Final Storm Forecast : Saturday 1/6 – Sunday 1/7

Timing:
– Starts- SW to NE between 4-7pm Saturday
– Ends- From W to E between 12-4PM Sunday
– Light snow showers could persist through sunset.
– Precipitation Heaviest: 6pm Saturday -4am Sunday with snowfall rates potentially exceeding 1” per hour

Impacts :
– Winds- Gusting between 15-35 mph with max gusts on Sunday AM.
– Snow consistency- Average (heavy/wet lower HV)
– Precipitation Types- Mainly snow, mixing possible across southern Westchester and Rockland Counties
– Power Outages- Isolated outages possible
– Snow covered & icy roads likely, very hazardous travel

Snow Accumulations:
Columbia, Dutchess, Putnam, N Rockland (Zone 3,4&8)= 5-8”
Western Hudson Valley & Catskills (Zone 1,2,3,5,6,7) = 6-10”
S. Rockland & Westchester (Zone 8,9)- 2-5”

We continue to have a challenging forecast, even as we are 24 hours out from the start of this storm.   The general setup remains the same, we just continue to see details waiver between the data, and it could cause some issues with snow totals.

Low pressure develops in the southeast, moves northeast on Saturday afternoon, and spreads light snow into the Hudson Valley from SW to NE between 4pm and 7pm in general.  The heavy bands of snow will move in quickly, and snowfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour are possible at times between sunset and sunrise on Sunday.  By the time the sun rises on Sunday, the Hudson Valley is likely to have a widespread 6 inches of snow on the ground.  The Catskills will be the jackpot zone once again.  There will be a bullseye in the eastern Catskills from near Hunter, into northern Ulster County… where 1 to 2 feet of snow will fall in those highest mountains.

WILDCARDS
There are a couple ‘wildcards’ that could cause major surprises in the snowfall totals.

Downslope East of the Catskills:  The areas east of the Hudson River could see some downsloping from this event, with temperatures closer to freezing.  Some guidance holds snow amounts down around 4 or 5 inches in the areas we have forecast 5 to 8 inches.  This is the reason we have low snowfall forecast numbers in those areas.  If this does not occur, these areas could see similar totals to the rest of the Hudson Valley.

Mixing w/ sleet Rockland & Westchester Counties:  Parts of Rockland & Westchester counties… where we could see some mixing with sleet due to some milder air moving into the lower Hudson Valley.  This could hold snow totals down a bit.  This is far from certain, as the guidance is uncertain regarding the mixing in these areas.

Duration & Intensity of back end snow on Sunday:  This is most difficult part of the forecast.  The secondary energy over the Ohio Valley moves through on Sunday.  The big question is how this upper level energy will interact with the surface low pressure Sunday morning.  Some guidance causes the snow to taper off and become scattered and light by mid morning… while other guidance keeps the snowfall rates significant enough to get an additional 1 to 4 inches of snow between sunrise on Sunday and mid afternoon.  If our snowfall forecast is underdone… this will be why.  If the secondary energy phases with the surface low more quickly… parts of the valley could reach 12″.  We will be watching this very closely.

Projected Snow with less organized energy

Projected snowfall if energy phases faster:

We will continue to share updates as we get closer.  A good ol’ fashion snowstorm is on the way.  Have a great start to your weekend!

Weekend Storm Discussion: Wednesday AM Update

Good morning, Hudson Valley! A chilly start to the day around the region, with temps in the mid 20s, will climb to the low 40s for highs this afternoon, under partly to mostly cloudy skies. Similar conditions will be found around the region on Thursday.
The topic on everyone’s mind continues to be the storm threat for this weekend. A low pressure system will push into the southeast US, and begin to move up the east coast on Saturday. As the storm moves north, into cold Canadian air… snow is likely to develop across parts of the Mid Atlantic and Northeast. As always, the challenge will be getting the details ironed out. The computer guidance continues to change, as we are still 3.5 to 4 days away from the event. The storm track and storm intensity continue to be uncertain. The trend over the past 24 hours has been toward a weaker storm system, that tracks a bit further south. The impact of that development for our area, is that could mean lower snow totals (especially for our northern viewers). The weaker storm solution could generate moderate snow amounts of 3 to 6 inches… while the stronger storm could result in more significant snow totals of 6 to 12 inches or more. So because we aren’t certain which solution is correct… it’s best not to focus on the forecast accumulations, and more on the potential.
 
