Seasonable…Is Nice! 5/7/18

Hello! I hope everyone had a great weekend! After last weeks introduction to summer. it was a split decision weatherwise around here. Saturday was a spectacular spring day, which featured blue skies, light winds, and temperatures in the mid 70’s. A storm system off the coast fouled up Sunday’s weather, with cloudy skies and much cooler temperatures with onshore winds. As the saying goes, it could of been worse. Had that storm gotten its act together sooner, it would of been a total washout, and temperatures would of been even cooler.

Wow! Did it get hot last week! I could see temperatures were going to get warm, but I did not expect to see widespread 90 degree readings across the region. Even Boston hit 90 on Thursday, with high levels of humidity to boot! It was a summer preview, indeed! As to be expected, this kind of heat is not sustainable at this juncture of the season. I believe it was mereley Mother Nature’s way of balancing out such a cold spring we’ve been having so far this year. It was if she was saying, “summer is coming, here is a mini preview as to what’s ahead!” Had we not received this burst of summer like heat, it still would be looking like winter around here right into Mother’s Day!

A few friends asked me if these weather patterns are unusual? I would say yes and no. The weather is always unusual. The weather is always changing, variable, and alive. Remember what the saying is, the extremes make the averages. So when we get a seasonable week like this one coming up, consider ourseleves fortunate! The important thing to remember, is to try not to make a bigger deal about it than what it is. I remember similar patterns like this in the past. I have also done extensive research and it has shown similar patterns to this spring, dating back some 60 years ago and beyond.

Another friend asked me what my thoughts were about all these extreme weather events, and its relation to global warming. This is a great question! As always, I respect all opinions and beliefs on this subject. Your beliefs may be different than mine, and that’s perfectly okay in my book! The question is a loaded one, and could be discussed in great detail taking several hours or even days to do so. In the end, nobody would be declared the winner…as there are no clear cut answers in regards to this subject.

However, it’s my belief that the climate is changing. We have proof of it, even over the last 50 years or so. The big question is, is the sharp increase in Carbon Dioxide gas the reason of the change, or are other forces behind it? As I mentioned to my friend, we are living in a micro-second in geological time. I think, as a human race, we’ve become more intelligent in regards technology and statistical information, but unfortunately have regressed in common sense and logical thinking.

The technology part of me says the earth is warming…rapidly! Why not believe it? Infrared satellites show the earth warmer than it’s ever been. However, the common sense part of me tells me otherwise. The earth warming over the past 30 years may be true. This may be due from increased CO2 levels, but could also be due to cyclical ocean temperatures and urban heat island effect. These answers are an easy out, but I believe it’s far more complex than that.

I believe the earth’s climate is controlled by four major factors. First is the sun, and the cyclical nature of increased solar radiation reaching the earth, and cycles of reduced amount of radiation. Furthermore, the sun has maximum and minimum solar radiation cycles, which can affect the climate here on earth.

Second is the earth’s tilt. As we orbit around the sun, the earth is tilted at 23.4 degrees on it’s axis. This “tilt” is the reason we have our seasons! It’s an amazing feat of astronomical proportions! There’s a reason for everything that happens on this earth! For this reason, we will always have our seasons here in New England! We are located in a very unique spot on earth, centered exactly at the halfway point between the Equator and the North Pole! In other words, unless this orbital journey or axial tilt suddenly changes, the weather is always going to change! Winter is always going to come, and summer is too!

Could this change? Yes, some scientists believe that the earth’s tilt on its own axis can vary from time to time. This could have major consequences to real time weather down here on earth! Should we tilt just a tenth of degree further away from the sun, it could plummet us into the next ice age! That’s how fine a balance the earth’s system is. Vice versa, if we happen to wobble slightly closer to the sun, the consequences would be severe!

Third, the oceans. The earth is covered in 70% salt water. Currently, the temperature of the oceans are warmer than they have ever been in recorded history. Is this the reult of increased CO2, or from natural recurring cycles? I believe the temperature of the oceans are closely related to the amount of solar radiation that the sun emits. Think of the ocean as a big pool in the back yard of someones house.

If it’s a sunny, hot day in the middle of the summer, the water in this pool is going to get very warm! For reasons unkown, the ocean temperatures have been warming at record high levels over the past 30 years. Feedback is also a very powerful element. As the ice caps melt, there’s more dark water to absorb the incoming sunlight, warming the water further, exasperating the situation.

