Thursday Discussion : Two Storms to Track

By Thursday morning, the rain and wet snow showers associated with the cold front should be over, and temperatures should be holding in the upper 30s and low 40s around the region.  So that will allow us to divert all of our attention to tracking 2 weather systems.  One has the potential to be an icy headache Friday evening… the other, has the potential to bring a snowy Sunday surprise.

Friday PM Wintry Mix

A storm system near Chicago will have a warm front extending all the way to the east coast on Friday evening.  With that front, will be moisture overrunning cold air at the surface.  That sets the stage for sleet changing to freezing rain, and then to plain rain (especially in the valley).

Futurecast Radar: 7pm Friday to 5am Saturday

It’s looking more likely the moisture holds off until 6pm to 9pm around the region, but it is likely to begin as freezing rain and sleet for everyone north of I-287… with temperatures at the onset expected to be 30° to 32°.  Temps rise a couple degrees 32° to 35° across much of the valley… allowing the precip to fall as mainly rain from I-84 south by midnight… and by 3 or 4am for the rest of the valley.  The Catskills may remain mostly freezing rain, with temperatures pinned in the low 30s.  The moisture exits the region shortly after sunrise on Saturday… and conditions improve.  The worst issue Friday night, is for anyone who must travel after dark… you could run into some icy conditions.  So we will be sharing any updates as we get closer to the event.  The best bet, is to plan to stay off the roads if at all possible Friday night.

Sneaky Sunday Snow

This event is far from certain, but we have been sniffing out the potential for a few days now.  Computer guidance is becoming more and more interested with the potential for this storm system.

Northeast US Futurecast Weather : 7am Sunday through 1pm Monday
This view of New England shows a intensifying coastal low pressure moving northeastward on Sunday.  Snow overspreads the Hudson Valley and falls moderately to heavily for several hours, before tapering off by sunrise on Monday.  The timing is a bit different depending on the data you look at.  But if the scenario above were to play out, it would be a widespread 3 to 6 inch snowfall for the Hudson Valley.  The guidance shifts around the start time and the accumulation, as well as the temperature.  So we’ll need to monitor this closely.

Once again, when we look at the temperatures across the northeast compared to average… it’s very mild.

Projected Temperatures in the Northeast, Compared to Average:

These are quite warm temperatures around the entire northeast.  When you think of snow, you think of cold air, or at least air temperatures near average.  The relative weather pattern is quite mild, and yet here we are, considering the potential for snow on Sunday / Sunday night.  We will be monitoring the potential very closely over the next 24 to 36 hours.  We’ll keep you updated.

Have a great final day of 2020!  Happy New Year!!

Wednesday Discussion : Icy End to the Week

After some scattered snow flurries and snow showers on Tuesday, the Hudson Valley is back in the grasp of wintry air.  Wednesday will continue the seasonal cold air, with highs in the mid 30s, before temperatures begin to rise after dark, out ahead of our next weak cold front.  Scattered rain showers will develop (and mix with sleet and freezing rain in the Catskills) by midnight… and be with us through sunrise on Thursday.

Futurecast Radar (Eastern US) : Wednesday PM – Early AM Saturday

The concern then arises as the low pressure system pushes northward in the midwest.  It will spread moisture north all the way to the east coast as shown in the futurecast above.  As the moisture runs into the cold air at the surface, a period of freezing rain and sleet appears likely.

Futurecast Radar : Friday Evening                                                                      

The moisture likely moves into the Hudson Valley between 4pm and 8pm on Friday.  When it does, temps are likely to be 30° to 32° around the region (with some upper 20s in the Catskills).  This will allow the rain to freeze on contact to many surfaces.  So freezing rain and sleet are likely to fall at the onset Friday evening.  Southerly winds should continue through the evening, slowly warming temps into the mid 30s, and above freezing.  So much of the valley is expected to change over to a cold rain before midnight.  The Catskills could be a degree or two warmer, and thus remain as freezing rain and sleet for a bit longer.  We will have to keep a close eye on how this event unfolds.  For now, it appears that Friday evenings will see the potential of some icing and hazardous travel conditions.  We will keep you posted on this potential over the next day or so.

