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Sunday Afternoon Discussion

A raw… cold Sunday afternoon continues across the Hudson Valley.  Most of the area has seen a persistent light rain, with temperatures holding in the mid 30s.  The combination of rain and cold making for a rather raw feel to the air.
* The Radar + Tonight’s Forecast *
The latest radar shows the back edge of the light rain beginning to move through the region.  This should allow us to see the steady rain showers come to an end between 4pm and 6pm.  The winds should then increase a bit out of the SW… and that should cause temperatures to begin climbing into the 40s tonight.  After seeing temps pinned in the mid 30s all day… we’ll actually warm up after dark tonight, likely into the mid and upper 40s.
Scattered showers will be possible through midnight, when we’ll see the cold front approach the region.  The passage of the cold front after midnight will shift our winds around to the NW, and temps will then begin to fall back into the low to mid 30s by sunrise on Monday. 
 
** Black Ice Issues? **
We don’t anticipate a substantial ice issue overnight, due to the combination of temps remaining largely above freezing until dawn.. and that we should see several hours of dry conditions… allowing for most surfaces to dry before temps fall below freezing.  That said, we’ll continue to watch the situation tonight.
 
Please feel free to post any questions in the comments below, we’ll try to address any thoughts and concerns.  Stay dry, and have a nice evening!

Snowstorm Recap : Wednesday 2/7/18

It took us a couple days to compile the data… but we finally have the recap from our Wednesday Snow to sleet & freezing rain event.  We were hoping to get some more reports out of the southern Hudson Valley (we only have 3 reports from Orange County, and none from Putnam, Rockland or Westchester).  But that’s an indication of just how little snow fell in those areas, that most of the spotters didn’t even report to the NWS.  Either way… let’s take a look:

As we like to do with our recaps… we post our final snowfall forecast map; followed by the National Weather Service’s Snow History map, and snow totals.  This way we can analyze our forecast against what happened, and discuss the results.

The 1st thing that jumps out at us, is that we got the snowfall setup correct.  6 to 12 inches in the Catskills, followed by 3 to 6 inches in the valley, and steadily decreasing amounts as you pushed south and east.  Where our snowfall forecast struggled… was that each range was probably a bit too aggressive in each range.  The 1 to 3 inch area probably should have been a coating to 2 inches; the 2 to 4 inch range could have been 1 to 3; and southern part of the 3 to 6 inch range could have been 2 to 4 inches.

But we’re nitpicking perfectionists… and the end results were right around the low end of each range from about Poughkeepsie on south.  That’s largely due to the fact that there was a dry slot of moisture that moved right through the Mid Hudson Valley, check this out…

If we melted all the snow down from Wednesday, and added it with the rain & freezing rain that fell, here’s a map of what the result would be.  This map shows the liquid precipitation from Wednesday.  If you look at the Hudson Valley, you’ll quickly notice the gap in the precipitation.  The Catskills saw upwards of 1 inch of liquid moisture… and if you move into the lower Hudson Valley, you see that Westchester County saw over 1 inch of precipitation as well.  Much of the I-84 corridor, saw less than a half inch of precipitation.

This is a big deal when analyzing our snowfall forecast, because none of the data suggested that we would be in a dry slot with this storm.  We expected to see the same amount of precipitation as areas to our north and to our south.  And while we were now-casting this storm… we saw areas of heavy snow off to our north, in the Catskills, but barely anything falling across the central Hudson Valley.  To make matters worse, the dry slot of precipitation moved through right during the time we were expecting our heaviest snow to fall.

Here’s the radar image from 12:30pm… during the height of the storm.  You’ll see that instead of snowfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour like we were expecting... we had light snow and sleet falling across the mid Hudson Valley.  You’ll see the dark blues (heavy snow) are in the Catskills, while light snow (light blue) fell across the Mid Hudson Valley.  In fact, there are even holes in the snow shield… where northing was falling at all.