Many link this warming to the sun, and I can’t argue against them. However, there are strong indications that the sun is entering what is called a Dalton Minimum, or low solar activity for the next 30 years or so. This does not mean an ice age is coming! However, it will be interesting to see whether the oceans respond to this cooler radiational output. If the oceans do indeed begin to cool off, it could begin to recover the melting ice caps, and restore a sense of balance to earth as a whole.

In other words, we are pretty much at a breaking point. If the oceans do not respond and begin to cool off, then we will be moving into a new climatological regime, as many scientists predicted years ago.

And my fourth belief, is the belief in a higher power. I am not one to talk too much about religion here, but you have to wonder when you stop and think about everything that’s going on. Are we really in control, or is there a higher power in control? I believe that a higher power, God, Mother Nature or whoever you may believe in, has the master plan for everything in this universe. Whether we want to believe it or not, we are not in control of the climate, natural forces, or acts of God here. If we are lucky enough to be on this earth long enough, we may see answers behind the questions someday.

Just my two cents! As I said, we could discuss this topic for hours on end! I find it fascinating, yet unsettling all at the same time! Always feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss further, or comment, or have any questions! I will try and continue to write short segments about this topic in future blogs, to initiate dialogue.

As mentioned earlier, summer came in with a vengeance last week! This was a welcome change from the cold, raw March and April we endured! Does this mean a hot summer is on the way? I would not go that far with that statement just yet. My official summer forecast we be published 3 weeks from today! I will say this, after this week, May is looking on the toasty side. This is welcome news for folks looking to enjoy some early summer weather! Thereafter, the early start to summer may continue into June, which is looking hotter than normal for a change.

On average, Boston typically receives approximately 12 to 15 days of 90 degree days in any given summer. Boston already has one day in the books, as last Thursday hit 90 degrees in Boston for the first time this season! Last summer, Boston hit 90 degrees 12 times, which fell short of the 14 I was predicting for the city. How many 90 degree days am I expecting this summer?? You will have to check out my forecast on May 28th!

It will be a great week for camping and hiking this week. Seasonable temperatures and little rain will make it pleasant to be outdoors. As for the beach, water temperatures are still recovering from winter levels. In addition, cooling seabreezes will make it feel a bit chilly along the coast. It’s still a bit early for real beach weather my summer friends! Temperatures will warm up after this week, heading towards the Memorial Day weekend. Consistent beach weather may have to wait until June, which is perfectly normal around here.

Now for your weekly outdoor spring activity forecast. I will rate this week another 8 out of 10. This will end up being a more typical week of spring weather around here. Expect increasing sunshine for the rest of today, amidst some high cloudiness. A colorful sunset watch is in effect for this evening! A seabreeze will keep things cooler along the coast, with highs only in the upper 50’s. Go about 10 miles away from the water, and you will enjoy temperatures in the middle 60’s.

Tonight will be fair and cool, with lows in the 40’s regionwide. Tuesday will be touch warmer, with plentiful sunshine. Temperatures may reach 70 inland, but deduct 10 degrees along the coast. At least it’s 60 and not 40! Fair weather will continue tomorrow night, with lows near 50.

Wednesday will be even a touch warmer than tomorrow. With a few more clouds, temperatures will warm to the lower 70’s inland, and mid 60’s along the coast.

For the period of Thursday through Sunday, I’m expecting generally dry weather. However, there will be some disturbances moving through the flow that will be difficult to pin down timing. At this point, I am not anticipating any washouts. There could be some scattered showers at any point through the weekend. At the same time, there will be periods of fine spring weather, this includes Mother’s Day! Temperatures will be comfortable, with highs mainly in the 60’s and 70’s.

Well that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will be dropping more hints about our summer forecast. I will also talk about some interesting events happening globally…such as the volcanic activity in Hawaii, wow! I will also have a new outdoor activity forecast. In the meantime, enjoy the seasonable weather, and thank the extremes for it!

~Happy Mother’s Day to all, including my Mom!~

Thanks for reading!

Pete

Boom! 4/30/18

Hello! I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend! Overall, the weather wasn’t too bad compared to what it has been. Saturday was a stellar spring day, with sunny skies, light winds, and a very comfortable temperature of 70 degrees! I was very happy to see the nice weather for what I believe was the 22nd annual Shamrock Shootout street hockey tournament held on Temple Street in West Roxbury on Saturday.