Tuesday Discussion : Tricky Weather Pattern Ahead

As we close out 2020, the weather pattern is not looking particularly wintry.  Since having a significant snow event nearly 2 weeks ago, the pattern has shifted into a rather mild pattern once again.  Looking quickly at the long range, it’s rather difficult to find any clear signals for snow.

But the computer models are having considerable trouble with the pattern.  we can tell that because we’re seeing a lot of variability in the models.  Look at the 500mb (Jet Stream) trend over the last 3 days.  The model is forecasting for sunrise on New Year’s Day

Last 3 days of 500mb Pattern projection for 7am January 1, 2021

Remembering that this is supposed to be the same moment in time… if the model had a good handle on the pattern, all of these images would look the same.  You can see the dramatic shift in the upper level low pressure’s position.  Three days ago, we were thinking that New Year’s Eve would look a lot like Christmas Eve.  Luckily, the pattern projection had shifted considerably, so that a flooding rain and damaging wind gust event is no longer expected.  However, we now have to worry about the potential for a wintry mix on Friday.

Futurecast Radar : 1pm Friday

You can see, that instead of temps again near 60° (like the models were showing 3 days ago)… temps are not looking to be in the upper 20s and low 30s, with snow changing to sleet and freezing rain… before eventually a cold rain settles in late on Friday.

Now, things have changed considerably in the last 48 to 72 hours, so we could still see some additional changes in the forecast.  The key is that with models adjusting so dramatically, its safe to expect notable changes to the tail end of the 5 day forecast (day 4 and 5).  There are not significant global indicators with MJO in the null phase (some day we’ll do a detailed explainer on the MJO).  Sparing you the details on what the MJO is… the result of the current MJO pattern, is that the models will likely struggle with the conditions further down stream.  So we’ll likely be seeing a lot of changes to the mid range pattern in the coming days.  When we first looked at Friday before it appeared on the 5 day forecast, it was near 60°… and now we’re talking about a wintry mix possibility just 3 days later.

We’ll likely have more information on Tuesday, regarding timing… and how much ice could fall across parts of the region.  But you can get our latest ideas on the 5 Day Forecast.

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday Discussion : Quiet Start to the Last Week of 2020

A relatively quiet start to the final week of the year.  A weak storm system will pass by to our north on Monday, spreading snow into southern Canada.  But for us locally, some clouds and a few spotty rain or wet snow showers will be all we see.

Futurecast Radar : Monday 7am – 7pm

Temps on Monday will climb into the mid 40s out ahead of a cold front.  That cold front will send temps tumbling back down into the low and mid 20s Monday night.  Northwest winds will make it feel more like the teens.  Tuesday is the coldest day of the week, with temps struggling to the low 30s in the afternoon, under a mix of clouds and sun, with a stray flurry or snow shower possible.

Our next storm threat comes on Thursday.  A cold front will push southward early on Thursday, with some rain showers ending as wet snow in the mountains.  The cold front will allow cold air to sink into the region Thursday night.  This cold air at the surface could set the stage for some icing problems in the upper Hudson Valley and Catskills on Friday.  A larger storm system will move into the midwest on Friday, and spread moisture northward into the Hudson Valley.  It’s possible the cold air lingers as the moisture arrives, and freezing rain could be a problem… mainly in the traditionally coldest areas.  We’ll have more on this potential Monday night, but for now, it appears a mostly rain event for the region.  Either way, a complex setup for the start of 2021.

Have a good start to your week!