When you get an unexpected dry slot in the middle of a storm… especially right at the time you’re expecting your heaviest snow… it’s going to cause your snow totals to be a little lower than expected.  And we noticed that across the region, with many locations struggling to get to the low end of the forecast range.

But even with this giant monkey wrench thrown into the mix, we still were satisfied with the forecast overall.  The start time, change to mix time frame, and end time… were all right where we thought they would be.  And while snow amounts may have been 1 to 2 inches lighter than expected thanks to the dry slot in the storm… we still were close enough to the range.  Snow lovers may have been disappointed (we know we were )… but at the end of the day, if you trusted our forecast… this storm didn’t surprise you or catch you off guard.

Now if we could just get Mother Nature to follow our instructions, and not give us dry air during the height of the storm… we’ll be all set.  Thank you for all of your support!  You guys are tremendous!  The real time reporting that was provided by you… helped us analyze the storm all the way through.  Your information is also very valuable to your Hudson Valley neighbors, as road conditions and travel updates help people make more informed decisions.  It’s awesome to be a part of such a community.  We can’t thank you enough!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday Outlook : Northern PM Snow Showers

A bitter cold start across the region this morning, with temperatures starting out in the single digits and low teens for most of us. Make sure to bundle up before you head out the door this morning.

Clouds will be on the increase today. As a warm front approaches later this morning, we will see some snow showers develop across the Hudson Valley. The snow showers will be rather light for the southern Hudson Valley, but the northern half of the valley could see a period of steady light snow, that could result in a dusting to an inch of snow… especially as you head into the Catskills, where 1 to 3 inches are possible.

We’ll have to watch how things develop this afternoon, as depending on the timing, these snow showers could lead to a few slick spots for the evening commute. Right now… start time looks to be 12pm to 2pm… and tapers off between 5pm and 7pm.

We’ll try to have additional discussion on this later today, but be sure to follow along on the Facebook page for updates once the snow showers begin.

Tranquil Thursday, Friday Flurries?

With the newly designed HVW website, we have some newly found flexibility.  The weather on Thursday looks rather tranquil, cold and uneventful.  Temperatures will struggle into the upper 20s and near 30° for a high, which is certainly about 10 degrees below average.  But with mostly sunny skies, the weather looks like a calm winter day.  Well, since we have all of the forecast information presented in a crisp, ‘handsome’ if you will, format… rather than focus on Thursday’s weather in the daily discussion… we can look right ahead to Friday, and you still have everything you need to know for your Thursday.

So… looking to Friday, we’ll have a warm front approaching from the southwest.  It doesn’t have a lot of moisture to work with as it pushes into the Northeast, but it could still touch off some snow showers in our area…

You can see on the radar simulation, that the front tries to push some light snow showers into our area.  Nothing overly heavy, but we could see some areas get a dusting to an inch in spots.  The best chance for accumulating snow, will be the Catskills… where a couple of inches could accumulate.

Summary:

  • Timing : Light snow showers could develop near or shortly after Friday AM commute
  • Temps in the upper 20s
  • Light dusting of snow possible, could be some slick spots for PM commute

We’ll have to monitor the progress of the front, because there is some guidance that suggests the bulk of the snow shower activity is just off to our north.  So the best chance for light snow showers is in the northern Hudson Valley… but it does look like most of the area could see some light snow shower activity.

Looking ahead to the weekend… expect a noticeable warmup.  We’ll have a SW flow, and a weak system will push into the area between Saturday afternoon and Sunday.  That will bring us scattered rain showers and temps in the 40s.  So expect a bit of a moderation and temporary break from the winter weather this weekend.

Have a great Thursday… and thank you for all the support you continue to give HVW!

