Is It Over Yet?? 4/9/18

Hello! I hope everyone had a great, weekend! Overall, it was a cold weekend. More like late February, or early March. After another snowfall on Friday, Saturday morning featured cloudy weather, but with increasing sun, the afternoon became quite pleasant if you were in the sun. Sunday was just cloudy and cold. Yes, there were some sunny breaks, but the dark clouds kept an unseasonable chill to the air, with many towns barely reaching the low 40’s.

While celebrating Easter Sunday with family yesterday, many asked when this unseasonably cold weather is going away! They were not amused when I retorted back that we should be grateful that a major nor’easter was in fact missing us today (Sunday). It’s true, as crummy as the weather has been of late, it could of been a lot worse! Had a storm tracked just 150 miles closer to the coast yesterday, we most certainly would of been hit by a late season storm…and with it being so cold out, it would of undoubtedly been in the form of heavy wet snow.

Last week, friends on Facebook posted on my timeline, asking about the potential of yet another threat of a nor’easter coming for Tuesday (tomorrow). At the time, the atmosphere looked prime to deliver again! Interestingly enough, storms that couldn’t miss during March, are now somehow averting New England here in April! Oh, it’s still going to remain unseasonably cold tomorrow, and though the worst of the storm is going to miss most of New England, a little disturbance moving through the region, may spark off yet another period of rain and snow showers for many. I don’t think it’s going to be as widespread or as heavy as Friday, where many areas received between 1 and 2 inches, but don’t be surprised if you see some wet snowflakes flying yet again!

Okay…this is getting silly! While the snow is gone down here in southern New England, many in northern New England, and especially in the mountains are still socked in with mid winter conditions. A weather spotter from southern Vermont, near Mt. Snow measuerd an additional 7.2″ of snow on Friday, with some areas closing in on 200″ of snow for this season. Many ski resorts have pushed back their closing dates until sometime in May. And for good reason. Fast moving storms continue to track towards New England, many passing just south of us. With this track, it allows cold air to hold its ground. When moisture bumps into it, it’s been plenty cold for snow to fall in many areas.

That’s all well and good for patterns in February, but it’s April, and many are getting tired of this song and dance! People are asking why is this happening, and more importantly, when is it going to end? The answers are compicated.

Major shifts in global patterns has allowed cold air to remain persistant this spring. The way I see it, there are three factors going on here. First, the La Nina (cold water in the Pacific Ocean), is now weakening. So whatever benefit we were receiving from La Nina, is diminishing. La Nina’s tend to help maintain a southeast ridge (warm & dry) across the southeast, and sometimes along the entire east coast.

Second, the sudden stratospheric warming (SSW). This has been a huge player here late this season. I speak sometimes about the Polar Vortex. This is a vortex of very cold air located over Siberia, and the North Pole during the Northern Hemisphere winter. As the daylight decreases, the vortex expands, and helps to produce our episodes of bitter cold temperatures during the winter months. During February, a rather unprecedented event took place. A massive sudden stratospheric warming event occurred.

We are now entering very complex atmospheric sciences territory as to why this occurs. If you are ever interested in the why and how this occurs, you should follow Dr. Judah Cohen on Twitter. Here, he publishes a weekly winter blog about the Polar Vortex and SSW, every week. He also has published many papers and research studies on this subject for the general public to see. No doubt, he is the atmospheric science guru in the field!

For this winter, we had a easterly QBO teleconnection. This is when winds in the upper atmosphere oscillate every 14 months or so from westerly to easterly in the tropic regions. When they are easterly, we tend to have more frequent sudden stratospheric warmimg events. This is when warm air floods the upper stratosphere, typically over the North Pole. It then works down into the troposphere, and acts to perturb the Polar Vortex.

In this years case, a very strong stratospheric warming event took place, and actually split the Polar Vortex into many vortices. When Dr. Cohen saw this occur in February, he stated that severe winter weather may continue in lower latitude regions deep into the spring. He explained that because the vortex had split, and with continued high latitude blocking over Greenland and arctic regions, the jet stream is going to be more surpressed, deeper into the spring, than what normally would be expected. Therefore, storms may track further south than normal. And with plenty of cold air still anchored up in northern regions, many of these storms are bringing snow on the north side.

The third factor for the never ending winter, is that we are now entering Dalton Minimum cycle. What does this mean? This sounds scary! It’s not that scary, it’s actually normal cycles of the sun. What could be scary is if Dalton Minimum teams up with increased volcanic activity. Scientists are keeping a very close eye on this situation. Dalton Minimum is when the cycle of the sun is at its lowest for sun spot activity. Dalton Minimum has been linked to a cooler sun, and less radiation reaching the earth. This could be a contributing factor as to why the unusually cold air refuses to vacate Canada, and northern areas of the U.S. this spring.

Should we see a major volcanic explosion somewhere in the Pacific, prevailing winds could carry the ash & aeorosols across the U.S. and result in a volcanic summer, or worse, a volcanic winter. The aeorosols would reduce the amount of radiation reaching earth, and result in significantly cooler weather patterns. It could mean a cold summer, with unusually frosts and even snowfalls during the middle of the summer! If you think that this could never happen, think again! We experienced a ‘year without a summer’ back in 1816 here in New England, for reasons explained above.

How and is this going to end? These are very good questions. I do see a brief burst of spring weather punching through the cold later this week. How much rain, and how much sun we see will determine just how warm it’s going to get. Right now, it looks like Friday and possibly into Saturday could feature the warm spring weather we’ve been waiting for! With that being said, getting warm air up here into coastal New England during the spring can be more of an adventure than not many years.

We shall see. But with a strong storm system passing west of New England, this should have enough power to push a warm front through at least here in southern New England. If this happens, we should be able to warm into the 60’s, perhaps even 70 in a few locations? One caveat, there will be heavy, cold air lurking to our north. In many cases this time of the year, the warm air surges across the interior, and the cold air from the ocean slides underneath, especially along the coast, thwarting the warm up from happening along the coast. This is called a back door cold front, and is common in springtime phenominon here in New England.

Thereafter, it appears as if the colder than normal weather is going to surge back into New England. Remember, colder than normal weather this time of year is not the same as if it were January. Our departures are warming rapidly, and colder than average relatively “mild” this time of year, just maybe not the 60’s and 70’s you’re hoping for.

As to when this ends, I’m just not sure at this point. There is going to be a point when the cold can not sustain itself no longer, and will probably just decay, and go away. At that point, we may just go from winter, straight into summer, and bypass spring all together. Computer models are lingering the cold weather at least into the start of May. I suspect when ocean tempeartures warm up enough, and the sun increases in strength as we head deeper into May, warmer weather will eventually become more sustainable.

Please tell me we will not see any more snow this season!! I still can not gaurantee that! You may see more snow in the air as early as tomorrow! At least here in Boston, it becomes increasingly rare to see any significant accumulations after April 10th. I’m not saying it can’t happen, but it would be the exception, not the rule.

Because of the unusual patterns this spring, I can’t rule out more snow in the air here in the city, even after Patriots Day! Deeper in the interior, and especially elevated areas, threats for accumulating snow are still showing up on computer models up to Memorial Day!

Now for your weekly outdoor spring activity forecast. I will rate this week a 6 out of 10. Expect sunny weather but chilly for the rest of your Monday. Highs will only be in the mid 40’s, which is about 10 degrees colder than normal.

Watch for increasing clouds tonight. It’s going to still feel wintery, with lows in the 20’s and 30’s, regionwide.

As mentioned above, a storm will be missing us to our southeast tomrorrow. This is good, because if this storm were to hit as they showed last week, it would of become real ugly around here if you don’t like snow. As it is, an extension of the storm will swing a disturbance across the region tomorrow. Watch for a mixture of rain and snow showers moving through the region, with mainly snow across the interior, and rain near the coast. However, don’t be surprised if you still see some snowflakes even near the coast, as it’s still plenty cold aloft to sustain snow tomorrow. Highs will mainly be in the low 40’s, with a raw breeze.

Any precipitation will end by early tomorrow evening. It will remain on the cold side, with lows mainly in the 20’s and 30’s. Warmest across urban areas.

Though not terribly warm, you will notice it a bit milder weather on Wednesday, with highs in the low 50’s, under mainly dry conditions.

As a storm tracks west of New England on Thursday, it will drag its associated warm front through at least southern New England. As the front approaches, there may be some scattered showers and areas of damp weather. If the front can puch north of us, a southerly flow will take over, allowing temperatures to warm up into the low to mid 60’s. If it doesn’t move north, we will be stuck in the cool, damp weather. Let’s hope for the best!

This same pattern holds true for Friday and early Saturday. If the warm front can remain north of Boston, and we see enough sunshine, we could be looking at near 70 degrees on Friday! However, if it sags back south as a backdoor cold front, 40’s and 50’s would be more likely. This is just too shaky to make this call at this point. I’m hoping for many the front remains north of Boston, and we enjoy a real spring day for a change! We deserve it!

Confidence for this weekend is looking fairly low at this point. A stong southerly flow should keep us fairly mild on Saturday. However, a strong cold front may be approaching from the west later in the afternoon and at night. Therefore, Saturday may be at least partially dry for much of the day, only to turn cool and wet Saturday night and Sunday. Timing issues may mean slightly different outcomes in this forecast. Right now, the weather on Marathon Day looks to be rather cool and could be rainy, but this is subject to change this far out!

