike monsoon!

As it turned out, many locations in southern New England has hardly seen any snow accumulations at all this December! I was shocked to learn that Worcester has not had any snow at all so far this month. Very unusual!

This is changing as we speak as patchy areas of light snow are traversing across the state. Still, unless anything changes, most communities are going to end up with less than an inch of snow for the entire month.

As mentioned in last weeks post, this was not what I had envisioned for my December forecast made back at the end of November. In the end, I fell victim to my own winter analogs that I closely follow.

In the back of my head, I knew from past experiences, that these type of El Nino winters start off fast in November, only to back off and actually turn warm in December, then come roaring back later in January through early March. So far, this winter is following that exact pattern! In fact, it’s mimicking 2014-15 to a tee!

Does this mean we can expect snow amounts similar to the 2014-15 winter? If you recall, and I’m sure many in Boston do, this was the winter of the ages, when just over 110″ of snow fell, in a little over 6 weeks…with 94 of those inched falling in just three weeks!

This left the city paralyzed, with monumental snow removal efforts, going 24 hours a day, just to try and keep the city moving and open. This was a very destructive winter as well. Not only with lost revenues from businesses that were forced to close, but also from the massive ice dam damage that occurred.

Can it happen again? Odds favor against it. However, at this point, I would say absolutely anything and everything is on the table. Many have been asking me because of the snow less December, whether I’m planning on downgrading my winter forecast.

No. The winter forecast is standing, for better or for worse. The forecast is based off natural signs, many hours of research, and a understanding of New England weather. There are many factors still pointing to something similar to 2014-15 happening.

Due to the severity of that winter, I tempered back the outcome for this winter. What does this mean? Well, it’s nothing more than law of averages. Computer models are showing a similar winter happening, perhaps even worse than that winter.

Do I believe it? In some regards, I do believe it. Computer models have been wrong before. Just this December, they were calling for some big storms, and colder than normal temperatures, only to turn out the exact opposite.

As it turned out, it’s been a very tranquil month, with virtually no snowfall, and temperatures which have actually averaged a little above normal. Somehow, autumn patterns persisted into December, leaving us with not much of a wintry month at all.

So what makes me to believe that winter is still coming. For one, computer models are still forecasting severe cold. This is important. If they backed off on the cold for January and February, then we would of just chalked it up to bad data,

However, computer models are actually becoming more bullish with the cold coming. Last week I spoke of the consequences should the Polar Vortex split into different lobes of cold. Most if not all computer models are now showing the vortex splitting into four different lobes. Should this occur, a 4 to 6 week stretch of severe winter weather will unleash a fierce blast that will rival any from recorded history.

I believe the cold is coming. The huge wildcard here is if the cold can mix with sub tropical jet stream (moisture & warm), as it did in 2014-15. I believe it will, at least for about a 4 to 6 week stretch. During this stretch, we can expect most of our accumulating snows to occur this winter.

You may ask, Pete, how’s this possible? Yes, I understand the forecast is for between 80 and 90″ of snow in Boston this winter. How is all going to happen in such a short period of time? What this means is to be prepared for another snow blitz, similar to 2010-11 and 2014-15!

Could I be wrong? Yes, anything is possible. I was wrong about the summer forecast. In all fairness, I got two thirds of the summer correct. It was later in the summer when the wheels came off. And it was a very tricky summer forecast to boot!

That’s not excuse! I put a lot of time into researching and studying my winter forecast here in New England. Applying my seventeen factors, I’m very confident that this is going to turn into a winter to remember…especially here in eastern New England, from Portsmouth N.H. region, through Boston, and heading down towards the Cape. Our most severe winters begin after the winter solstice arrives, and in most cases from about mid January until about mid March. It’s only just begun!

Now for your weekly ski and snowboard forecast. I will give this week a 6 out of 10. After last weeks thaw, things have improved over the weekend. Cold weather has made its way back into New England, and ski resorts have resumed snow making. There is a chance of snow showers today, with some light accumulations. Expect dry & cold weather for Christmas, with highs only in the 20’s and low 30’s.

Thereafter, it will remain dry and seasonably cold for Wednesday and Thursday, with highs in the low to mid 30’s. A storm system will be approaching from the southwest later this week. At first glance, it looks to bring rain and milder temperatures.

However, cold air may be stubborn to leave across the north, which may result in a period of snow and ice. It should dry out on Saturday, only for another storm to arrive on Sunday, with either mixed precipitation or snow.

Here’s your local Christmas week forecast. As of this writing, some beautiful festive Christmas Eve snowflakes are currently floating down here in West Roxbury / Boston! With temperatures a little above freezing, this will bring the best of both worlds to the region! Lightly falling snow, with no slippery road conditions. Nevertheless, be aware that any snow falling has the potential to bring some icy spots to roads that are untreated.