This is the 1st potentially plowable snow event of the season. Make sure you have all the usual winter supplies that you have every year on hand. An excellent ‘winter readiness’ post was shared yesterday afternoon that gives you some tips on how to be ‘winter ready’.
We’ll continue to monitor the development of the storm over the next 24 to 48 hours. As we get closer, we’ll get a better idea of what solution is correct… and then we can provide you with more accurate details of what to expect.
 
Have a great Wednesday, and be sure to check back for updates tonight or Thursday morning!

Tuesday Weather Discussion : Pieces Are Moving

Happy New Year, Hudson Valley!  We’ve got a quiet start to the new year, with partly to mostly sunny skies expected for Tuesday.  Light NW winds are ushering in slightly cooler air, giving us highs once again in the upper 30s to low 40s.

Similar conditions are expected on Wednesday, with a mix of clouds and sun and highs again in the low 40s.  A coastal low pressure then passes by to our south on Thursday which could touch off a few snow showers in parts of the region… but the majority of the system will remain out to sea.  It will bring some colder air into the northeast, with highs in the mid 30s on Friday and Saturday.  Our eyes continue to be focused on the storm threat for the coming weekend.  A low pressure system will move east across the SE US Friday into Saturday.  The challenge, as is often the case with systems like this, will be with regard to the exact track of this system.  Some guidance suggests the blocking is weaker and the low pressure goes off shore in the Mid Atlantic.

If this scenario happens, the Hudson Valley will see little if any impact over the weekend.  However, there is guidance that brings this storm up the east coast, and delivers a sizable winter storm to the Hudson Valley and Northeast…

If this solution is the correct idea, it would be the biggest winter storm event for the Hudson Valley in more than a year.  The timing on this looks to be late on Saturday, lasting on into Sunday morning.  It’s too early to discuss snowfall totals, but snow amounts over 6″ would be possible if this system takes a favorable track and comes further north.

The challenge right now, is we need to closely watch this situation unfold.  As we get better data about the position and timing of key weather features out ahead of this system… we should get a better idea of the potential impacts on the Hudson Valley.  We’ll try to share more information each day, as we gain confidence on how this situation will play out.  For now, it’s best to monitor the situation along with us, and check back for updates.

Have a great Tuesday, Hudson Valley!

New Year’s Eve Forecast : Quiet & Chilly… But Watching Long Range

Happy New Year, Hudson Valley!  We wish you all a safe and wonderful New Year’s celebration!  The weather should cooperate with any party plans, with temperatures in the low to mid 30s and mostly cloudy skies.  A few scattered flurries can’t be ruled out around midnight, as a weak disturbance passes by tonight.  But aside from a spotty dusting of snow (most likely in the Catskills), things look quiet.  But be sure to monitor the conditions in your area, as we can’t fully rule out a dusting of snow in a few spots.

Then for New Year’s Day, we have a quiet day ahead of us.  Clouds will mix with breaks of sun, with afternoon highs right around 40° in the Hudson Valley.

BIG CHANGES ON THE WAY….

As we look down the road at the weather coming our way, there are major changes unfolding in the overall weather pattern.  Changes in global teleconnections as well as changes in tropical convection, and possibly a Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW) event, are all going to be factors that make January look and feel MUCH different than what we saw in December.  That could start as early as Thursday… but not likely….