Well, that’s about it for now! Once again, I delayed the spring timetable and pre-season summer outlook! If the weather cooperates, I will have this information for you in next week’s blog, along with any new information on when this cold weather will over! I also would like to write a winter summary if time permits! In the meantime, no need to worry about the cold spring. It will be over when Mother Nature says it is!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

His Expression Says It All…4/2/18

Hello, all! I hope everyone enjoyed their Easter celebrations! In being Greek Orthodox, my Easter falls on a different date. This year is not too bad, with it being this Sunday! My hope is someday we can all come to some kind of an agreement, and celebrate Easter Sunday together!. It does occur, every seven years the day is the same. In any event, I hope everyone had a Happy Easter!

Overall, the weather wasn’t too bad! Saturday started off with a chill, but lots of sunshine made it feel nice pleasant during the afternoon. Sunday was a bit breezy, but a hazy sun allowed temperatures to warm to near 60 during the afternoon. Then we had this morning…you know, as the saying goes, it could of been a lot worse! Off to our southwest, in places like Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, they received between 5 to 8″ of heavy wet snow! Looks like about an inch and a half fell here in West Roxbury, some of which is already beginning to melt.

Doesn’t really matter how much snow fell, folks are tired of it, and want it to stop already! I know this was not the news many are looking for. I’m sure many were expecting me to say, “I have some good news, this was the last snow event, and we can now move fully onto spring!” After reviewing the long range computer guidance this morning, I’m not ready to sound the all clear bell just yet.

Does this mean spring is cancelled, and the snow and cold is going to just keep coming? The short answer to this question is no. Spring is coming, I can assure everyone of that. I always say, no matter what pattern we’re in, you can’t stop Mother Nature, and the march of seasons! Can some seasons be delayed, oh most definitely. In this case, I would say spring is going to be delayed, but never denied.

But what does this mean? Should we be expecting snow flurries on Memorial Day? Is it going to be too cold to go to the beach until July 4th? While I would never say never on both of these accounts, I doubt that will be the case this year.

Many maps I have been looking at are showing below normal temperatures and above normal precipitation. This time of year, below normal temperatures and above normal precipitation does not equate to heavy snowfalls in Boston. Although if timed right, it most definitely can still snow…case and point this morning. However, as I have mentioned before, the window is closing quickly for snow in Boston.

While computer models may still show that it can snow, other factors come into play that makes it more difficult for snowfall in Boston as we get deeper into April. For one, the sun is getting stronger everyday, which makes it warmer. Also, the ocean temperatures are beginning to warm up, so whatever falls, typically is just rain along the coast. So while long range models show below average temperatures, the averages are also rapidly rising this time of year. So below average in April may be 40’s and 50’s, rather than 20’s and 30’s that occur during winter months.

This is not the same deal across the interior of New England. In places like Worcester, the Berkshires and all of northern New England, especially in elevated areas, snow can still fall and accumulate deep into April, even into May some years.

This is all well and good, but friends and family still want to know when the snowflakes are going to stop flying, and when they can expect some genuine spring weather! Many also would like an explanation as to why this winter continues to linger! These are all fair questions, and I will do my best to answer them accordingly!

As mentioned above, the snow is winding down here in Boston. Typically, the atmosphere can support a major snow here in the city up until about April 10th. This does not mean it can not snow after that! It has, and will again in the future! Back in 1987, a nor’easter dumped between 6 and 18″ of snow across the Boston area…on April 28th! Then there was the infamous Mother’s Day storm back on May 10th, 1977! You get the idea, while it can snow after April 10th, it’s more the exception than the rule. Up until the 10th, it’s still fair game for a good spring snow to occur!

Every year is different. Last April, we enjoyed one of the warmest Easter’s on record, when temperatures soared into the mid to upper 80’s! This year, the patterns are much more volatile, at least here at the start of April. Therefore, I can not rule out another bout or two of snow. Computer models were showing one more nor’easter barreling up the coast for this weekend, but have since backed off that idea. But the way this winter has been going, I will monitor that situation just in case!

So why all the late season snow & cold? There are several reasons for this, not any standing out to be one clear answer over another. First, we have been living through a seasonal shift over the past 5 or 6 years or so. This means ocean temperatures have been much warmer than normal, and take longer to cool off during the fall and winter. When they do cool off, it’s often late in the winter.

Therefore, summers have been extending deeper into our falls, and winter has been extending deeper into our springs. I used to say we enjoy four distinct seasons here in New England, divided equally up into four quarters. Now, I’m not sure about that! It seems as if winter has been starting in January, and running through April. Spring starts in May and continues into June. Summer begins in July and extends deep into October, with fall being November & into December. Does it seem like this to you? So a four month winter, a four month summer, and two months for spring and fall. All of which is displaced and delayed.

In this particualr winter, high latitude warming over the North Pole has dislodged all the cold air built up in this region during the winter, down into the mid latitudes, resulting in late season nor’easters, cold snaps, and inclement weather in general. This, in conjunction with a minimum low solar cycle, could be the reason for the cold air to be stubborn to leave this spring.

Is this going to change soon? Eventually it will. The seasonal march will continue, and the sun angle will continue to strengthen, which will eventually warm up these pockets of cold air. However, before that happens, there are one or two more obstacles we still must dodge. Computer models are depicting a unusually cold air mass building in central Canada this week. It says it wants to try and press south into New England this upcoming weekend. But as mentioned above, daily averages continue to increase, which should mute the effects of a full blown cold snap we have in January. Nonetheless, daily highs may struggle to get into the 40’s, with overnight low temperatures falling well below freezing.

In addition, some computer models were showing a storm developing off the Carolina coast. Overnight models show much of this storm missing us, and heading out to sea this weekend. However, I believe there’s an equal chance that this storm may try to trend back north , and closer to the coast. If this were to be the case, we would be looking at possibly an unusual late season nor’easter later weekend, or at the start of next week. With the cold air in place from Canada, we would have to introduce the possibility of more heavy wet snow for much of the region…especially across the interior. Yuck!!

If we miss this storm, there could be another one later next week, then possibly one more around the Patriots Day holiday weekend, too. I know, ridiculous! I still see the potential for one or two more winter like storms. That does not mean we’re going to see accumulating snow here in Boston and along the coast again, it just means to be prepared for rapidly changing weather conditions over the next two weeks, with the possibility of seeing more wintery weather, including more wet snow in some locations…especially across inland areas such as Worcester, and much of northern New England.

If this pattern were to hold, we could be looking at another spring month featuring colder than normal temperatures, with above average precipitation, and above average snowfall. Looking back, the forecast for March looked pretty good. Long range analogs matched up quite well for a colder than normal month, with above average snow. So far, April is looking similar. After April 20th, the winter pattern may begin to lift out. To be honest, I’m more confident of warmer weather arriving in May, than in April. This does not mean there won’t be any warm days this April. It will be warm on Wednesday, for instance. However, when push comes to shove, we’re still in a pattern of an island of warmth, in a sea of cold!

Now for your weekly outdoor spring activity forecast. I will rate this week a 4 out of 10. Snow will dwindle across the region this afternoon, with some sunny breaks developing. By later this afternoon, you would not even know it snowed this morning! High temperatures will make it into the low 40’s.

Expect increasing clouds overnight, with lows mainly in the 20’s and 30’s.

Tuesday will be cloudy. Later in the day, rain will move into the region, crossing the state from west to east. It will be on the chilly side, with highs mainly in the 40’s. Watch for some downpours on your way home from work tomorrow evening. A warm front will be trying to push north through the region tomorrow night. This means it will remain murky, with damp and cool conditions overnight.

Current projections show this warm front pushing north of our latitude on Wednesday. If this is true, we could briefly bust into the warm air on Wednesday, with highs soaring into the 60’s! A strong cold front will then be crashing through New England during the afternoon. As this happens, be prepared for a summery like afternoon, with building dark clouds developing towards evening, along with a band of showers and possibly even a thunderstorm!

As this cold front seeps off the coast, watch the cold air to come blasting back into the region. If you’re going to the opening game of the Red Sox on Thursday, bring a warm jacket, and even a hat and gloves if you’re not sitting in the sun! Temperatures will warm into the low 40’s during the afternoon, but I’m telling you, the wind will have a bite to the air!

A reinforcing cold front may actually bring a period of snow showers through the area Thursday night and into Friday. Saturday should feature plenty of sun, but still more March like than April, with highs only in the mid 40’s or so. Overnight lows will mainly be in the 20’s. Not ideal gardening weather for sure.

Things are still not clear as to what’s going to happen on Sunday. Looking at the latest computer guidance, I would not cancel any outdoor plans just yet. Let’s just say there’s a chance of a storm on Sunday. But this could also easily be delayed until Monday. With the cold air in place, there’s a good chance that some wintery precipitation will be involved either way.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I would love to get to our spring timetable. There’s been so much wintery weather as of late, that It’s been difficult to transition into spring. I will do my best to get to this next week. I will also update everyone if I see any spring like weather in our future. In the meantime, try to envision the future. A future of warm sunny days without talk of winter! It will arrive. Mother Nature is just testing us to see how much we’ll appreciate it when it does!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

Enough is Enough! 3/26/18

Hello! I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend! Saturday featured milder weather, amidst a changeable sky. Sunday reverted back to winter, with gusty northeast winds, and much colder temperatures. Many woke up to a slushy accumulation of wet snow on grassy surfaces and car tops. Yes, Sunday was one of those classic New England March days! As Mark Twain once put it, “if you don’t like New England weather, just wait a minute, and it will change!”

