Well to say that forecasting this winter has been a bit fickle, some winters we see every storm trend colder and snowier, and watch the track of the storms slowly adjust themselves into more and more favorable positions as the hours get closer, then some winters we watch storms trend warmer and warmer, every storm have a transitional zone that always seem to set up right through our region, tracks that are not conducive to all snow events, and cold air that seems to be available when storms arenas and warm air that arrives in time to meet every storm that does show up. A headache for a forecaster, a let down for a skier, a bad season for a snow removal expert and a bummer for snow lovers alike.
While myself and Bill were discussing this storm of the last few days, one of the conversations we had while going over our forecast was the fact that when a winter get habitual about underperforming, under producing or managing to be warmer than expected, its best to adjust your forecasting as such. This is why our preliminary forecast was much lower than what was out there yesterday and why our final forecast is……. wait for it….. NOT changing from our preliminary forecast. We are going to continue to err on the side of caution and keep the forecast on the lower side.
We have low level warmth to contend with, some down-sloping effect, daylight snowfall, and a somewhat progressive system. With that said, we expected localized heavier amounts in the higher locations, Hudson Highlands, Gunks, Taconics and Southern and Eastern Catskills. We expect areas away from the valley floor and into the hill towns and higher elevations to also see the higher accumulations. Snow will likely turn to rain across our southern most zones, and into the valley locations, just how far north up the valley that warm air progresses (ie Newburgh,Poughkeepsie,Kingston) is to be determined. In events like this it is not uncommon for the times of heaviest precipitation to see it fall as snow, and as it lightens it up it may turn back to a wintry mix and vice versa as the precipitation rates fluctuate. This is because despite the warmth flooding up the valley at the lower levels, the temps in the upper atmosphere and mid level atmosphere will mostly remain below freezing. This can cause heavy snow to pull down that cold air and cool the entire column down enough for snow, this is called dynamic cooling.
All of that aside, the roads and other surfaces are very cold after two nights of lows in the teens, this means that at the onset of snowfall, travel will get slick quite quickly and only worsen where snow continues to fall. Areas that do transition to rain also have another threat to contend with. Cold air will once again crash in behind this system tomorrow night. Areas where rain is falling will transition back to a period of snow, and yes you guessed it, flash freeze again. No need to panic, we know the routine! We are experts now at this smorgasboard of precipitation, we either leave the snow to get rained on and then frozen into permafrost that must be removed with hydronic fluid powered equipment, or we attack it before! Work smarter not harder! Also keep in mind that the winds and temps behind this storm will once again be brutal! Be prepared
Timing on Tuesday:
– 8am to 12pm: Light snow develops from west to east, may be delayed across areas of east of the river
– 1pm to 8pm: Snow falls moderate to heavy at times
– 3pm to 7pm: Snow could mix with rain south of I-84
– 7pm to 11pm: Snow tapers from west to east
– Temps below freezing at start… snow sticks to all surfaces
– Temps rising near freezing as snow intensifies, heavy wet snow possible
– Similar to early season snowstorm, low snow ratios & more at higher elevations
– Snow covered and icy roads likely, especially north of I-84
– Warm air at surface may mix/change to rain the further south you go
– Catskills (Zone 1,2,5,6): 4 to 8 inches (locally 10″ in highest elevations)
– Mid & Upper Hudson Valley (Zone 3,4,7): 2 to 6 inches (locally 8″ in highest elevations)
– Lower Hudson Valley (Zone 8,9): Coating to 3 inches (locally 5″ in Hudson Highlands)