An area of low pressure will intensify off the east coast, and could interact with a piece of energy dropping down from Canada & Great Lakes.  The interaction likely occurs too late for a major snow event, but a period of light snow does appear possible for the Hudson Valley Wednesday night into Thursday morning.  The timing will need to be fine tuned, as well as the exact impact on our area.  This storm has all the markings of a ‘Close Call’… but it does need to be watched closely to see if it can bring a little more snow than what is currently projected (dusting to an inch or so).

The much bigger threat comes next weekend, as we watch a storm threat for next Sunday…

Unlike the Thursday storm… this storm is well organized as it moves from west to east across the country.  With cold air rushing into the Northeast behind the Thursday storm… for the first time in the 23-24 winter season, the Hudson Valley will have cold air in place.  The storm is currently projected to slide up the east coast in a path that would keep the cold air locked into the Hudson Valley… and this would spread a large area of moderate to heavy snow into the Hudson Valley.  The current computer guidance would give the Hudson Valley a storm that could produce more than 6 inches of snow.

It should go without saying, that because we are 7 days away… that we are still at the point in the process where we are monitoring the development.  At this point it’s important to take note of the potential, perhaps discuss alternate plans and possibilities… but it’s too early for action.  A lot can change with regard to the track of the storm, and it could still miss us entirely.  So we want to alert you to the potential for planning purposes, but we are too far out to have high confidence on this storm.

Luckily for you, this is what we do.  We will be closely monitoring this storm as we go through the next several days.  We will share daily updates on the situation, and help guide you as we get closer… letting you know whether you need to plan for a winter storm, or whether the storm will pass us by.

Happy New Year… and thank you for all your continued support!

Wednesday Weather Discussion

– Scattered rain showers & drizzle Wednesday
– Periods of steady, heavier rain develop 5pm to 8pm
– Rain tapers Thu 4am to 8am
A storm system in the Midwest is attached to a cold front which is approaching the eastern US. That frontal boundary will touch off scattered rain showers on Wednesday morning. The showers and drizzle will be light and scattered in nature… until late afternoon or early evening (between 5pm and 8pm), when a more organized area of rain showers will move in.
Periods of light to moderate rain are expected through the night… and taper off by morning on Thursday. By that point, anywhere from 3/4 of an inch, to 1.5 inches of rain is possible around the region.
The unseasonably mild air that gave us a Poughkeepsie high of 53° on Christmas Day, continues to linger in the Hudson Valley, so we expect 2 more days of highs around 50° on Wednesday and Thursday. When the storm pushes through Thursday AM, we’re remain warm for a day or so, because the cold air is back with the upper level low pressure that is stalled in the midwest. So the seasonably cold air gradually returns this weekend.
Grab the umbrella for your Wednesday Hudson Valley!

HVW Storm Alert : Sunday Night – Monday AM

Significant Storm Impact expected across the Hudson Valley
A storm system in the Gulf of Mexico will begin climbing up the coast on Sunday, and bring significant rain and wind to the Hudson Valley.
 
– Sunday AM & PM: Low clouds, drizzle, patchy showers
– 6pm Sun to 12am Mon: Steady rain develops, breezy
– 12am to 9am Monday: Heaviest rain & strongest wind gusts
– 6am to 12pm Monday: Rain becomes scattered w/ gusty winds
– 12pm to 6pm Monday: Storm exits, remains blustery
The worst of the storm will be through the night Sunday night, into Monday morning. Heavy downpours will bring a widespread 2 to 4 inches of rain by Monday afternoon, with localized rainfall totals in higher elevations of possibly over 4 inches. Winds will be gusty, but the temperature inversion should prevent the strongest gusts from reaching the surface. Still, we have wind advisories for eastern Columbia & eastern Dutchess counties, for gusts up to 50mph. That’s where winds should be strongest… but even in the valley gusts up to 40mph are possible. It might be a good idea to secure any loose objects or outside decorations.
 
The Monday AM commute is likely to be very ugly, thanks to the combination of howling easterly winds, and driving rainfall… along with possible localized flooding. Some of the rivers and streams are projected to exceed flood stage, so if you live in a flood prone area, please plan accordingly.
 