A combination of a cold pocket of atmospheric spin in the upper levels of the atmosphere, along with a stiff northeast wind from a ocean storm, brought a changeable day of weather. Building cumulus clouds raced in from the ocean, bringing with them periods of snow showers and snow squalls along coastal communities. Because of the cold air aloft, the sun actually was the driving culprit to the convective type of precipitation. As the sun heats the ground, the air rises, cools and condenses in the cold air aloft, then falls as precipitation. It was cold enough yesterday that these showers fell in the form of snow. Not too much accumulation was reported, but in some of the heavier squalls, the ground did whiten in some communities.

Atmospheric spin, arctic blasts, ocean effect snow, nor’easters, wintery mixes, coastal flooding, blizzards…Oh. My. God! I think most folks have had enough winter chit chat for this season! There are so many ways for it to snow here in New England! Yesterday was just another example that even without a big storm around, it still found a way to snow! Believe me when I tell you, it was only by the grace of God, that the majority of the big storm missed Boston.

Many friends and family members were wondering what happened? At first, I too was also wondering just what the heck happened? It was like getting stood up on a blind date. It was like being at your own wedding, and your future spouse getting cold feet at the last second, and not showing up. Okay, it wasn’t that bad, but many wanted still wanted to know what happened. Which I find curious. There was a lot of folks out there somewhat upset that something they said they didn’t want in the first place, actually never came!

There were two camps of people. Many said, we already had three intense nor’easters, let’s go for a fourth! It took a little convincing, but some point, many folks just threw up their hands and were like, “bring it on!” Many may complain here in New England, but those who grew up here, are hearty New Englanders at heart, and shrug off another foot of snow like it was going to DD’s to get an iced coffee. When the storm missed they were generally feeling grateful!

But not all. There’s another camp out there, that wanted somebody to be accountable for the missed storm. They were angry at the meteorologists, and called for many to be fired! In the age of social media these days, it’s a blood bath out there! Because I know first hand just how hard these men and women work on the forecast, I don’t believe for one second that this is justified.

These people were crushed when they saw the storm change course at the last second. And I’m not talking only about the pros. There are hundreds of amateur meteorolgists out there that spend countless of hours tracking and making forecasts for these storms. Many of these people too, were being attacked for busted forecasts. And they don’t even get paid for it! They do it for the same reason we all do. For the love and passion to study and further understand the great science of weather!

I have mentioned this time and time again, we are not in control here! The weather is a fluid, dynamic system, that is constantly changing! So some may ask, why have meteologists at all? This question should go without answering. Many want perfection these days. I can tell you it’s not a perfect science. Harldly anything is. Meteorology has come a long way over the last 30 years. The technology advancements has made forecasting much better in recent years. I don’t know the exact percentage, but I would place it at about 85% on target! Not to mention all the countless lives meteorologists have saved due to advanced severe storm warnings for hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and blizzards!

Now for the bad news. I actually believe there’s way too much information at everyone’s disposal these days! Back in the day, there were only 3 or 4 computer models to look at. This meant a meteorologist was forced to look at other important data to determine whether a storm is coming or not. These days, there are literally hundreds of short range models, coming out every hour, landing in everyone’s laptops and phones. Within seconds of this data arriving, everyone has an opinion about it. Drawing fancy graphs, pictures, and casting doubt in a meteorologists original forecast. The best ones cut through all the noise, carefully looking at the big picture, and makes a educated call as to what he thinks is going to happen. This process deliniates the best from the rest!

Personally, I felt like many other weather fanatics did after the storm veered off…quite dejected! The good news for me, is that I have a great following and support from my family and friends. Many understand the complexities of the weather, and that things can change. There were a few snarky comments, but that was to be expected. If I make public statements, I’m largely dealing with the public, and scrutiny from some folks is part of the deal. I understood there could be some backlash after the build up to the storm.

It’s a fine balance between hyping a storm up, and delivering the information that’s warranted. I always try my very best to deliver information as I see it, without panicking everyone. Unfortunately, I fell victim along with many, who took some computer models verbatum, and failed to see meteorology behind it, that was waiving red flags, that the storm was not coming.

So what happened? I will be as brief as possible with this explanation. A well respected amateur meteorologist on Twitter wrote a 110 page paper on what happened…just to give you an example of the complexities! By the way, he and along with my good friend and weather associate, Remy, were two of only a handful that correctly handled the storm…amazing! Remy is finishing up his first year at Cornell University, studying Atmospheric Science and Architecture, and is destined for great things! He also sent me a very supportive message to me, regarding my weather forecasting skills!

It’s not like the storm never happened. Many in the mid Atlantic region, along with locations as far north as Long Island, did receive between 8 and 24″ of wet snow! Had the storm pushed into New England full force, we would of easily seen similar amounts! Many were glad this was not the case! As I mentioned ablove, the weather changes quicker than humans and computer models can keep up with at times. So, even though computer models were showing 8 to 12″ of snow for Boston, Mother Nature was already changing the plan.

Throughout the whole storm, I was always very concerned about the storm being surpressed to our south by cold high pressure to our north. The cold high is like a blocker, and sometimes helps surpress storms from moving north into New England. In the end, computer models could not calculate just how dry the air was over New England. As the precipitation was pushing up into southern New England, the cold, dry air was eating away at the moisture. The problem was computer models kept insisting real accumulating snow was going to make it into the city, leading many to believe that the storm was still coming. This led veteran Channel 4 meteorologist Eric Fisher to keep making more ‘chops’ as he put it, to his accumulation map. It was a very frustrating night!

This, in conjunction with a 75 mile slight shift to the storm track to the southeast, helped surpress the precipitation further. In the end, surpression was the way to go, as Remy alluded to in previous discussions. This led to a paltry storm trying to get going at the last minute on Thursday morning. A last second attempt actually did bring up to 2 to 4″ of wet snow across much of eastern Massachusetts. Kind of like a consolation prize!

Regardless of whether we got the storm or not, many want winter to be over! They’ve had enough! But is it really over? I’m afraid to say that despite it being almost April, I still do not see any sustained springlike weather in the cards here in New England until at least mid April. Will we see any spring weather? Yes, and in fact temperatures are going to warm up a bit this week. Unfortunately, I’m already seeing problems heading into the first 10 days of April.

An increasingly volatile temperature gradient, with increasingly warm air building across the south, and unusual cold air pressing in from the north, is going to result in intense spring storms traversing the country. Could one of these storms turn into another nor’easter for New England. Yes, the potential is there. There is also potential for many to see more snow before winter leaves for good. I would say many in northern half of New England it’s a lock to see quite a bit more snow. Here in southern New England it’s always a wildcard in April. Boston averages only about an inch in April. However, I only need to remind everyone of the April Fools’ Blizzard back in 1997, when many saw over 2 ft of heavy wet snow! There have been countless other winter storms over the years in April, even in Boston…so the threat exists!

Now for your weekly outdoor spring activity forecast. I will rate this week a 5 out of 10. Expect sunny and cool weather for the rest of today. A gusty northeast wind will keep temperatures in the upper 30’s, the gusty wind will make it feel colder than that!

Expect clear and cold weather tonight, with lows between 25 and 32 across the region. Warmest in urban and coastal locations.

Tuesday will feature more sunshine, and a touch milder. Temperatures will range from the upper 40’s across inland areas, and low 40’s along the coast. This is typical in springtime, where the coast is cooler than inland areas, due to the cold ocean temperatures.

Watch for some increasing clouds Tuesday night. A few showers could move into the region from a approaching warm front. In the deep interior, it actually may be cold enough for some areas of freezing rain. So be aware of that if you live in the interior of central Massachusetts, and all of northern New England away from the coast.

For the period of Wednesday through Saturday, expect periods of inclement weather. A series of warm fronts and cold fronts traversing the area, will combine to bring periods of showers and damp weather. Despite that, temperatures may still approach 60 on Friday, especially if we manage some sunny breaks!

A stronger storm will be approaching from the southwest Friday night and Saturday. As this system passes through New England, it will bring showers and possibly some periods of heavy rains. As the storm departs, colder air may sweep in on the backside of the storm changing some of the rain to wet snow in the mountains of northern and western New England. Thereafter, cooler air will wrap in behind the storm, setting up for a blustery and cool day for folks celebrating Easter Sunday. It should be dry with some sunshine, with highs near 50.

It may turn colder all over again next week. One of those storms tracking across the country will be approaching New England, and will need to be monitored. If this storm tracks south of New England, there would be a threat of wintery precipitaiton. especially across the interior. Just wanted to give everyone my early thoughts.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will be reviewing March, and have a my preview for April. I will also be chatting about our spring timetable, and also take a longer look for the remainder of spring into May. Wow, spring has to be one our shortest seasons! In the meantime, many are saying enough is enough! The question is, does Mother Nature agree? If she does, winter will be over. If not…there could be another surprise!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

~Happy Easter for many who celebrate April on 1st!~

Nor’easter # Four! 3/19/18

Hello! I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend. It was a cold St. Patrick’s Day, with temperatures hovering in the mid 30’s. Sunday was even colder, with high temperatures barely making it to freezing. If you did not have a spot in the sun on the parade route yesterday, I’m sure you’re still thawing out! Interesting to note, other than exposed sunny areas, the snow from last weeks blizzard has been persistant. Yes, there has been some melting, but if it was anywhere near a normal March, this snow would of been nearly gone by now.