Saturday Discussion : Tumbling Temps

We hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas, and hope that everyone’s power has been restored, and that damage was kept to a minimum. We’ll have separate posts later today and tonight about the flooding and wind damage around the region.
In the wake of the storm, the cold has rushed back into the Hudson Valley. Temps hit a record high of 65° in Poughkeepsie on Christmas day, breaking the old record of 63° which was set in 1964. But those warm temps are just a memory now, as much of the region is in the upper 20s and low 30s on Saturday afternoon. The west winds will gust over 15mph at times, and give us wind chills in the teens and low 20s. Certainly a dramatic change when compared to our weather from early Christmas morning. Temperatures Saturday night will fall into the upper teens and low 20s under a mostly clear sky. Sunday will remain seasonably cold, with highs in the mid to upper 30s.
Looking forward, a weak clipper system will pass by to our north, remaining in southern Canada. There is a chance some limited moisture reaches into our region for Monday morning, with some spotty rain and wet snow showers. The impact to our activities looks minimal as that weak system pushes east. Behind that system, another reinforcing shot of cold air moves into the Hudson Valley. Our next storm system appears likely to arrive just in time for the start of the new year. We’ll have to monitor the potential… but it appears likely to be in the form of rain, not snow.
Have a great Saturday afternoon!

Thursday Morning Discussion : High Wind Warnings

The projection for our Christmas Eve / Christmas Day storm system continues to be quite ominous.  We have two different concerns that are significant.

*High Wind Warning* – sustained winds 20 to 30mph, with gusts up to 55mph.

This wind map is not quite as severe as the one posted on Wednesday.  That said, still very much capable of causing down trees and power lines.
Timing the worst winds:  7pm Thursday – 7am Friday
These gusts could be upward of 55mph at times, and if the other guidance is correct, over 60mph.  Damaging wind events are difficult for models to interpret, so the models could be slightly over done.  Lets hope that’s the case, so we minimize the power outages.  However, please plan for the loss of electricity Thursday night into Friday morning.  Plan for the worst, hope for the best.

*Flash Flood Watch* in effect for the entire region.

With 6″ of snow pack on the ground… the combination of temps near 60° and rainfall totals like what you see projected in the image above… flash flooding is a concern.  Ice and snow may be clogging drainage, and could enhance the concern for flash flooding.  We recommend taking steps early on Thursday to mitigate any problems, by clearing runoff areas, or clearing any snow and ice that may be preventing the flow of runoff water.  If you live in a flood prone area, please be sure to make sure to take any preventative action you can on Thursday, ahead of what is likely to be 1 to 3 inches of rain.
Timing the heaviest rain : 9pm Thursday – 9am Friday

We have a detailed outlook on the storm from Wednesday.  The information is still accurate and valid, so please check there for more information:
Wednesday’s Storm Discussion

We also have a video storm discussion if you really want the long version.  Please feel free to check it out, but know that it’s a LOT of content, and not for everyone.
Video Discussion : Christmas Storm Discussion

Wednesday Discussion : Stormy Christmas Looming

We’re tracking a strong storm system for Christmas eve and Christmas Day.  There are several aspects to this storm that have the potential to cause significant problems for the Hudson Valley.  Lets explain the setup first, and then we’ll focus on the potential problems.

A deepening low pressure over the Great Lakes will push northeast into Canada.  Behind the front is a lot of very cold, arctic air… but out ahead of the front, are strong southerly winds that will bring warm air into the Hudson Valley.  Highs on Thursday will surge into the low and mid 50s.  We’ll see rain showers develop ahead of the front as warm, moist air surges northward.  Here are the projected temperatures Thursday afternoon and overnight…
With so much warm air arriving so quickly, and the potential for heavy rain, snow melt, and flash flooding will become a concern.  Here’s the futurecast radar for Thursday evening and overnight…

Futurecast Radar : 6pm Thursday – 10am Friday

Bands of heavy, soaking rainfall push through late Thursday night, and with a saturated ground, and several inches of snow remaining on the ground… the high rainfall amounts become a concern for flooding.