This is a great family event for kids and adults alike! Typically held around St. Patrick’s Day, the event has been postponed to later dates in recent years due to excessive snowfalls and very cold temperatures. I hope those who attended enjoyed! Sunday was cooler, and started off dark and rainy. However, the sun came out during the afternoon, leading to a pleasant surprise to many, including myself!

Last week brought many firsts. For one, we finally declared that winter was over! The weather last week only reinforced this declaration, with warmer temperatures, especially on Monday and Tuesday. A storm system brought rainy weather on Wednesday. The nice nice weather returned again on Thursday, only to turn rainy again on Friday. This is fairly consistant at what April weather is all about. They don’t say April showers bring May flowers for nothing! So we should expect some rain this time of year.

With the warmer temperatures, we began to see a marked increase in green up across the area. The forsythia are finally out in full force, as well as daffodils and many other colorful flowers. I also noticed an increase in trees beginning to bloom, and the grass is finally turning green! All these are encouraging signs that spring is indeed here, and we can finally close the book on winter 2017-18!

Before we completely close the book on winter, I did want to write an overview on our fascinating winter. For meteorologists and weather enthusiasts as myself, winter 2017-18 was one for the record books! We may have received more snow in other winters, but find me a winter that featured so many challenging storms to track, extreme cold, and record warm weathr too! Who would of ever thought with such a unprecedented warm autumn, that we would of been in for such a winter?

The key was the sudden change to colder weather in mid November. I have mentioned it many times before, but this is a very important sign I look for during late autumn, as to what type of a winter we may be in for. Had that unseasonably warm weather continued through the end of November, the winter, as a whole, would of been much less severe. This, along with my other 16 signs I implement, pointed to a winter of wild extremes, with above average snowfall! Had it not been for certain global telecnnections, I may have been forecasting a winter similar to 2014-15. Thankfully, it did not reach that criteria. Nonetheless, frequent winter storms kept us all on our toes from December through April!

So, how did I do? Overall, I was very pleased with the forecast issued back on the Monday before Thanksgiving. In most cases, it verified much like I had anticipated it. There were some timing issues, as I did not envision the winter to linger deep into March and April as it did. As I mention in nearly all long range seasonal forecasts, I give the numbers, but it’s always an adventure on how we arrive there!

For instance, my call for snowfall in Boston was for between 60 and 70″. By the end of February, I most certainly had some doubts whether the forecast was going to verify or not! Here we were, with only 37″ of snow accumulated at the end of February, with March typically averaging 8″ or so in Boston. As luck would have it, a whopping 23″ more fell between March and the start of April, to bring the total up to 59.9″ for the season. As you can see, if you want to be technical about it, I was off by a tenth of an inch!

Other highlights of winter 2017-18 would be the bitter cold. In Boston, it was the coldest start ot any year on record! This led to harbors and bays freezing over, and icebergs and slushy waves down on Cape Cod! Still others will remember this winter for the severe coastal flooding and erosion of our coastline. This was partly due to the massive Greenland Block that developed during March, forcing large ocean storms to turn into viscious nor’easters! We started off the New Year with quite a severe blizzard in Boston on January 4th, when 14″ of snow fell, whipped by storm force wind gusts, and record coastal flooding, in some cases exceeding the Great Blizzard of ’78!

We also had a very active December, with our first snowstorm occurring on December 9th. We then had a very significant ice storm across the Boston area a week before Christmas. The Boston area was then treated to a surprise White Christmas, when a fast moving storm dropped 3 to 6″ of wind driven snow along with thunder during the Christmas morning! This introduced a record cold snap. that lingerd until January 10th.

February brought new meaning to the word extreme winter weather, when many saw their warmest February on record! Nevertheless, Boston still managed to receive two snowstorms, bringing the month to near average in that department.

The real show waited until March! The month began with a historic two day nor’easter, which featured record coastal flooding to many Massachusetts coastal communities. While this storm brought mainly rain in Boston, the next nor’easter began as rain, then changed to a wind driven heavy wet snow, resulting in severe tree damage, and widespread power outages. Just a week later, Boston was hit with yet another nor’easter, when between 15 and 18″ fell in the city, and up to 2 ft in many suburbs just west of Boston! Shortly thereafter, a fourth nor’easter threatened, but a last second shift spared us a big hit.

Storms continued to pummel the area even into April, with the focus shifting to northern New England, where many ski resorts recorded one of the snowiest March and April on record! Although many are now closed, there will be snow on some of the slopes deep into May, even June in some cases! Last year, the snow did not completely melt on Mt. Washington until July 18th. I can envision it lasting even a bit deeper into the summer this year! WoW!