For the second year in a row, the intense storm last Tuesday was classified as an official blizzard in Boston. It was also a blizzard in Plymouth and Hyannis, Ma. down on the Cape. To make it official, winds have to be sustained at or greater than 35 mph, with visibility at or less than 1/4 mile in blowing or falling snow, for three consecutive hours.

The title of last weeks blog may of said ‘coastal blizzard’ but it was inland areas who received the heaviest accumulations! This is why a blizzard has nothing to do with how much snow falls. It has more to do with wind, and visibility. All data before last weeks storm pointed towards the heaviest snow falling south of Boston, along the south shore and even the Cape. While these areas received heavy snow accumulations, it was just north and west of Boston where the real intense bands set up. Really, it was a double whammy of a storm. While the heaviest accumulations fell inland, the coast and Cape Cod was once again rocked with ferocious winds, coastal flooding, and downed trees and power lines. Some folks are still not recovered from this storm.

So how much snow fell? If you live in Boston’s northern and western suburbs, many towns checked in with an average of 2 ft of snow! And I’m not talking the Berkshires, either. Cities as close as Newton measured up to 2 ft of snow. This is beacause a very intense band of snow stalled in metrowest, dumping snowfall rates of up to 3 to 4″ per hour, for close to 4 straight hours! Meanwhile in Boston, heavy snow remained steady throughout the storm, with on average of one inch per hour falling through the duration. As that heavy band began to pivot through the city, snowfall rates dramatically increased, with up to 6″ of new snow falling in Boston, between 4 and 6 pm! Logan airport measured 14.8″, while many of the surrounding neighborhoods easily received up 16 to 17″ of snow. The south shore and Cape was battered with near hurricane force wind gusts, with plastering wet snow, power outages, and downed trees. What a mess! Overall, last weeks storm rivaled the first one in intensity, back on March 2nd. But this storm was much colder, therefore had a greater impact with a lot of snow across the region.

Many friends and family members have been asking me just what the heck is going on? Spring begins tomorrow, and now there’s talk of yet another nor’easter! This would make it the 4th nor’easter to hit the region since the beginning of March! Wow! Has this winter turned into a whopper! Not only has there been seemingly countless of other winter weather events throughout December, January, but now the big guns have come out with a couple 2 ft storms in many areas here in March! Even with the second warmest February on record, we still managed to a couple decent snowstorms!

This is not all by coincidence. When I made my winter forecast back in November, I could see the potential was there for a big winter. I forecasted between 60 and 70″ of total snowfall for Boston, and mentioned that this estimate could be conservative. Though it appeared that the snowfall forecast may have been in jeopardy at the end of February, things have sure turned around in a hurry here in March! It now appears as if this number is going to be met, and then some! As a reminder, Boston’s average snowfall is 44″. This will make the last 5 out of 6 years snowier than normal in Boston. And the year that fell below, it wasn’t by too much. It’s been quite a snowy stretch!

Across the interior, many locations are approaching top ten snowiest winters on record. Worcester, Ma. may crack 100″ of snow after this weeks storm. Same goes for places like Concord N.H. and many other locations up north. I don’t mention Vermont in my blog too much. I don’t know why, I absolutely love Vermont! Much of Vermont has been receiving record amounts of snow this winter! Believe it or not, while the first intense nor’easter was mainly rain here in Boston, a town in southern Vermont received 45″ of snow! Granted this town is 2500 ft in elevation, which made a huge difference in that storm. And the storms have not stopped! After last weeks nor’easter moved beyond aour latitude, the storm actually stalled in the Gulf of Maine, spinning bands of snow throughout many of the ski resorts. Some locations seeing it snow continuously for up to 72 hours! If there was ever a winter for great spring skiing, this looks like it may be the best on record!

But what about this never ending winter?? Is it ever going to end?? The short question to that is, yes! Of course it’s going to end. But when??? I can hear the spring birds cheerfully singing their hearts out, trying to lift everyones spirits. But at the same time, I can also hear the howling winds from the north, whistling through the weather bunker. I can also see large mounds of snow, remaining from last weeks blizzard.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it. First, let me give you the bad news. I see no immediate end in sight to this cold and stormy weather pattern. in fact, from the way things look right now, we may actually run the table all the way through April. This Greenland Blocking pattern, that began to settle in towards the end of February, is in no hurry to leave. What this essentially means is high pressure over (warm & dry) over Greenland, and low pressure (cold & stormy) over the U.S. especially over New England. Long range outlooks actually show this pattern intensifying the first 10 days of April. We could once again be dealing with another strong nor’easter at that point. Does this mean more snow? Yes, the Boston area is more than capable of sustaining snow in the atmosphere right up until mid April. Thereafter snow can still occur, but becomes much more of a rare occurrence. Although I do recall a major snowstorm occurring on April 28th, back in 1987! We even had a freak Mother’s Day snowstorm back on May 10th, 1977!

While it warms up along the coastal plain. It’s a much different story across the interior of New England, and especially the high terrain. Here, heavy wet snowfalls can occur throughout the month of April. In fact, just last May, Mt. Washington in New Hampshire had a severe blizzard on Mother’s Day, when 33″ of snow fell! Wow!

So what about the good news? Well…spring does officially arrive tomorrow! The sun angle is getting higher in the sky, and the days will continue to get longer. These three things will help mitigate any additional snowfalls we may see moving forward. Meaning, if it does snow, expect it to melt quite quickly. This is especially true as we move into April. In addition, all this precipitation we’ve been receiving is doing wonders for our reservoirs and water table supplies! I see very little chance of drought this summer across much of New England!

Now for the real good news! Having this pattern settle in is at this time may be a blessing in disguise, if you love summer! I can see this block pattern diminishing by late April, and summer weather arriving for May! We could then be in for a nice summer, with plenty of hot weather for the beach! I will have my preliminary summer outlook come mid April, and my final summer forecast by Memorial Day weekend!

I really need to get to this forecast! I will give this week a 2 out of 10. Very wintery! Expect a continuation of sunny skies. Temperatures will be a bit milder, but a brisk wind will make it feel chilly. Expect high temperatures to approach 40 degrees.

Watch for clear and cold weather tonight. With light winds, temperatures will drop into the teens in rural areas, and 20’s along the coast and urban centers.

Tuesday will feature more sunshine, although there will be some high clouds filtering the sun during the afternoon. With lighter winds, temperatures may make a run at the very low 40’s.

As a storm begins to gather to our south, watch for increasing and thickening clouds tomorrow night. I do believe it should remain dry though, with lows in the 20’s and low 30’s.

As we have been speculating, a nor’easter is going to be developing down off the mid Atlantic coast. As of this writing, this has the potential to become another major storm. From what I’m seeing, it does not look to be as intense as its predecessors. However, I’m seeing increasing evidence today of a stronger storm, with more wind, and more wet snow. In addition, we have to add the threat of at least minor to pockets of moderate coastal flooding by high tide on Thursday morning.

A friend from Scituate asked me whether I thought there would be any coastal flooding associated with this storm. I told her it did not look as bad as previous storms, and at that point it looked minimal. However, after reviewing the latest data, It looks like the storm will indeed be coinciding with a higher astronomical tide than the last storm. And with winds projected to be up to 50 mph along the coast, there will indeed be the risk of at least minor to pockets of moderate coastal flooding Thursday morning. Please monitor future statements.

Expect wet snow to spread into the Boston region from south to north during Wednesday morning, the way I see it right now. We should get by the morning commute without too many issues. In fact, the precipitation may indeed start off with a bit of rain, or rain/snow mix. However, as the heavier precipitation moves into the region, this is going to flip to wet snow. As the storm begins to slowly move up the coast, expect northeast winds to increase, as the heavy wet snow gets heavier during the afternoon.

Wednesday night looks stormy! It’s hard to say at this point whether the snow will remain sticky and wet, or if colder air working in from the north will tend to dry it out. Nonetheless, wet snow could become a problem once again with trees and power lines across southern New England. Snow will fall heavy at times into the early morning hours, with northeast winds gusting up to 50 mph. Yes, it’s going to turn into another nor’easter!

It still may be stormy Thursday morning. As mentioned earlier, coastal residence need to pay close attention to the Thursday morning high tide. Light snow may still be falling Thursday morning, but will begin to diminish during the late morning, and should be over by noontime. Right now, let’s start off on the conservative side and call for widespread 6″+ for Boston, and surrounding areas, points north, west, and south. If the storm reaches it’s maximum potential, up to 10 or 11″ of heavy wet snow can not be ruled out. I will fine tune these accumulations, as we still have all day tomorrow for adjustments up or down, after I review new data. So please stay tuned!

For my friends on the Cape, it looks like with the storm tracking closer to the coast, accumulations will be held down by a lot of mixing. You will not escape the winds, however. Watch for strong winds of up to 50 mph to buffet the peninsula once again. I can not rule out some downed trees and power outages. Please be safe!

As it looks right now, this storm looks to focus much of its fury in southern New England. Of course Maine will get its share, but the track is not favorable for big accumulations up there, at this point. Maybe coastal areas and Downeast can pick up some decent snows, as the storm loops out into the Gulf of Maine. This can all change with future computer model guidance, so I will be monitoring that closely. The last storm suddenly got even stronger at the last minute.

Then it’s over, right? Nah, there could be another storm later this upcoming weekend, with more snow and wind. Wow.

Well that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will be focusing in on when we can expect at least a break to this pattern, and inform you with more information as to why it remains stuck! I will also be takling a bit about our spring timetable! Maybe if we begin talking about it, Mother Nature will get the hint! In the meantime, a friend of mine said in a post the other day, “Whoever pissed off Mother Nature, please apologize, and do it quickly!” I say it could be Eric Blaney! ūüôā

Thanks for reading & be safe!