The ingredients are not looking very good.
– We’ve got 6 inches to a foot of snow on the ground left over from last week’s storm.
– We’ve got temperatures rising into the 50s and near 60°
– We’re expecting 1.5 to 3 inches of rainfall in 24 hours
Unfortunately, the combination of these factors points directly to the potential for flash flooding.  We’ll need to be alert to the potential for flash flooding, especially in the traditionally flood prone areas.  On top of all this, the possibility of clogged drainage and blocked drain pipes will enhance flooding concerns with the rapid runoff of snowmelt and rainfall.  You know if you’re in an area prone to flooding issues… if you are, please make sure you take the precautionary steps to unclog drains, and take other steps to minimize the flooding concerns as much as possible.
Unfortunately, this is not the only concern… we’re also very concerned about the winds…

Damaging Wind Gusts a Concern

With high pressure off the east coast giving us strong southerly winds… and a strong low pressure over the great lakes pushing arctic air in from the west, the potential for very strong wind gusts exists Thursday night into Friday.  Here is a simulation of the peak wind gusts from sunset on Thursday, through sunrise on Friday

Projected Maximum hourly wind gusts : 7pm Thu – 7am Fri

This simulation shows that for nearly a 12 hour period, the wind could gust over 45mph… and possibly gust upwards of 60mph!  These kind of wind gusts have the potential to damage around the Hudson Valley, and could bring down trees and powerlines.  A “High Wind Warning” is likely for much of the area… in fact, “High Wind Watches” are already in effect for gusts over 60mph.

Other computer guidance agrees, on the fact that the entire Hudson Valley could see gusts over 50mph, and that the eastern half of the region could see gusts even stronger, possibly over 60mph!  These conditions are certainly capable of causing down trees and powerlines, and the timing could not possibly be worse.  These winds will howl Christmas eve night, and into the pre-dawn hours on Christmas morning.  The potential for many residents to be without power Christmas morning exists, so residents should plan for that very grim potential.  With any luck, the winds will not materialize in the magnitude we expect, and be confined to places off shore.  However, it is wise to be prepared for power outages Friday morning.

We will certainly be tracking this over the next 36 hours, as the system makes its way into our area.  The weather certainly is not cooperating with our Christmas plans, as the white Christmas will be washed away, and instead we’ll be left with flash flooding and damaging wind gust concerns.  Please try to have a nice afternoon.

Monday Discussion : Winter Officially Arrives

Winter officially began at 5:02am this morning… so now the season officially matches the foot of snow on the ground around the Hudson Valley.
We’ve got more sunshine than originally expected for our Monday around the Hudson Valley, with temperatures climbing into the upper 30s and low 40s as a result. Clouds will push back into the region tonight, ahead of a weak clipper system that does not have much moisture with it. A few snow flurries or snow showers are possible tonight into Tuesday morning… with a dusting possible in a few spots. Cold air will push back into the region behind the system Tuesday night and Wednesday… before warmer southerly winds return for Thursday out ahead of our next storm system. Temps will warm into the 40s and possibly low 50s on Thursday, with rain developing (most likely during the afternoon). Rain and wind are likely Thursday night, before an arctic cold front pushes through, and tries to change the rain over to wet snow before ending Friday morning.
We will be tracking the system over the next few days, and let you know if any of the details change. But it’s likely that much of our snow will melt on Christmas eve, before a flash freeze is possible for Christmas day.

Sunday Discussion : A Snow Shower or Two

Our weekend started out rather quiet across the Hudson Valley on Saturday.  Sunday still looks rather tranquil… but a weak system heading out to sea could touch off a few light snow showers, which may cause a headache or two.

Futurecast Radar : Sunday 6am – 12am Monday

The bark is very likely worse than the bite on this futurecast radar.  Cloudy skies on Sunday will likely lead to snow showers developing around mid day on Sunday as the weak low pressure passes by to our southeast.  A couple pieces of weak atmospheric energy will create just enough instability to generate a brief period of light snow.  A dusting to an inch is possible as the light snow pushes northeastward on Sunday.  The best chance for light snow will be east of the Hudson River.  It will continue to be cold, so it’s possible that some light snow accumulation on roadways will be a concern.  Afternoon highs on Sunday should climb into the mid 30s… but we should be concerned about some slick spots on untreated roadways.  If you’re travelling during the late morning and early afternoon… and some light snow begins to fall, make sure you use proper caution on the roads.