Though eratic, temperatures averaged a bit below average as a whole here in Boston this past winter. This verified very well with my forecast which called for near to slightly below normal temperatures for the Boston area. I was also pleased with the forecast for higher than normal snowfall throughout much of the region, including all ski resorts! If I was a bit off, it may of been on the Cape, when many severe storms featured heavy rain or mixed precipitation. Placing all these factors together, I would give myself a B+ for a grade this winter forecast. Considering the difficulty level in making this forecast, I will take it!

Hard to believe it’s the last day of April! Many will not be sad to see this ‘false’ spring month go. Though we had some decent days recently, the month as a whole will be remembered for colder & wetter than normal weather, with frequent bouts of frozen precipitation, and a Marathon Monday storm, that will soon not be forgotten. Nevertheless, the seasons forge on! A delayed but not denied spring is in the offing!

May looks to get off to a much warmer and dryer start than April! Computer models are conflicting, but if I were to give a forecast for the month of May, I believe it’s going to actually average a bit warmer than normal, with normal amounts of rain. We typically start off May with high temperatures in the low 60’s, and end the month with highs in the low 70’s. May averages about 3 and half inches of rain. This goes in line with a much quicker start to summer this year, only to fade earlier come late August and September. My official summer forecast comes out in only a few short weeks!

As we transition into May, thoughts turn to outdoor activities such as camping and hiking! The weather for this week looks promising. Summer temperatures will surge all the way up to the Canadian border, only to cool off to normal levels by this weekend. If you are planning to do some hiking in the mountains, please keep in mind that they are coming off a very snowy winter. Snow is still be deep in the woods and higher terrain of northern New England.

As the snow melts up north, thoughts turn to gardening down here in southern New England. While many have already begun planting, there are some risks. Average last frost typically occurs around May 15th across the interior of Massachusetts. I have seen cold nights linger even into early June around here. At some point, you have to just start getting it going. There’s always a chance of a unseasonable cold snap, but the it’s the exception not the rule. So I would say go for it! Except for tomatoes, which you should hold off until Memorial Day weekend.

Now for your weekely outdoor spring activity forecast. I would give this week a solid 8 out of 10! Watch for unstable weather for the rest of your Monday. A cold pool aloft is currently swinging through New England. This results in unstable conditions, with building clouds and afternoon showers. This actually brought some accumulating snow to higher elevations of Vermont earlier today! Around here, expect chilly weather, with building clouds, and a chance of afternoon showers. High temperatures will only be in the upper 40’s!

As the sun sets, skies will tend to clear overnight. This will be one of those chilly nights I was talking about above, with lows in the 30’s across rural areas, and low 40’s across urban areas and along the coast.

Tuesday will feature more sunshine, and warmer temperatures. As the cold pool aloft pivots out of New England, temperatures will respomd, with highs near 70 degrees! Fair weather will dominate tomorrow night, with lows mainly in the 40’s and low 50’s.

As southwesterly wind will strengthen for Wednesday through Friday, sending temperatures up into the middle 80’s across much of the region! Hello summer! Even up north, temperatures will easily make a run at the 70’s! This is going to result in an explosion of blooms across the region, with tree pollen becoming a huge factor by weeks end.

Wednesday looks to be the sunniest day. However, if a front holds off, Thursday could be fairly sunny too. A cold front will begin to push towards New England on Friday, with an increase in clouds. If we see enough sun, temperatures could reach the low 80’s again. However, there’s also the chance at some showers or even a thunderstorm later in the day, which may hold temperatures down a bit. As the front clears the region, somewhat cooler and drier air will flow into the region this weekend, with highs in the 70’s on Saturday, and mid 60’s on Sunday, with mainly dry conditions.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will be beginning to discuss the summer forecast in greater detail, as we approach the forecast on Memorial Day weekend. I will also have a outdoor activity forecast, which includes a hiking, camping, and beach forecast! Certainly nice enough on Wednesday and Thursday of this week to take a trip to the beach! Don’t go in the water just yet, it’s still only in the 40’s! In the meantime, say so long to winter…as we head straight into summer! Happy May, everyone!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

Seeing Is Believing! 4/23/18

Hello! Happy Earth Day & welcome to spring! I hope everyone was able to get out and enjoy the wonderful weather this past weekend! The weather featured brilliant sunshine, light winds, and mild temperatures…just what the doctor ordered! While walking out the door this morning, signs of spring are not signs any longer, it’s here! The warm sunshine over the weekend did wonders in perking up green up! Though not quite ready for mowing, the grass is beginning to turn green, the forsythia are blooming, and many flowers are popping up all over the place. Yes, it’s a case of delayed, but not denied!