Pete

Coastal Blizzard!! 3/12/18

Hello! I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend! Although mainly dry, it’s still feeling quite wintery out there. Saturday featured some sun, but with a brisk wind, it felt cold out. Sunday had less wind, but we saw many clouds blot the sun out. Overall, it looked and felt more like February than March across the region.

It all started with the March 2nd nor’easter. This was a powerful storm, which led to unprecedented coastal flooding, torrential rains, and hurricane force winds. The only missing ingredient was cold air. We were coming off one of the warmest February’s on record, and the atmosphere was just too warm to produce any meaningful snow around Boston. This was very fortunate, as I mentioned last week that had it been about 5 degrees colder, we still would of been digging out from that storm.

Then came nor’easter number two last Wednesday. This was another fierce storm. Although coastal flooding was not as bad as the previous storm, Mother Nature made up for it by changing the rain to heavy wet snow. You see, it was colder in the upper atmosphere with that storm. As the storm intensified off our coast, it allowed the cold air to be brought down, changing the rain to heavy wet snow. This time, interior locations bore the brunt of the storm, with between 12 and 18″ of heavy wet snow falling, clinging to all the trees and power lines, resulting in near catastrophic tree damage, and widespread power outages. Here in the city amounts varied, but generally between 6 and 8″ fell, with the heaviest being where I live here in the West Roxbury area. While there was some tree damage, we were very lucky we did not have widewspread power outages as in other communities north and west of the city.

Which brings us to storm number three. Last week this storm was looking like it was going to be a big one. Then computer models trended away. Over the weekend, computer models have trended closer to the coast once again. As I mentioned in my Facebook update yesterday, this storm has already had its share of drama. Computer models blew up Twitter and Facebook Sunday morning, by spitting out some outrageous snowfall amounts! As the news trickled down to the public that Boston could be receiving 24″ of snow on Tuesday, many people became alarmed. And to be honest, I don’t blame them one bit! After two severe nor’easters, the talk of more coastal flooding and power outages, with two feet of snow thrown in for good measure, well, most folks are just about at their breaking point!

As luck would have it, new computer model data backed off significantly from the morning data, and cut the snowfall amounts in half. Okay, so where does that leave us? Yeah, still not that great with a foot of snow! That’s still a major storm in my book. Maybe not crippling, but who needs that kind of a storm anyway? A crippling blizzard of two feet of snow, would most likely close schools for the rest of the week, and close and shut down businesses for a couple days. Not to mention costing the city millions of dollars in snow removal. Not to make light of the situation, but some areas may still see two feet of snow!

I mentioned to a friend on Facebook to be prepared for the windshield wiper effect. This is a funny example the weather community uses when a computer model run abruptly changes from its previous run. It’s funny, and it’s not at the same time. These type of storms can make your hair grow gray rather quickly, if you let these type of things bother you. For me, I like to just be patient, and hold off as long as I can, until I am confident enough to make a educated estimate on the impending event. Otherwise, it will literally drive you crazy! Yes, it’s fun to look at, but with so much information out there these days, it can get overwhelming at times!

So after computer models trended away from the apocalyptic snowstorm, they have actually trended back the other way overnight, and during the day today. I don’t believe Boston is in for 2 ft of snow, but a major snowstorm appears to be on the way, and in some cases a blizzard too. There are some places in southeastern Massachusetts that do indeed receive 2 ft of snow! I will get to all of this in my forecast shortly!

So how did we get into this mess, and how do we get out? For those who have been reading along for many years, you know I speak about the Greenland Block quite frequently, especially in the winter and spring months. After several years of being non existant, the block has returned this year with a vengeance! The Greenland Block is when high pressure (mild & dry) weather builds over Greenland. This forces cold air over Greenland south, more often than not into New England. As this happens, the jet strem buckles as it heads towards the east coast. In more cases than not, this induces low pressure (cold & stormy) to develop along or just off the east coast. When these patterns settle in, New England can be locked in a cold and stormy weather pattern for up to 6 weeks or more!

In this case, this looks like it’s a particuarly nasty Greenland Blocking pattern. Looking at the long range guidance, it appears as if the Greenland Block is going to keep firing off right into the middle of April. Just when it looks like it’s trying to warm up, a new surge of cold air will come plunging into New England. In addition, we are not done with the potential for more nor’easters, even as we move into early April. This was talked about in great detail in my winter forecast back in November, and most especially during February, when I could actually see computer models forecasting the block.

How and when do we get out of this mess? This is complicated. It appears as if this pattern is locked in at least through mid April. Once these patterns become established, it can be very difficult to dislodge! We may have to wait for this to just disintegrate naturally, before we have any chance of true spring. I’m thinking much of April is crummy too. Probably no longer cold enough for snow here in Boston, but cold and on the damp side. Up north, where it’s a little colder, the storms may continue to fall as snow, extending the ski season well into April, if not May! Thereafter, genuine springtime weather should appear in May, possibly leading us right into an early summer! How’s that for encouraging news!

Now for outdoor winter activity forecast. I will give this wee a 2 out of 10…quite wintery, even after the storm blows by. Expect a mixture of sun and billowy clouds for the rest of this afternoon. There were some snow showers blowing in off the ocean, but it appears as if this activity has diminished. With the wind blowing in from the ocean, it will have a raw feel to the day, with highs in the upper 30’s and low 40’s. Later on, you will notice high clouds increasing as well, ahead of the impending storm.

Tonight is when the action begins. A storm from the Great Lakes is transferring its energy off the mid Atlantic coast. This storm will then consolidate, and begin to rapidly intensify as it heads northeast. The outer band of this storm may reach southeastern Massachusetts towards midnight. At first, it may begin as a bit of rain, or rain mixed with snow. As the precipitation intensifies, this will change to heavy wet snow. This is going to be the same here in Boston, just an hour or two later. Any mix is going to change to wet snow, and begin to fall heavily. Expect this band to continue to retrograde westward into the western suburbs of Boston, Worcester, then western Massachusetts.

Expect very stormy weather on Tuesday. A blizzard warning has been issued for the north and south shore of Boston, and all of the Cape. Boston is still under a winter storm warning. I would not be surprised if the city got upgraded to a blizzard warning at some point this evening. For a blizzard to verify, you need sustained winds of at least 35 mph, and falling or blowing snow with 1/4 mile visibility or less for three consecutive hours. Looking at the computer data, I can see how this may verify in these places where the NWS issued the warning.

Expect bands of heavy snow falling all day with blizzard conditions at times across the entire east coast of the state, with winds gusting to between 40 and 60 mph. The winds will not be as strong as the first nor’easter, but with the heavy snow falling, this will create its own hazards with reduced visibilities. Snow will continue to fall heavy at times even into tomorrow evening, with a slow abatement from south to north as we head towards midnight. Thereafter, snow showers and flurries may continue to pass through the area on Wednesday. This is because the storm is actually going to stall in the Gulf of Maine for a couple days, lingering wintery conditions around here.

Temperatures will start off near freezing tomorrow. However, as the snow and wind intensifies, temperatures are expected to drop during the day, creating a dangerous combination of blowing and drifting snow, with near whiteout conditions at times during the day and even into the evening.

The NWS has also issued a coastal flood warning for the south shore of Massachusetts. This means there’s the potential for moderate coastal flooding at the time of high tide tomorrow. Fortunately, we have low astronomical high tides in this go around. However, because the coastline has been compromised from prior nor’reasters, there is the real possibility of moderate coastal flooding in vulnerable areas.

Power outages. I have some good and bad news. The good news is that this storm is going to be colder than last weeks storm. Therefore, I’m expecting more of a low density, powdery consistency to the snow. This is especially true across hard hit areas in the interior, in towns such as Wayland, Billerica, Haverhill. These communities will still experience heavy snow, but with colder temperatures, it will not cling to the trees or power lines like the last storm, which resulted in so much damage.

Closer to the coast will be somewhat of a different story. The snow may be wet at first, then as temperatures drop, the snow will transition to a more powdery consistency. Right now I don’t see widespread power outages, but if winds gust up to 50 mph with the heavy snow, I can’t rule them out either.

If you live down the Cape, and I know several people who do, you need to be more concerned about power outages. The snow will generally be heavier and wetter, and will likely plaster against trees and power lines. Add winds of up to 60 mph. and I believe the threat of widespread power outages is a real possibility. The best case scenerio is that the cold air drills into the Cape as the storm intensifies, and turns it into a windblown powdery blizzard. This will need to be monitored closely.

How much snow can we expect out of this storm? This is still a very tricky call! As you know, last second shifts can mean much more in some areas, and much less than expected in others. Here is my best estimate at this point. I’m expecting between 12 to 18″ of snow in the Boston area. If some of the heavier bands make it into the city, we could see that higher number show up. From what I’m seeing right now, the jackpot zone looks to be south shore of Boston, in areas such as Easton, Brockton, Norton, Middleborough, Lakeville region. Here I’m expecting between 15 and 20″ of snow. If bands persist over this region, some communiies may easily see 2 ft of snow! These heavy totals could also be experienced closer to the ocean in Plymouth county, and many other south shore communities such as Scituate, and Marshfield and Duxbury. North shore communities such as Swampscott, Essex, Gloucester Rockport areas should see similar amounts of snow as Boston, with howling winds.