Expect occasional periods of light snow and flurries to continue this afternoon, perhaps into this evening. Anything that is still falling after dark, may begin to stick to roads, and create some slippery spots. This is not going to be a big storm, but it doesn’t take much for accidents to happen…so please be cautious out there!

Overnight, expect the festive snow flurries to gradually wind down. It’s not going to be much, but the ground could become whitened in several communities. To qualify for an official White Christmas, there must be at least 1″ of snow on the ground at 7 AM Christmas morning.

It’s unlikely we’re going to achieve this, but just the fact we’re seeing some snow today makes it very festive and Christmas like. Remember, it was only 3 years ago that it was 65 degrees on Christmas Eve!

Christmas Day should feature some early morning clouds. However, as the day progresses, more sunshine will be developing. It will be chilly, with highs in the mid 30’s. Enjoy!

It will remain fair and cold Christmas night, with lows in the teens and 20’s.

Expect fair weather for Wednesday and Thursday, with highs generally in the 30’s and low 40’s.

A storm will be approaching us from the southwest on Friday. This storm is going to track west of Boston. When this occurs, it places our region on the warm sector of the storm.

Expect southeasterly winds, with rainy weather for Friday into early Saturday. If the storm lifts out early enough, we may break into some sunshine and warm temperatures for a time on Saturday, with highs possibly making it up into the mid 50’s!

Another storm may begin to approach on Sunday. This one will be slightly colder, which may involve some ice and snow, especially well north and west of Boston.

Looking ahead to New Year’s Eve. Computer models are all over the place. Some are forecasting it to turn colder, with a chance for snow. While others keep us mild, with rain, or no precipitation at all.

Very conflicted signals heading into the New Year. There could be a major pattern change to cold, but that could also hold off until the second week of January. I will monitor closely and update everyone if conditions warrant.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will be updating everyone on the New Year’s forecast. I will also have my review of December, and my preview of January. I will also have a new ski and snowboard forecast. In the meantime, enjoy the snow without having to shovel today! Your gift from Mother Nature!

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas Eve & Christmas Day!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

Solstice Soaker…Then Xmas Eve Snow? 12/17/18

Hello! I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend! After a couple a couple week dry spell, the weather turned somewhat inclement. It wasn’t all that bad…Saturday was just cloudy but on the mild side.

Sunday was chillier, along with a few sleet showers (sleet forms when raindrops freeze into a pellet of ice before reaching the ground) . A quick moving storm brought some heavy rain and gusty winds last night, but nothing too out of the ordinary for this time of year.

Had it been a few degrees colder, we could of been looking at a 5 to 10″ snowstorm last night. As it was, some folks well north and west of Boston did receive a wintry mix of precipitation. I heard it even snowed in Boston early this morning, but I was still asleep. Even if it did, there was no accumulation to speak of when I woke up.

To say the weather patterns have been strange is understatement. I just got off the phone with a good friend and longtime follower, and he asked me whether I’m still sticking with my predictions for this winter, made back on November 19th. Fair question.

People want to know. When someone makes such a bold prediction, which would result in hardship with business, family logistics, school closings, and many other problems, people want an update on where things stand.

So far…not good. While northern New England benefited from a November snow bonanza, Boston has only accumulated a paltry one tenth of an inch of snow.

This measurement was taken at Logan Airport, and is not indicative of snowfall in other areas. Most of us would received between 3 and 6″ of snow across the city in that early winter storm back on November 15th.

I actually tweeted the NWS office in Norton, Ma. and asked them if they had any plans to reassess the measurement at Logan Airport for that evening. While they were nice to respond back, they quickly dismissed the question, saying it was due to Logan’s proximity to the ocean, and that the measurement was correct for the date in question.

The truth to the matter is that we have a major problem with snowfall measurement in this city. From what I was told, the National Weather Service has rules that take measurements every 6 hours on a white board. After the measurement, the board is cleared, then taken again, and is added to the previous measurement. After the event is over, the measurements are added up, giving a total for the storm.

Believe it or not, measuring snow is more complex than one would think! I won’t bore you with all the details, but does involve being patient, having a good eye, a good location, and last but not least…a good ruler!

My friend Remy and me chat about this all the time. The consistency of the snow can have a huge impact on how much accumulates. Optimal temperature for snow to accumulate is around 30 degrees. If it’s warmer, it can melt. Any colder, and it may be too dry, and not accumulate fast enough.

However, moisture in the air can play a huge role in how thick the snow falls. Back in our epic 2015 snow blitz, temperatures were bitterly cold. The difference was that the sub tropical jet stream phased with the polar jet stream over a 75 mile width, resulting in optimal snow growth, or snowflake production, seemingly right along the I95 corridor, which led to prolific snowfall accumulations.