If you’ve been reading the blog for any length of time, you probably understand that winter is my favorite season. Always has been since I was a kid! This is not to say I don’t like the other seasons, I most certainly do. But if I had to classify them, I would say winter first, fall second, summer third, and spring fourth. With all that being said, I must admit, there was a refreshing look to the landscape as I walked out the door this morning. The birds were singing, the sun was shining, and the colors of spring were brightening up the dull gray landscape abound!

This is what we live for, no? I have said it to many friends who complained that the winter was too long. How can you really appreciate the spring, if we don’t receive some harsh winter weather? After I mention that, many agree! And now, we are only beginning to reap the benefits! What makes New England special is our four distinct seasons we enjoy. Our geograpghic location on earth places us in the perfect spot to enjoy all four seasons. Yes, I know, winter seems soooo long! Certain meteorological factors can ‘adjust’ our seasons to make them longer than others, in any given year. There’s just not enough time this week, but in another post, I will explain why I think some seasons overstay their welcome, such as this winter!

Speaking about long winters, many asked me over the weekend whether I believe this winter is over! If the driving nor’easter we had last Monday during the Marathon wasn’t enough, then the wet snow & sleet falling last Thursday morning drove many to the breaking point! As bad as it was, Marathon Monday could of been a lot worse! We were so close to having to face the decision of postponement for the first time in 122 years! Had it been just a few degrees colder, we would of been dealing with an icy mix of sleet and wind driven wet snow, especially across the inland portion of the race course.

Cold air from the previous day retreated just enough to the north, to allow for a miserable wind driven cold rain to fall. Yuck! As this storm moved into the Gulf of Maine, it stalled. With cold air still in place up north, many ski resorts received a tremendous amount of heavy wet snow for the rest of the week! I saw many pictures from resorts such as Wildcat, Okemo, Stowe, Mt Snow, and Sunday River at what appeared to be mid winter conditions! This was truly the winter that would not end!

Getting back to the original question…is it over?? As I told my friend, it’s never really over until after May 10th. This was the latest snowfall ever recorded in Boston, which occurred back in 1977. I’m sure it’s happened many times before in history, but this is what we have records on since 1872, which is quite a long period of time. I’m not going to say anything official, but if there’s any year when some kind of freak May snow could occur, it would be this one! Just last year, Mt Washington received a massive snowstorm with 33″ on Mother’s Day! Snow does will always occur in the mountains, during May.

With that being said, the odds greatly favor Boston’s snow season to be over. While it would never shock me to see some wet snowflakes in the air, I do believe the accumulation in the city is done. However, this brings us into our second season, when it’s still cold and raw out, just no longer cold enough to snow! You’ve seen it on tv, perhaps even experienced it, with folks bundled up with blankets and coats at Red Sox games, with temperatures in 40’s!

While the snow may be over, I wish I could say the same thing about the cold. Looking over some of the long range forecasts, chilly weather may persist even into May this year. This does not mean keep the winter coat by the door. But…don’t pack it away for good just yet. There still may be a few cold, damp days in May, that would require a winter coat. No doubt, May can be so cruel.

Just when you think we’re heading into summer, you remember that it truly is the transition month here in New England, and can feature some awfully, chilly raw days. On the flip side, May can also feature some very pleasant, warm days! Just last year, Boston experienced its earliest heat wave on record during May! So the bottom line, the outlook for the rest of the spring shows weather that is overall cooler than normal, along with slightly wetter than normal conditions through early June. No worries! We will have some some pleasant weather to offset the chill, just to remind us that spring is truly here!

Because of the extended winter, believe it or not, meteorological summer is only 5 weeks away! As a reminder, my official summer forecast will not be released until May 28th. Before that, I will be discussing my summer thoughts so you will have a good idea as to what I’m expecting. So far at this early juncture, I don’t see any strong signal either way for cool, hot, or somewhere in between. As I have mentioned before, summer is much harder to forecast than winter, in my opinion.