Heavy snow will also fall further north up the coast into the seascoast of New Hampshire, where between 12 and 16″ is likely. Further north, Much of Maine is going to get crushed in this storm, with up to 2 ft falling in many areas. Watch for the storm to continue here well into Wednesday and even Wednesday night! In the interior of New England, heavy snow is also expected, with generally 6 to 12″ falling across the interior New Hampshire and Vermont.

For folks down the Cape. Be prepared for a fierce storm, with heavy snow, and storm force winds. If temperatures drop sufficiently enough, the storm could turn into a severe blizzard, with whiteout conditions and blowing and drifting snow. The only wild card is if the storm tracks a bit closer to the coast, it may introduce some mixing in the outer part of the Cape. This is always a tough call on the Cape. If there’s no mixing, you can expect between 10 and 20″ of wet snow. If the temperature drops, and the snow becomes more powdery, some areas will receive up to 2 ft of snow!

Expect blustery and drier weather as we head into the rest of the weekend. Temperatures will remain below normal, so don’t expect a rapid melt of the snow. The upcoming weekend also looks dry. Saturday looks cold, but we may see a rebound in temperatures in time for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston? Thereafter, conditions may turn stormy once again at the start of next week.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will be talking about our increasingly cold and stormy pattern as we head towards the start of spring. I will let you know if there is any hope for any signs of spring. In the meantime, it’s full winter mode! Anyone having a blizzard party??

Please be safe!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

*Please feel free to comment or ask any questions! I enjoy the interactions!

Stormy Pattern Continues…3/5/18

Hello! I hope everyone made it through the storm! The weather has been turbulant, to say the least! Friday featured a powerful nor’easter, bringing with it destructive coastal flooding, hurricane force winds and flooding rains. While many areas got hit hard, the south shore to the Cape beared the brunt of the storm. The massive cyclone brought winds of up to 93 mph to several locations, toppling trees and knocking down telephone poles & power lines.

In addition, astronomical high tides brought a dangerous 3 to 5 foot storm surge along coastal communities. While the initial high tide may not as been as destructive as first feared, the slow movement of the storm brought 3 more successive high tides to the region, which kept flooding ongoing throughout the entire weekend. Adding to the misery, was the widespread power outages which occurred from the Boston area points south. At one point, the whole town of Scituate, Ma. was 100% without power. I have said it many times before, nor’easters are no joke! This storm caused similar damage as to what a strong category 1 hurricane would do!

With a blocking pattern in place, the massive storm continues to spin out in the Atlantic Ocean. It’s far enough away not to bring precipitation, but close enough to continue to plague coastal communities with strong gusty winds! Even today, I can still hear northerly winds howling outside the weather bunker! I should not of said there was no more precipitation. Late last night, a spoke of energy actually pinwheeled all the way around the storm, bringing a coating to 2″ of snow across much of eastern Massachusetts, all of which has melted away.

After the near record warm February, there has been a marked shift to the weather patterns here in March. A blocking pattern over Greenland, has brought a stormier pattern to New England. What happens is high pressure builds over Greenland and western Canada. When this happens, it dislodges the cold air from up there, and forces it south into mid latitudes, so you end up with low pressure (cold & stormy) down here, and high pressure (mild and dry) up there. Of course, mild up in Greenland is relative, what’s warmer than average for them up there, is actually colder than average for us down here!

But because the block is so massive, it’s actually retrograding mild, maritime air, all the way from Canadian Maritimes down into New England. This is one of the reasons the nor’easter was mainly rain in most of Massachusetts on Friday. Had it been about 5 to 10 degrees colder in the upper atmosphere, we would of been the recipient of a massive 30 to 40″ blizzard, with 10 ft snow drifts!

While this block resulted in rain here in southern New England, it actually brought snow to England, Ireland and Scotland! In fact, a unprecedented blizzard hammered the east coast of Ireland with some locations receiving close to 50 cm of snow, or close to two feet! This storm continued to move north, burying Scotland with drifts up to 15 ft. Scotland is no stranger to snow, as it’s further north, and is typically colder. Ireland on the other hand, has a modified climate, as the Gulf Stream keeps it milder, more so than what you would expect with its latitude.

This has not been the case over the last week or so. A massive block in the high latitudes has forced cold air to actually move from east to west! This cold air originated in Russia, and moved west towards the the U.K. As the bitter cold collided with the warm Gulf Stream, a storm formed. With the cold air banked over Ireland, the storm intensified and turned into a blizzard, tracking up along the east coast of Ireland, much like a nor’easter moves up along the east coast of the United States!

So, we know high latitude blocking brings cold and stormy weather to our part of the world. But when do we get out of this mess? And when is it going to feel like spring again? Well, for folks looking to get out there and do some early gardening, or spring clean up, I’m afraid you’re going to have to wait probably at least until the spring equinox arrives. The good news, is I really don’t see an overwhelmingly cold pattern. The bad news, is that I see frequent storms, with episodes of both rain and snow. As we get deeper into March, these storms will probably become more rain than snow. Still, expect snow to be in the forecast more often than not, at least up to the equinox. Thereafter, the storms may linger into April, possibly giving a boost to the ski season up north to remain open a bit later than usual.

Looking over some long range data, March looks like it’s going to remain on the cool and wet side, with above average snow. Average snow in Boston for the month of March is about 8″, with even more across interior locations, and elevated areas. It may not be too cold, but it may be just cold enough for snow when storms arrive, at least for the next couple weeks. In this type of pattern, if it snows, it will begin to melt almost immediately after it ends. That, and the increased sun angle and longer days, typically means snow does not stick around too long during March. There have been exceptions.

Last year, we had a large nor’easter on March 12th and 13th, which brought heavy snow inland. Along the coast, an icy mixture of wet snow, sleet and freezing rain created a glacier snow cover. Temperatures remained below average for a couple weeks after the storm as well. Because of the high density of the snow & ice, the snowpack lingered, and was very stubborn to melt away. As far as I can see, I’m not expecting snow to linger for too long down here in southern New England, especially in lower elevations and close to the coast. Up in northern New England, March is still a true winter month. Snow takes longer to melt, allowing ski resorts to remain open well into April some years!

The next threat to monitor for a storm, is for Wednesday. A storm is currently tracking up into the Great Lakes. Typically, this would mean either all rain, or snow changing to rain here in southern New England. However, because we have the big block in place, this storm is going to be deflected south, and begin to transfer its energy towards the mid Atlantic coast. At this point, the storm is going to begin to intensify, as it moves up the coast. Most computer models agree with this scenerio, up to this point. After that, computer models diverge in their solutions. This has been the case most of this winter, making it alsmost impossible to make an accutate forecast from this far out.

In one camp, you have the American models, which track the storm close to the coast, passing just east of Boston. With this type of track, we could expect snow to begin Wednesday morning, and possibly becoming heavy at times during the afternoon, only to mix with and turn to heavy rain along the south coast, in the city of Boston, and even points northeast along the coast. This would once again, rip off coastal areas of receiving a heavy snow, keeping accumulations in the 1 to 3″ range.

However, the European and Canadian models have a different solution alltogether. These models track the storm a bit further off the coast, keeping low level cold air draining in from the north, allowing the storm to remain more frozen, especially from Boston north and west. If this is true, we could see a heavy snowstorm, even in the city, with accumulations of 8″ or more. Please note, with either solution, areas to the north and west of I495, extending up through most of the state of New Hampshire, is going to be hit with a heavy snowstorm, with accumulations of a foot or more in many locations.

With the European models, we could also experience strong northeast winds of up to 50 mph, along with the potential of downed trees and power outages. In either case, coastal flooding should not be as severe as the storm on Friday. However, I wouldn’t say it’s non existant. Continuing high tides from Friday’s storm, and strong northeast winds are only going to aggravate the situation. I would say to expect widespread minor flooding, with pockets of moderate flooding in vulnerable locations, if the European varifies.

With the American model suite, a closer track to the coast would bring a period of strong winds, but then shut them off as the center passes close to the coast. Because of the model discrepency, I have decided to blend the model guidance. I still have tomorrow to fine tune the details. This will be reflected in my forecast below.

Now for your weekly outdoor winter activity forecast. I will rate this week a 5 out of 10. Actually expect a pleasnat afternoon, for the rest of your Monday. Other than a few passing stratocumulus clouds, there will be splashes of bright sun, helping it to warm up into the mid 40’s. A brisk wind will make it feel colder at times, for sure.

As the big ocean storm moves further out to seas, skies will clear tonight. Because of the clear skies, expect radiational cooling in many locations, with lows in the 20’s in rural areas, and low 30’s in the cities. One note, as northeast wind persists along the coast, there may be some localized snow showers due to left over moisture, and diurnal temperature difference. This will mainly happen across coastal communities, and only a dusting is expected at most.

Tuesday will feature lighter winds, and mainly sunny skies. Because winds will be lighter, it will feel milder tomorrow, with highs in the upper 30’s and lower 40’s. Watch for high clouds to show up in the western sky during the second half of the afternoon. Think of tomorrow as a weather breather!

As the next storm approaches, clouds will begin to increase and thicken across the region, tomorrow night. Low temperatures will not be that cold, with 20’s and low 30’s common throughout the region.

As mentioned above, Wednesday will trend stormier. Watch for increasing northeast winds. Right now, it looks like snow or a rain snow mix will begin to move into the region sometime during the late morning. As it intensifies, the mix should go over to heavy wet snow in Boston, and possibly as far south to the Cape. As the storm begins to intensify, snow may fall heavily in Boston points north and west later Wednesday afternoon and into the evening. As the storm tracks closer to the coast, snow should mix with rain along the immediate coast, and change to rain down on the south shore and Cape Cod, and pssibly as far north as the cityof Boston.