We’ll be actively tracking this storm the next 36 hours. Please check back for regular updates…
-Bill

Winter Storm Discussion: Wide Range of Conditions Mon AM

As of sunset Sunday, temperatures are in the upper 40s and mid 50s across the Catskills & Hudson Valley… and in 12 hours, some areas will have several inches of snow on the ground, and other areas will be seeing a slushy transition from rain to wet snow. Because of the cold air arriving as the coastal storm is passing by, there are multiple factors that make this forecast a beast.
 
WILDCARD FACTORS:
– Cold air advecting into the Hudson Valley overnight behind coldfront. Layer of cold air at the surface is CRITICAL to determining rain vs snow.
– Track of deepening coastal storm… will help determine location of rain/snow line.
– Timing… how much precipitation remains once cold air arrives
– Downsloping Air… Downsloping east of the Catskills will result in sinking & warming air, which could prevent parts of valley from changing to wet snow.
You can see on the futurecast radar for 7am, almost all of the Hudson Valley is projected to turn over to wet snow. By this time, the mid layers of the atmosphere will be cold enough to support snow. However, with surface temperatures 32° to 36°, the downsloping off the Catskills could warm the air to 37° or 38° in some areas, which would result in a cold rain, or a rain & wet snow mix. Exact temperatures will be critical to whether cold rain or wet snow falls.
The Snow map reflects the marginal temperatures quite well. The Catskills & areas above 1500ft could see over 6″ of snow. The hill towns east of the Hudson River could see 1 to 4 inches of wet slushy snow, places like Columbia, Dutchess and even parts of northern Putnam county. The same goes for the Hudson Highlands in Orange County, the hills of western Orange county, and the hill towns in SE Ulster county. The most difficult forecast is for all the remaining valley areas… where conditions could change mile by mile, depending on local topography. Some areas could see a slushy coating to an inch or 2, while others could see nothing at all.
 
Conditions Monday morning are likely to be quite a mess. We will continue to update as we get closer.
 
-Bill

Monday Outlook : Drying Out and Gradually Turning Cooler

After a very soggy Sunday Across the Hudson Valley. The region saw between a half inch and 1 inch of rainfall on average. But as our storm system exits into eastern Canada, the rain has come to an end.
MONDAY : We’ll see mainly cloudy skies, a few sprinkles possible here and there. A few peeks of sun can’t be ruled out, but a mainly cloudy day is expected. Afternoon highs are expected to be in the upper 40s, to near 50°. That’s about 5 degrees above average for this time of year. So our Monday looks a bit unsettled, with a bit of a western breeze. Monday night looks mostly cloudy with a bit of a breeze… lows in the low 30s are expected, right around the freezing mark.
TUESDAY : Another mostly cloudy day with some colder air swinging across the Great Lakes and into the Northeast. Some lake effect snow showers are expected in the usual areas, while here in the Hudson Valley, a stray snow shower or flurry are possible. Highs on Tuesday should be around 40°, maybe some low 40s.
 
The rest of the week looks chilly as well. Highs on Wednesday & Thursday are expected to be in the mid to upper 30s, with a mix of clouds and sunshine. A few flurries, even a snow shower… can’t be ruled out as we go through the week, but nothing that should impact our day to day activities. Looking to next weekend, we expect another warmup, as a storm system should develop in the midwest, and move into the Great Lakes. That should keep us on the mild side of the storm, and as a result… we should expect all rain in the Hudson Valley and even the Catskills.
 
Of course, we’ll monitor the weather as we move through the week, and should something change, we’ll be sure to pass the information along. Otherwise, we hope everyone has a great start to the week!
 
-Bill

Monday Discussion : Blast of Winter on the Way

Rain will exit the Hudson Valley before sunrise on Monday, and by the time the sun comes up… skies will be partly to mostly clear. Winds will shift around to the west/northwest and gusting upward of 20mph in the afternoon, ushering in cooler air late in the day. Monday will still get to the mid and upper 40s for highs, before colder air rushes in late in the day.
 