There never is a clear signal for the summer. It can show cool, then change to hot and humid on a dime. Jet srteam winds retreat into Canada, are pretty much non existant. In addition, teleconnections from around the globe usually offer no help. For this summer, it appears as if we will be transitioning from La Nina (cold water off South America) to El Nino (warm water off South America coast). If this cycle sounds familiar to you over the last several years, you would be correct! The Pacific Ocean cycles between La Nina and El Nino, every two to three years. This oscillation plays a very important role as to what kind of weather we see here in New England.

There are many other global factors that determine what kind of weather we will have in any given season. While the ocean temperatures play a crucial role, other factors such as solar radiation, volcanic activity, and cloud cover all play a role. Precipitation is also a very important factor. Dry winters and springs often lead to very hot summers, due to feedback effect. Same is true for very wet winters and springs. The sun has to work extra hard to evaporate the moisture from the ground. If it’s too cloudy and wet, it keeps temperatures cooler than what you would normally expect.

Right now, my early call for this summer, is for a slightly cooler & shorter summer than recent years. In fact, this year as a whole looks cooler than previous years, with winter getting going earlier next year. This does not mean no summer this year! I’m still expecting quite a pleasant summer. Many would be glad to hear I’m expecting less humidity than last summer, which means drier, more pleasant weather to be out of doors.

It could also mean the perfect equilibrium of cool air to our north, and warm air to our south, mixing just right over New England! I measure how hot our summers are, by how many 90 degree days we receive. Boston typically receives around 13 days of 90 + degree heat in a average summer. It’s just too early to tell from now to throw out a number. As we move closer to my forecast, I will hone in on this number, and give everyone my best educated guess. I have been pretty much on point the last several years, so stay tuned for that number!

Now for your weekly outdoor spring activity forecast. I will rate this week a 6 out of 10. Look for spectacular weather to continue for the rest of your Monday! Watch for tons of sun, with a deep cobalt blue sky. Temperatures will warm up to about 64 degrees inland, and cool to 58 degrees along the coast with a light seabreeze. This seabreeze will be light, and will extend only about 5 miles within the coast. But if you’re going to be at the beach, a light jacket may be required.

Tonight will feature clear and chilly weather. There may be some areas of patchy frost once again across rural areas, with temperatures in the low 30’s. Please note that it is not recommended to begin the growing season outside of Rt 128. Frost will still be an issue even into May. Along the coast and urban area, temperatures will be milder, with lows dropping to near 40 degrees.

Tuesday will be a transition day. Though it may start off with brilliant sun, clouds will be on the increase after 12 pm. Only high clouds at first, which will give the sun a hazy look to it. As the high pressure moves off the coast, a southwest wind will develop, which will boost temperatures to the mid to even a few upper 60’s across much of the region. You can deduct at least 10 to 15 degrees along the south coast, as the wind acts as a seabreeze down there.

Thickening clouds will be the theme Tuesday evening. Later on, well after midnight and most likely towards dawn, rain will begin to overspread the region from south to north. Winds will begin to freshen out of the east.

For Wednesday and into Wednesday night, expect periods of rain. A storm will track north up the coast, and will likely pass west of Boston, up into central New England. This will keep us wet and mild, with southeasterly winds. With the rain and wind off the ocean, it will still be about 10 degrees cooler than today and Tuesday across the region…so highs will be in the mid 50’s. This will not be as strong as the storm on Marathon Day, but expect pretty much a washout nonetheless, with around a half inch to one inch of rain. It will also be warm enough for plain rain even up in the mountains this time, for those who may be wondering.

The air behind the storm may be a bit unstable on Thursday. This means any early sun, would generate puffy cumulus clouds, which may lead to a few isolated showers, but no washout is anticipated. Temperatures should bump back up into the 60’s.

Expect similar weather on Friday. a fast moving storm may clip the region later Friday and Friday night, with a few showers. Thereafter, temperatures may cool down a bit heading into next weekend. Does not look like anything cold, just a bit cooler, with highs in the upper 50’s during the day, and 30’s at night. Overall, the weekend looks dry, but I can’t rule out a few showers Saturday night.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I plan on giving my winter review with a grade! Oh boy! I will also review April, and have my outlook for the month of May. I will also begin an outdoor camping and gardening segment, for those interested in those outdoor activities! In the meantime, actions speak louder than words, lucky for us, Mother Nature feels the same way! Enjoy!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

Marathon…Winter! 4/16/18

Hello! Happy Patriots Day & Happy Marathon Monday! I hope everyone had a great, weekend! The weather left a lot to be desired for, though Saturday wasn’t too bad! In light as to what’s been going on, I’m not sure whether I should mention to everyone just how warm it was not too far away from us this past Friday and Saturday. But I will! After a long winter, a huge bubble of warm to almost hot weather developed across the eastern part of the United States at the end of last week. While it reached the 60’s in many locations here in New England, temperatures soared into the 70’s and 80’s from southwest Connecticut and across much of the mid-Atlantic region. In fact, many locations warmed all the way up into the upper 80’s! Wow!