In this region, I’m expecting between 1 and 3″ of snow down on the Cape, ranging from about 3″ in town, quickly building up to 6″ close to Rt 128 and up to 10″ around I495. Beyond I495, I’m expecting between 10 and 18″, with much of New Hampshire receiving close to a foot or more of snow from this storm. This is going to be a great storm for all ski resorts! If you live along the New Hampshire seacoast, you may see a brief mix of rain, which may keep accumulations slightly below 10″ there? However, further up the coat into Maine, I’m expecting greater than 1 ft to fall Wednesday night and into Thursday, with possible blizzard conditions!

Speaking of Thursday, the storm will be over in Boston by late morning. Again, I do not make these calls, but based upon what I’m seeing right now, I do believe Boston Schools will be in operation on Thursday. The combination of lower snow totals, and with the potential of rain washing some of that away, should keep roads just wet in the city. So sorry to deliver this news for all my faculty friends in the Boston Public School district! There is still time for changes, so please check in with me for updates tomorrow!

Expect mainly dry and seasonable weather for the period of Friday through Sunday. This means temperatures in the upper 30’s and lower 40’s. Great weather to head up north to go skiing! After a heavy snow, temperatures will be very comfortable to be outdoors and enjoy the fresh snow! Another storm may threaten the region Sunday night and Monday.

Well that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will let you know if I see any signs of spring weather in sight? I will also keep an eye out for any additional late winter storms. In the meantime, keep the snow shovel, sump pump, and the chain saw handy, all of which are necessaties for winter in New England!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

Mild…Then Wild? 2/26/18

Hello! I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend! Saturday started off with brilliant sunshine and mild temperatures. Unfortunately, clouds increased during the afternoon, and temperatures leveled off, making it feel a bit chilly with a brisk wind.

Sunday was a washout from morning til night. It was cold too, with temperatures remaining in the upper 30’s for most of the day. In fact, steady snow fell up in ski country, with a general 3 to 6″ of white gold!

Despite the very warm start to school vacation week, colder temperatures and periods of snow moved back into the ski resorts starting on Thursday…so all was not lost!

Even down here in southern New England, a dramatic change in the weather brought temperatures in the 70’s both TThis uesday and Wednesday, only to drop 40 degrees on Thursday with a coating to an inch of snow across much of the region!

The extreme weather changes prompted a friend of mine from New Hampshire to send me a funny message. It was Mother Nature telling New England, ¬†“You can’t squeeze all four seasons in one week.” The response from New England was, “Hold my beer!” While purely satirical, there was some truth to it!

While at a family event celebrating my nieces birthday yesterday, many family members were asking some very insightful questions. I do believe all these years of reading my blog, they’re starting to pick up on some of the topics I discuss, and are beginning to ask me some challenging questions!

My sister Pam, for example, asked me whether a warming climate is going to alter my future winter snowfall predictions, for the New England region?

Others asked me me if winter was over this year, and my thoughts for the upcoming spring and summer seasons. Wow, I need to brush up on my weather info before the next family get together!

The first question caught me a bit off guard. I never really thought of that possibility until now. This a broad, complex subject, that can be discussed by a panel of experts for hours on end. But the subject can not be avoided any longer.

The warm weather records are being smashed year after year. It was 81 degrees in Fitchburg, MA. on Wednesday! Wow! It was the first back to back 70 degree days in recorded history during the month of February in Boston!

Did anyone see the story of the 25 pound striped bass caught in the Charles River by a graduate student on Wednesday? I could go on and on, but you get the picture. It was unusually warm!

Does this mean I now believe in global warming? Have I finally caved in as a result of all the text messages my brother in law sends me about global warming? The short answer to this question is, not quite!

There’s still a resounding amount of evidence that shows these same warm spikes during winter, has occurred before. A warm day or two in February is not going to convince me.

I believe we do not have enough correct statistical proof to say one way or another. The earth has been warming and cooling naturally for billions of years. Science has proved that.

Is the earth currently warming? Current numbers say it is. But this could be as a result of increased global population, urban heat island effect, and record warm ocean temperatures.

Some climatologists believe that the weather patterns are cyclical. A lot has to do with the relationship between how much radiation we receive from the sun, and how it affects ocean temperatures. Because the sun is entering a dormant period of sun spot activity, some scientists actually believe the earth is cooling!

For those interested, I believe we will have many more answers on where our climate is headed within the next 30 rears or so. Not even a second in geological time!

Getting back to the question! I told you there’s a lot to discuss about with that subject! Yes, I actually take each year on a season by season basis. There are so many variables that go into a seasonal forecast, you can’t point out one thing and say we’re going to have more or less snow in any given season.

Was I surprised by the record warm temperatures this month. Yes, very much so. It was only a few short weeks ago I thought February was going to bring winters worst!

I told my sister yesterday that I have been disappointed in my winter forecast so far this season. She was quick to point out to me that winter does not end until March 20th, and many times winter storms can linger here in New England until the middle of April! This is all true, we always measure first flake to last!

So far, Boston stands at 35.3″” for this season. I was shocked to learn this morning that this is actually 1″ less than what we had at the same time last year! I looked across the region, and many cities and towns are in the same boat, right around average for the date, give or take a few inches.

As mentioned before, Boston’s average snowfall for any given season is approximately 44″. If we receive average snow for the rest of the season, we will actually end up around average for the season. On average, Boston receives approximately 8″ in March, and 1 inch in April.

Do I believe we are going to reach my winter prediction of between 60 and 70″ for Boston, made back in November? It’s looking like a long shot right now, but I will listen to my sister’s advice, and wait until the last flake have fallen. We’ve had snow on Mother’s Day before around here.

With that being said, I would need a big end game to pull it off. Not that it can’t happen! March and even into early April can feature some big snowstorms!

I have been eyeing the possibility  of a interesting March for some time now. A developing Greenland Block is going to up the ante for possible late season excitement!

Even as we speak, high pressure is building across Greenland. When this happens, it suppresses ¬†the jet stream, deflecting it south of New England. This will allow colder air to gradually filter into New England over the next week. This evolving pattern also represents the increased possibility of a major nor’easter to strike the east coast.

One such potential threats arrives at the end of this week into the beginning of the weekend. The next threat, and looks to be even greater, arrives towards the middle to end of next week. If the Greenland Block persists into March, I still may indeed make my forecast snowfall for the winter!

In addition, this pattern developing now may delay spring from arriving too early across much of New England. Some computer models persist this block well into the spring. While others breaks it down, allowing spring to surge into the region. Very tough call here.

Right now, I do believe at least the first couple weeks of March is going to feature a couple winter weather events…perhaps significant. Thereafter, the block may relax for a time, only to reappear later in the month?

Therefore, I am calling for quite an extreme March, featuring periods of severe winter weather, with above average snowfall. This will be offset with relaxation of the pattern enough to let us know that spring is indeed on the way!

Late season snows and cold may linger into the start of April. Overall, I I believe April will be cooler and wetter than normal. The way I see it, real spring weather is going to have to wait until May to arrive this year, which will feature warmer and dryer than normal weather! Something to look forward to!

Now for your weekly outdoor winter activity forecast. I will rate this week a 4 out of 10. Possible storm at end of the week. Expect increasing sunshine for the rest of this afternoon. Much like last week, watch for another colorful sunset! It will be mild, with highs in the 40’s.

It will be clear and cool tonight, but still warmer than normal. Low temperatures will range from the 20’s across rural areas, and mid 30’s across the urban areas.

Watch for springlike weather with plenty of sun and mild temperatures for both tomorrow and Wednesday. Tomorrow will be in the lower to mid 50’s, to possibly near 60 degrees on Wednesday! Wow!

As we say goodbye to February and welcome March, watch for increasing clouds, and somewhat cooler temperatures for Thursday. If winds turn onshore, temperatures may only be in the 40’s.

The first of possible several storms will threaten New England beginning Thursday night. This storm will be tracking through the Midwest during this week. Rather than cutting into the Great Lakes, the Greenland Block will force this storm to redevelop off the New Jersey coast.

By all indications, this storm is going to intensify into a fierce ocean storm. There are a few reasons to keep a very close eye on the exact track of this storm this week for us here in New England.

First, this storm is going to be a slow mover. Second, if this storm comes close enough to our coast, there would be the threat of a major coastal flooding event. This is due to astronomical high tides, storm force northeast winds, and several successive high tide cycles. Very dangerous!

Third, rain would change to heavy wet snow, which coupled with strong winds, would present the potential for downed trees and power lines.

Right now, very latest computer models have shifted this storm ever so slightly to our south. This was enough of a shift to keep the worst effects of this storm just south of New England.

However, with the blocking high pressure to our north, this is going to be a very touchy situation, as there is a possibility of this storm appearing to be heading out to sea, only to loop back around and make a pass close to Cape Cod, before finally moving out to sea sometime on Saturday.

If this verifies, eastern Massachusetts would still be under the gun for quite a severe storm, with coastal flooding, damaging winds, and heavy wet snowfall. Future computer model guidance will let me know whether or not if that’s still a possibility.

Many are saying it’s too warm for snow. I can see that, ¬†from my experience, this storm will be so intense, it will dynamically cool the air above us, changing the rain to heavy wet snow.