Monday night will turn sharply colder with temps tumbling into the 20s, but NW winds will create wind chills in the low to mid 20s by Tuesday morning. The core of the cold settles in on Tuesday.
Afternoon highs in the low to mid 30s are expected on Tuesday… more typical of an afternoon in mid January. But those gusty NW winds on Tuesday will give us afternoon wind chills in the low to mid 20s. A frigid day for late November… and along with the blustery cold will be Lake effect snow flurries and snow showers, Monday night into Tuesday.  The bulk of the Lake effect snows are off to our NW… but the winds may be strong enough to carry some of the snow showers to parts of the Hudson Valley.
Something we’ll have to monitor on Tuesday as well. This bitter air mass will linger through Tuesday and Wednesday, before moderating back near normal to end the work week.
 
Some big changes coming to end the month of November. Be sure to bundle up late on Monday, and especially Tuesday morning and on into Wednesday. Have a great start to your week!
-Bill

2023-2024 HVW Winter Outlook

Every year as we approach the winter season, naturally our thoughts shift to, “What will this winter be like?”  It’s only natural to ask this question, because our winter season can either bring mild weather that has very little impact on our daily lives… or it can bring harsh winter storms that bring our lives to a standstill at times.  Since the weather can have significant impacts on our daily lives, we try to compile a Winter Outlook each year to project how the Hudson Valley will fare in the coming winter.  So while this year’s outlook may be a little late… the saying “Better late than never” certainly applies here.  So let’s take a look at the details…

Winter Temperatures : Near Average (-1.5° to +1.5° compared to average)

 

The strong El Nino in the Pacific Ocean is likely nearing it’s peak.  The effects of a strong el nino typically bring well above average temperatures to the northern and western part of the United States.  That’s the result of a persistent ridge in western Canada.  The strong El Nino also typically favors cooler and stormier than average conditions in the southeast US.  So our winter outlook takes those typical El Nino conditions into consideration.  However, there are several things about this winter’s setup that are not your typical El Nino setup.  That will bring a considerable amount of uncertainty to this winter’s weather.  This winter could experience a lot of extremes.  So while temperatures may be “near average”, some periods of extreme warmth and extreme cold are likely.

Winter Snowfall : Near to Above average (100% to 130% of avg) 42″ to 54″

 

El Nino winters are typically active and stormy along the eastern seaboard.  The typical storm track is further southeast due to the persistently active sub-tropical jet stream.  We expect this winter to be similar to other El Nino’s with an active sub-tropical jet.  But the other variables will add uncertainty to the winter, that could have big implications on our seasonal snowfall totals.  Snow requires 2 ingredients: Precipitation & cold air.  This winter should have plenty of access to precipitation, but the amount of cold air available is a wildcard.  Typical El Nino winters usually feature minimal cold air, but other factors this winter, like an Easterly QBO as well as the SST gradient in the Pacific Ocean, could make this winter look much different than traditional El Nino winters, and could give us above average snowfall this winter.  But the uncertainty here is quite high, because this winter’s setup is unlike any other in the past 30 years.

 

Methodology

The primary way we work through a winter outlook, is by reviewing the global SST (Sea Surface Temperatures).

 

The weather and climate cycle are driven by the transfer of heat energy.  The biggest stored source of heat on the planet is the tropical Pacific Ocean.  The heat transfer that occurs between the tropical Pacific and the atmosphere above it is the primary driver of global weather patterns.

THE BASIC CONCEPT : ENERGY TRANSFER BETWEEN FLUIDS (WATER & AIR)

Warmer waters will transfer some of their heat to the air above it.  Where the ocean temperatures are warmer than surrounding areas… the air above that warm water is likely to be warmer than air around it.  Warmer air rises, and rising air produces areas of low pressure.  And vice, versa… areas of cooler water are likely to have cooler air above it.  That cooler air falls or sinks, and sinking air produces high pressure.  So the areas of warmer and cooler ocean water, will favor areas of warmer or cooler air, which will produce areas of high or low pressure… that will determine our weather patterns.  This is the basic concept that drives our very complex weather patterns.