The party came to a crashing end on Sunday, as a very strong backdoor cold front blasted through the region, sending temperatures back to mid winter levels yesterday. While we saw temperatures fall some 30 degrees from Saturday, some areas in the mid-Atlanic saw temperatures plummet up to 50 degrees! Oh, it was a wild day of weather! I took a drive up to Millennium Park here in West Roxbury to watch the whole thing unfold!

First, some folks have been asking me just what the heck is a backdoor cold front? This is a good question. A backdoor cold front is a meteorological term used for a cold front that moves backwards, or from east to west, instead of the traditional west to east. In New England’s case, a backdoor front typically moves from northeast to southwest. Why does it occur, and why is it so frigid after it moves through?

Why it occurs is probably easier to explain than how it occurs. As you know, winter is refusing to leave this year. If it seems like the marathon of all winters, I would agree! The nasty weather this weekend can be traced back to a massive April storm, which crashed into California last week, and slowly has been tracking eastward across the middle of the country. This storm has fed off an extreme thermal gradient for this time of year. Bitter cold weather is persisting in southern Canada. Meanwhile, summer heat attempted to surge north. This fueled a very intense cyclone, bringing a variety of weather hazards across the country. Many areas of the upper midwest not only endured through their largest blizzard of the season, but some areas such as Green Bay, Wisconsin saw their second largest snowfall ever recorded! Other locations such as Minneapolis witnessed their largest April snowstorm in history!

This is a large, multi faceted storm, which has been affecting us here in New England since yesterday. As mentioned above, yesterday was a wild weather day here in much of New England. Here in Boston, we set an all time record low high temperature for April 15th. It had never been thais cold for that date here in Boston, since 1881! Typically, when a storm tracks into the upper midwest like this, we would be enjoying record warm temperatures! However, this pattern is so complex, this was not the case this time. And to be honest, we’re very lucky that we too are not dealing with a record snowstorm here in New England.

As been the case through most of this spring, high latitude blocking, in the form of the Greenland Block, is clogging up the usual tracks of spring storms, resulting in out of season events, which includes late season cold and snow. With the block in higher latitudes, this surpresses the jet stream further to the south, slows down storms, and also allows cold air to pool in Canada, which adds fuel to these late season storms.

Watching all this unfold was nothing short of fascinating! As mentioned above, a storm taking this track typically means record warm temperatures for us here in New England. So, what happened? As deep low pressure moved into the Great Lakes, strong high pressure began to build in eastern Canada. At the same time, another massive storm was spinnning off of Newfoundland. This, in conjunction with the high pressure in Quebec, began to drive a cold front from northeast to southwest across New England, then further south into the mid Atlantic region. Colder than normal ocean temperatures mutes warm air from arriving too quickly here in coastal New England. The cold ocean helps push the cold air from the ocean into the coastal plain, especially this time of year.

Because of the block, the forward motion of the storm in the Great Lakes has stalled. This forces energy transfer to the mid Atlantic coast. If this sounds like a winter time set up, you’re correct! This is how we get some of our larger nor’easters in the winter! This storm is now intensifying in the mid Atlantic region, and is what’s bringing us a windswept driving rainstorm today!

While it was plenty cold enough for snow yesterday, temperatures have warmed up just enough, to result in mainly rain across much of eastern Massachusetts today. However, this was not the case yesterday! As the backdoor cold front moved through, a surge of very cold air came in off the ocean, resulting in frequent snow squalls across much of the region yesterday. I was giving my sister Pam a play by play account as I was watching the snow squalls from on top of Millennium Park roll in off the ocean like sheets of fog! With the wind blowing up to 40 mph, it truly felt like a real nor’easter! There was not much accumulation, however in one of the heavier squalls, the ground did briefly turn white!

This was not the end of the story. As the storm began to develop down the coast last night, winds began to steadily increase off of the ocean, resulting in the atmosphere moistening up across much of southern and central New England. After early sleet here in Boston, temperatures warmed up just enough for mainly rain to fall inside of Rt 128. However, it was a different story north and west from here. It turned into a very icy situation, with many hours of snow, sleet and freezing rain falling, resulting in icy road conditions and a very wintery scenario indeed!