So what exactly happened at Logan Airport back on the evening of November 15th? It’s hard to say for sure. However, it could be that it did snow heavily, and accumulated early on in the event. If you recall, a warm surge turned the snow to rain, and washed a lot of it away. Because they take measurements every 6 hours, it’s possible only a tenth of an inch of snow was left, after it had melted.

Okay, rant over! Getting back to my thoughts about this winter. I’m not changing my forecast. As the weeks go by without any snow, does the pressure build to admit that it may not go the way I had envisioned it? Yes, I will say that’s a fair statement.

But I’m not even close to there yet. Why? For one, it’s not even officially winter yet! Back on my analog winter of 2014-15, the winter did not kick in until January 24th!

We could take it a step further and look back at the wacky winter of 1968-69. In that year, winter did not begin until February 22nd. But when it finally did, it was something that many to this day have not forgotten! February 22nd was the start of the 100 hour snowstorm in Boston, where it snowed for 100 hours straight!

When it finally ended, between 30 and 50″ of heavy wet snow paralyzed the city. Up to 100″ of snow fell in parts of New Hampshire and Maine during that historic storm! Winter continued its barrage well into March that year to add insult to injury!

The point is, in weak El Nino’s such as the one where in now, winter tends to get going after the winter solstice arrives, and more likely sometime January through February.

So far, the pattern is very similar to past winters with similar global factors. Some similarities have been a cold November, followed by a fairly mild and snow less December, only to  get hammered in January and February.

Have I been disappointed with the lack of snow this December? Yes, very much so. As I mentioned during last weeks post, computer models back in November were showing a very active December, with cold weather, and plenty of snow.

Through seventeen days of the month so far, it’s been a little cold, but barely no snow or any to speak of. Computer models are showing a similar outlook as they did for December, for January and February. Could they be wrong, and there will be no winter this year after all? Anything is possible.

But from my research, and studying and understanding previous winters with similar patterns, I’m confident that it’s coming. In an uncanny resemblance to 2014-15, winter 2018-2019 will wait until perhaps mid January before it arrives.

When it does arrive, we can expect severe winter weather conditions to impact eastern New England from approximately mid January to mid March. While it’s difficult to envision similar results to 2014-15, a snow blitz similar to that one can not be ruled out. As a reminder, I’m forecasting between 80 and 90″ of snow in Boston this winter.

Before that, we have to deal with yet another soaking rainstorm. This one is slated to arrive this Friday, the first day of winter. Could this be a bad omen for my winter forecast?

Yikes! How bad could this get? A warm rainstorm on the first day of winter? Well, I look at it as a good sign. I like to see the moisture, even if it is rain on the first day of winter. Eventually, these same storms may be snow later in the winter.

Thereafter, things will begin to cool off a bit this weekend…which leads us to Christmas Eve! Looking at some of the computer models, it looks like Christmas Eve will be just a chilly and dry day.

However, one of the more reliable models is actually showing a Alberta Clipper type of storm tracking from the Great Lakes region passing just south of New England.

If this does indeed happen, it could mean a a perfectly timed light snowfall to greet many who celebrate Christmas Eve at your local place of worship, or spending time with family. Right now, it would be the best situation possible, with just enough snow to whiten the landscape, but not enough to disrupt travel. I hope this happens!

Now for your ski and snow boarding forecast. I will rate this week a 5 out of 10. Unfortunately, a warm rainstorm is going to decimate ski resorts at the worst possible time. If you have plans to go skiing, plan on going before Friday.

A warm rainstorm will move in on Friday, with strong winds. Mild weather will continue through Saturday, then cool off on Sunday. Right now, Christmas looks to be on the cold and dry side.

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

Expect clearing and colder weather for tonight, with lows dropping into the teens and 20’s. Watch for mainly sunny skies but there will be a bite to the air tomorrow. High temperatures will struggle through the 20’s and low 30’s.

Fair and cold weather will continue tomorrow night, with lows in the teens and 20’s.

After a cold start, milder weather will begin to move back into the region during ht day, with highs warming up close to 40 degrees.  Thursday will feature similar weather, with temperatures warming up into the upper 40’s.

A strong storm will rack west of New England on Friday. When this occurs, it places New England in the warm sector of the storm. Therefore, you can expect periods of rain with windy conditions, and temperatures spiking close to 60!

Expect brisk conditions on Saturday, with mild temperatures continuing. It may turn a bit chillier later in the day and into the evening.

Sunday should feature bright skies, but it will be a bit colder with highs mainly in the upper 30’s.

As mentioned above, a small storm could track just south of New England. If things go our way, expect increasing clouds with light snow spreading in from west to east during the day.  

Snow may linger into the evening then end later at night, after what looks to be accumulations of 1 to 3″, perhaps a bit more south of Boston?

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will have your official Christmas Day & Christmas week forecast, as well as your New Year’s Eve outlook! In the meantime, if you’re dreaming of a White Christmas, I’m here to tell you that the dream will never die!

Thanks for reading!

Pete


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