So having looked at our current SSTs… lets look at our forecasted SSTs for this coming winter.

 

So the very warm tropical Pacific … ‘A’… also known as an El Nino, favor a stormy and cooler subtropical region and southeastern US.  The warm water in the northeastern Pacific, ‘B’… with the cooler water just to the south, favor an area of low pressure over the Pacific, with a ridge of High pressure along the west coast of North America.

Lets look through history to find winters where similar conditions were in place (analog winters).  And based on those winters combined, lets’ see what the analog SST pattern would be for this winter…

 

Now this image is basically the top right quadrant of the ‘Sea Surface Temperature Forecast’ map above.  Notice ‘A’ is quite similar, but area ‘B’ has similarities… but also differences from what is forecast.  The reason for this, is because in the last 30 years, we have not had a SST profile quite like what we expect this year.  Even beyond the last 30 years, we have not seen an El Nino this strong, with a very warm Northeast Pacific, over top of cooler temperatures to the south.  The winters we collected were the closest to the forecast scenario.  The big factor (in our eyes) for this winter will be the warm ‘B’ area… very warm ‘A’ area… and the cooler waters in between.  This temperature gradient profile… could give us the active subtropical jet stream, as well as some periodic access to arctic air.

EASTERLY QBO

Another major factor to the winter forecast is a phenomenon known as the QBO or Quasi Biennial Oscillation.  The QBO measures the winds in the tropical stratosphere.  These winds switch direction from west to east every couple years (Quasi Biennial).  The full science for the QBO is a larger conversation… but what is important to know, is that easterly phases of the QBO often coincide with more Sudden Stratospheric warmings, weaker jet streams, and colder winters in the eastern US.  Here is the QBO over the past 30 years….

 

At the bottom right (circled in black) is the QBO currently in November 2023.   The other black circles represent all other winters that have a similar QBO, as well as an El Nino.  So this map shows all winters that have both an El Nino, as well as an easterly QBO.  Not every winter is a good match (analog) because the SST profile in other areas was different.  The 91-92, 93-94 and 06-07 winters were excluded from the analog because they were not as good of a match.  But that leaves us with our Analog winters of :
97-98 ; 02-03 ; 09-10 ; 14-15 ; and 19-20.  The blend of those winters gives us the Winter Outlook we came up with.

You can look back at the seasonal snow map to see that some really big winters…
02-03 = 81.1″ of snow ;  14-15 = 59.6″ ; 09-10 = 50.4″ ; 97-98 = 40.3″…. and a slow winter of 16″ in 19-20.
But the average snowfall of our analog years is 49.5″ and that includes the 19-20 winter… which had a more neutral QBO and weaker el nino than what we are expecting this winter.

However… you can see the wide range of results that the general setup for this winter has produced in the past.  However, none of the 5 analog years have quite the same setup.  Each was a bit different in some way.  So while we feel fairly confident with the Winter Outlook we have come up with, the potential exists for some wild swings this winter.  To help visualize the potential uncertainty… look at the month by month that our analog package comes up with.

 

 

 

 

The past similar winters featured some WILD swings from warm and wet, to frigid and snowy… and a couple of those winters, like 19-20… really tilted the scales on the warmer side.  If we removed 19-20… January looks much cooler (and March is cooler as well)

 

So there is a good deal of uncertainty and variability… but it’s also a somewhat unique setup, with certain conditions and patterns that we have seen before… but not seen them together in the same winter.  The potential surely exists for a wild winter.  It’s all going to come down to how much cold air we get access to because of the -QBO and Northern Pacific SST profile.  I guess we’ll wait and see.

Thanks so much for all your continued support!  We greatly appreciate the trust and confidence you have in what HVW does.  It is a pleasure and an honor to be such a trusted source for so many.  We look forward to keeping you a step ahead of whatever wild ride that this winter gives us.

-Alex, Bill & Todd –