The weather today could be one of the worst, for the running of the 122nd Boston Marathon. The storm is only slowly moving up the coast, and intensifying all the way. Because of the strong high pressure to our north, the pressure gradient is increasing, resulting in very gusty easterly gales, blowing right into the runners bodies. In addition, periods of torrential downpours are moving across the region today, adding to the misery of the runners and spectators.

In many years, thousands of folks are out enjoying mid spring weather, wearing shorts, t-shirts, flip flops, and enjoying the warm sun at Marathon parties. Back on 2012, we saw temperatures close to 90 degrees…this is not the case this year! Nevertheless, good luck to all participating! Certainly a tough break for all who spent many hours and made such dedication in training for this event.

Briefly switching gears, many are anticipating the spring timetable. If I don’t do it now, I’m afraid it may need to be cancelled for the year. We are running a good three weeks behind schedule. Interesting to note, this was the same scenario back last fall, when we were running a good three to four weeks behind schedule due to too much warm weather. It’s no secret Mother Nature loves to balance things out! What’s fair is fair!

With that being said, it will not take too much to get things cooking. A few warm days, and the grass will quickly respond. I have seen the Forsythia begin to bloom. Trees will need quite a bit of coaxing before they feel safe enough to bloom. Typically, Boston runs on a six month cycle with mowing grass. Mowing season begins May 1st, and ends on October 31st. Leaves are typically fully bloomed by mid May or so. And it’s normally safe to plant tomatoes by Memorial Day. Last frosts in the city average April 10th, but can be a full 4 to 6 weeks later in the suburbs and up north. We are running behind schedule in all accounts this year! Looking at some of the long range charts, we may not be fully in the clear of winter’s chill until around Memorial Day or so this year. Ouch!

Now for your weekly outdoor spring activity forecast. I will rate this week a 6 out of 10, weighted heavily on the weather expected for next weekend. For the rest of today, expect a washout! Be prepared for sheets of torrential rain, strong winds, and possibly even a few thunderstorms later this afternoon. With winds whipping in off the ocean, temperatures will not get too warm, perhaps close to 50 by days end, as the center of the storm tracks close to us.

Later tonight, the storm will begin to pull out, and we will be left with a brisk west/southwest wind, and clearing skies. It will turn chilly, but not cold, with lows mainly in the 30’s and 40’s.

Tuesday may start off with some sun, but a pocket of instability air above will be moving across New England. This may bring more snow showers to the mountains, and possibly a few rain showers down here. It will be brisk, with highs in the lower 50’s. Skies should clear out again tomorrow night, and temperatures will cool off into the 20’s in rural areas, and 30’s in the urban areas.

Wednesday looks like it’s shaping up to be a decent day with a mixture of sun and clouds, and a brisk west wind. High temperatures will be closer to seasonable norms, with highs in the lower to mid 50’s.

We may take another step back on Wednesday night and Thursday. A fast moving storm will be tracking across the country, and will likely pass just south of New England. Most will see a period of rain and showers move through, which may linger into Thursday. Across the interior, and up in elevated areas, this too may bring a round of wintery precipitation and wet snowfall. This is partly due to the storm tracking south of New England. This places us on the colder side of the storm, with north to northeast winds. Nonetheless, I do believe the wintery precipitiation will be confined to the hiils and mountains of New England, not the coastal plain.

This storm should continue to pull away, and we should expect clearing skies on Friday. It will continue to be on the coolish side, with highs in the lower 50’s for many. Expect clear and chilly weather overnight on Friday.

Right now, the good news I have for you today, is that I’m expecting generally fair and dry weather for many over next weekend. With temperatures close to seasonal levels, it may be great day to do some spring skiing? There’s plenty of snow left up in many northern ski resorts, where many areas have gotten pounded with winter storms over the past two months or so. Temperatures should mainly run in the mid to upper 50’s around here, and mid to upper 40’s up north.

Well, that’s about it for now! In next week’s blog, I will be elaborating a bit more on our delayed spring timetable. I also would like to post my summer preview for planning purposes. Hard to believe the start of meteorological summer is only 6 weeks away! My official forecast will not be published until Memorial Day. I may also have my winter recap and grade myself for the forecast! In the meantime, it may be a Marathon Winter, but think of what I said on how Mother Nature likes to balance things out!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

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! 🙂

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

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