The good news, is that this moisture is light, and fast moving… and may not impact most of the region.  But the threat is there, so we want to exercise caution.  The moisture exits as quickly as it moves in, and by sunset… we’re left with just cloudy skies.

Those cloudy skies will be with us for the start of the work week, as a trough lingers in the eastern US.  A few spotty light snow flurries are possible, but Monday looks mainly cloudy with temps once again in the mid to upper 30s for highs.  We’re watching a weak clipper system that could spread snow showers into the region overnight Monday into Tuesday, but that system is also very weak, and is projected to fall apart by the time it reaches the east coast.  We’ll keep monitoring it none the less.

We hope everyone enjoys their Sunday, and has a great end to their weekend!

Winter Storm Recap : 12/16/20 – 12/17/20

Our first major winter storm of the season, and Poughkeepsie saw practically the same amount of snow between Wednesday and Thursday… as they saw for the entire 2019-2020 season.  Poughkeepsie saw 15.0″ of snow per the National Weather Service report, just one inch less than the station recorded all season last year.  So needless to say, the 2020-2021 winter is off to a fast start.  So lets take a look at the performance of the HVW forecast, against the recorded results from the National Weather Service.  Lets start by looking at the HVW forecast…

Now lets look at the snow history maps from the NWS and snow totals….


Hi-Resolution Snow History Map

In totality… our forecast was respectable, and was in the low end (or near the low end) of the forecast range.  In our 10-18 inch forecast range for SE Orange, Rockland, Westchester, Putnam and extreme southern Dutchess counties.  Based on the NWS data, in those areas, we saw a lot of 10″ to 12″ totals.  Beacon, Cold Spring, New City, Warwick, Mahopac… all had 10 to 13 inches of snow.  The Mid Hudson Valley was the region where snow totals were “underwhelming” in terms of the HVW forecast.  A lot of 11″ to 14″ totals could be found.  Very respectable totals, but a tick lower than the 16″ to 24″ which was forecast.  Heading into the Upper Hudson Valley and Catskills… that 16 to 24 inch forecast worked out nicely, with a lot of 1.5 foot to 2 foot totals in those areas.

The forecast was well thought out, the only thing that could not be accounted for, was the track of the upper level low.  When dealing with storm systems like this, the heaviest snow amounts are found just to the NW side of the upper low track.

It’s a subtle difference in the track of the upper level low (ULL).  But on the north side of the upper level low, you find incredible upward motion that generates extremely heavy precipitation rates.  That’s how we accounted for the tremendous snow totals near Binghamton, and extending to Albany and points north.  The forecast track of the ULL would have move over NYC, putting the Hudson Valley in the band of heaviest snow.  That was the primary motivation behind the 16 to 24 inch forecast across the Hudson Valley.  Remember, we had multiple pieces of data that suggested that we were going to be under-done with our forecast.

The most conservative model at times shows this as the result… and the cause was the ULL track expectation to be over NYC.  But in the end… the ULL was just a tiny bit stronger than projected… not even by 1 decameter.  But that tiny difference, was enough to amplify the trough enough to track about 50 miles further north than expected.  And that shift pushed the crippling snowfall to our north.  A very close call… but we’re pretty sure that most people won’t hold it against us.

For the first storm of the year, it is going to be difficult to top.  Odds are it will be the heaviest snow of the season in the northeast… and probably for the Hudson Valley.  But considering how active the weather pattern looks, perhaps that won’t be the case.  Time will tell.  But we thank you all for tracking this storm with us.  We greatly appreciate all of your support… and look forward to forecasting more storms for you as we go through the rest of December, and on into 2021.