At this very point,  computer  guidance continues to surpress this storm, keeping the worst of the storm at sea, and we would of dodged a major bullet in my opinion. Another threat will be following next week. I will be sure to update everyone sometime this week if conditions warrant.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will be looking into March in more detail. I will be closely monitoring any possibility of a major winter storm. I will also talk about some unusually winter weather occurring in Europe! In the meantime, enjoy the mild weather over the next couple days, then we’ll if the lamb or lion shows up on Friday!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

 

 

 

 

Guess The Temperatures for Wednesday? 2/19/18

Hello! Happy Presidents Day! I hope everyone had a great, weekend! Many are still enjoying their weekend, with today being a holiday! To say the weather as of late has been changeable, would be an understatement! Many were enjoying 50 degree temperatures last Friday, only to be shoveling a half foot of snow come Sunday morning! As the Hollywood saying goes,”you aint seen nothing yet!”

There is so much to talk about, I don’t even know where to begin! I suppose we should start with the unexpected snowfall on Saturday night! Yes, many were proclaiming no more snow for the rest of February! Well, that sure changed in a hurry, as a fast but quite energetic storm system tracked just south of New England, bringing the Boston area a general 5 to 8″ snowstorm Saturday night.

In fact, some areas north of Boston received between 6 and 9″ of snow! And what a thing of beauty it was! If you woke up early enough on Sunday, you would of been treated to one of Mother Nature’s finest masterpiece!

This was not an intense storm. Not even a nor’easter or anything like that. But rather a wave of low pressure, that fed off the contrast of cold air to the north, and warm air to the south.

With that being said, it made the most of what it was given, and delivered a surprising heavy dose of snow from Connecticut up through the Boston area, and points north.

Because the storm tracked a bit closer than originally thought, the rain/snow line also drew north, causing snow to turn to rain for all of the Cape, and far southeastern portions of the state.

I spoke with some of my weather watchers down there and some said they didn’t get any snow at all on the outer Cape. In the Falmouth area, after a couple inches of heavy wet snow, warm air took over, turning the snow to heavy rain. All snow was washed away come Sunday morning.

So far, it’s been one of those winters down on the Cape. Lots of storms, but no big snowstorms just yet. The ocean has just been too warm to support a major all snow event. Not to say it hasn’t snowed. They most certainly have received several snowfalls so far this winter. But when anything significant comes along, the warm air wins out fairly quickly, changing the snow to rain.

This is a fairly typical winter weather for the Cape. After all, many folks live down on the Cape to escape the winters wrath, across the rest of New England. On average, milder ocean air modifies the climate, changing heavy snowstorms to rainstorms down there.

This is not always the case! There have been several winters recently, where the Cape has seen some fierce blizzards, with some people questioning whether the climate is changing.

Why does it change year to year? Well, it’s very complicated. The climate on the Cape is very complicated. You have different air mass souces, jet streams, ocean temperatures and winds, clashing over a little peninsula sticking out in the Atlantic Ocean!

Some years, bitter cold air builds north of New England over the Gulf of Maine. When this happens, storms can tap into this, which sometimes can lead to ferocious blizzards on the Cape.

Other years, like this one, there’s not a lot of cold air banked up to our north. So when storms approach from the south, they’re bringing mild air with them, easily changing the snow to rain.

In most cases on the Cape and along the coast, you need strong high pressure and cold air firmly entrenched, to ensure a snow event for these locations.

In Boston, wind direction plays a key role. If there’s no high pressure area to our north, and a low pressure is appraoching, a north or northeast wind can keep the cold air locked in along the coast, preventing snow from changing to rain. If the wind turns more east or southeast, it typically will mix with and turn to rain in the city.

Moving onto the matter at hand. Folks want to know if winter is over. I can tell you this, for a couple days this week, you will believe it’s over. In fact, you may even think we skipped spring and went right into summer!!

The all time warmest temperature in Boston for February is 73 degrees, set just last year! We have reached 70 degrees only two times in recorded history, and one of those times was just last winter! What’s even more amazing, we have a good shot at tying the all time record warm temperature for February in Boston on Wednesday!

Spring fever will be running rampant across the region! Folks will be out in t-shirts and shorts, flip flops will be flipping and flopping, and crowds will be gathering at local beaches chanting winter is OVER!

It will be so warm Wednesday, it may be impossible to believe that winter could ever come back? I use the analogy of Tom Brady and the Patriots in Super Bowl LI, down 28 to 3 with a little over a qurater left to play in the game.

Winter 2017-18 is in the same situation. Just when you think it’s completely over, it comes back! Again, we only need to look back one year to last winter.

That Pattern seems very similar to this year. It reached 73 degrees in Boston at about the same time last year. Then March came and, oh boy! So came the snow, rain and cold that persisted seemingly straight through May.

So am I expecting another cold, damp and snowy spring this year? Well, I’m not 100% sure about spring as a whole, I will have my preliminary spring outlook for you next week.

However, at this time, I would like to announce an extreme weather alert watch for much of New England, perhaps extending down the coast to the mid Atlantic region. This watch may be converted to a warning if confidence increases as we head towards March.

What does this watch mean, and for when? It means the patterns over the next 4 to 6 weeks are going to extremely volatile, with record warm temperatures this week, followed by colder weather and the potential for major winter weather event during the first week of March. More storms may follow after that, possibly making March the most wintery month of all this winter, and since the epic February of 2015.

Why should you believe me now, after I said the same thing for February? This is a fair point. While I use some personal experience to make a long range forecast, I also rely on many computer models, professional technical discussions from meteorologists, and video discussions from long range experts such as Joe Bastardi and Joe D’Aleo of WeatherBell Analytics.

It’s not like I’m wishcasting for a big event to occur. There is plenty of evidence from all sources showing a big endgame to winter is likely to happen.

Yes, I said the same thing for February, and that fizzled. What makes March so different? Well, nothing is gauranteed. All the information I studied said the same thing in January for February.

In what I can only say as a shocking turn of events, computer models completely reversed their thinking at the last minute, backing way off the severe winter blitz for February.

Computer models are now showing similar ideas for March. A strong Greenland Block developing, cooling ocean temperatures, and the Polar Vortex splitting tells me this time could be believable.

My own research from last fall, tells me we still have not seen the snow blitz I was expecting this winter. I would be shocked if we waltzed into spring without a one or two more major storms.

With this being school vacation week, ski resorts were hoping for a big snowstorm and cold temperatures. Many resorts managed to pick up quite a bit of snow last week and over the weekend.

Unfortunately, the weather this week is going to be less than desirable for outdoor winter activities. Today’s not too bad, with increasing clouds and highs near 40. After a bit of rain tonight, Tuesday is going to be murky and milder, with highs near 50.

After a blow torch on Wednesday, temperatures will dramatically cool off later in the week, with chances of rain mixed with snow at times, depending upon elevation, heading into the weekend.

Now for your weekly outdoor winter activity forecast. I will rate this week a 8 out of 10, weighted heavily on tomorrow and Wednesday. Look for increasing clouds for the rest of your Monday. It will be mild, with highs in the middle 40’s.

Watch for showers to move across the region from west to east this evening and may continue at times up until midnight. It will be mild, with lows in the upper 30’s and low 40’s.

After a murky start, the sun should emerge from the clouds tomorrow, helping to boost temperatures into the mid 60’s!If no sun, temperatures may hold near 60.

Tuesday night will be on the warm side, for February standards, with lows in the 40’s to low 50’s. There may be some fog in any areas that have snow cover left, coastal regions, and especially down the Cape. So be aware of that.

If you love warm weather and spring, Wednesday is your day! Expect early morning fog and low clouds to burn off to sunny skies. An unusually strong Bermuda High pressure will pump record high warm temperatures into New England! With a southwest breeze, expect temperatures to soar to about 72 degrees! Computer models are forecasting 70, but my experience tells me temperatures beat guidance, in situations like this. It could even tie the all time record of 73 degrees, but I’ll play it on the conservative side. We’ll see! Enjoy!

With a southwest wind blowing off the Atlantic Ocean, it will not be this warm along the New England south coast, and Cape Cod and the Islands. In fact, it may be 15 to 20 degrees cooler in these locations.

Local beaches around Boston should manage 70, if you plan on taking a trip to the beach. Keep in mind, water temperatures are hovering in the low 40’s, so any trajectory off the water or feeble seabreeze, will make it feel a lot cooler.

A strong cold front will end the party Wednesday night. As this front crosses, there may be a shower or even a thunderstorm in some locations.

Thursday will be colder, with temperatures possibly 25 to 30 degrees lower than Wednesday. It’s still February, after all! Even with this cooldown, it still will be above normal for the date. It looks mainly dry at this point, but mainly cloudy day.

For the period Friday through Sunday, a wavy weather front will be draped across New England, seperating the warm weather to our south, and cold weather to our north. At the same time, small waves of low pressure will be traversing through the area.

It’s nearly impossible to forecast when these waves will pass through. I would plan on a somewhat unsettled pattern, with areas of rain at times in southern New England. At this point a washout is not anticipated.

Up north and in ski country, it actually may turn cold enough for some of this precipitation to fall as snow, sleet or freezing rain. So please be aware of that if traveling up north.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will continue to focus in on our potential stormy pattern heading into March. I will also have my preliminary spring outlook. In the meantime, enjoy the early blast of warm weather…winter may have the last hurrah!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

A Spring Surprise! 2/12/18

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading!

Pete

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading!

Pete

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

« previous entries next entries »
Log in