4pm Storm Discussion

If it’s raining at your location, and the temperature is below 32°… it’s freezing rain (ice). That means the liquid rain that is falling, will freeze on contact, creating the most dangerous of wintry conditions… turning paved surfaces into a sheet of ice. So lets look at 4pm Temperatures:

Poughkeepsie: 29° … Newburgh: 30° … Montgomery: 28°
Monticello: 28° … Saugerties: 31° … Pine Bush 29°
Greenport Center: 28° … Hunter Mtn.: 33° … Kingston: 32°
White Plains: 33° … Westchester Airport: 32°

So you can see that the majority of the area is near or below freezing, so that rain that is falling… is likely freezing on most surfaces. Make sure you take it extra slow if you’re travelling, as icy surfaces are likely… especially on untreated surfaces.

Moving forward through sunset… temperatures should continue to creep northward a few more degrees. Likely getting close to freezing north of I-84… and possibly breaking the 32° mark south of I-84. This should help road crews get on top of the situation.

The good news, is that the back edge of the rain and freezing rain (mixing with sleet and snow), should push into the Hudson Valley between 5pm and 7pm in most places. So the precipitation should come to an end shortly after dark… but the temperatures will quickly tumble into the mid and upper 20s by mid evening. So anything that melts, will quickly refreeze after dark. It is important to keep that in mind if you’re traveling this evening! More updates to come in the next hour or two…

Final Storm Forecast : Wednesday 2/7/18

A storm system will approach from the southern Ohio Valley on Wednesday.  With plenty of cold air in place, we’ll see a widespread snow event break out across the Hudson Valley during the morning.  However, instead of seeing the low pressure jump to the coast and redevelop… the low pressure will hug the coast, and actually track just inland.  This will allow a surge of warm air… both at the mid levels of the atmosphere, and at the surface… to push into the Hudson Valley.  As a result, as we move through the afternoon on Wednesday, most of us will watch the snow transition to a mix of sleet and freezing rain… before some of us see it turn to a plain cold rain before ending.  Let’s take a look:

Timing

  • 7am to 10am: Snow begins from west to east across the Hudson Valley
  • 10am to 1pm: Snow falls heaviest across most of the region
  • 12pm to 2pm: Snow mixes with/changes to sleet & freezing rain south of I-84
  • 2pm to 5pm: Snow mixes with/changes to sleet & freezing rain north of I-84 (mix turns to rain south of I-84)
  • 6pm to 9pm:  Rain & Mix tapers of from west to east

Snowfall

  • Catskills (Zone 1 & 2) : 6 to 10 inches
  • Majority of the Hudson Valley (Zone 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7): 3 to 6 inches + tenth of an inch of ice
  • Lower Hudson Valley (Zone 8): 2 to 4 inches + tenth of an inch of ice
  • Extreme Lower HV (Zone 9): 1 to 3 inches + some ice

Discussion

The major change from our preliminary forecast is that the center of low pressure is going to track inland, instead of off the coast.  Without a deepening trough and an upper level low pressure to push the storm off the coast… this system wants to track just inland.

Futurecast Radar : 7am through 9pm Wednesday

At first your eyes will be drawn to the snow and wintry mix on this radar… but if you can, try to spot the red “L” indicating the low pressure that starts out over Kentucky and West Virginia (bottom left of the graphic).  Notice how it pushes up through Pennsylvania, and right over the Hudson Valley, before pushing into Massachusetts.  This tremendously western track, allows copious amounts of warm air to surge right up the coast, and into the Hudson Valley.  So despite tons of cold air in place, and lots of moderate to heavy snow on the map initially… most of us will change over to a wintry mix… and possibly even rain in parts of the area.

Take a look at the 850mb temperatures with this storm.  It shows that there is PLENTY of cold air in place when the snow arrives on Wednesday morning…

This is the temperature profile at cloud level, where the precipitation forms, and falls to the surface.  Where you see white… temperatures are below 0°C, cold enough for that moisture to fall from the cloud in the form of snow.  At 7am… temperatures at the ground will be in the 20s… plenty cold enough for that snow to fall all the way to the surface.  So we expect several hours of steady, moderate snowfall across the region.

But watch what happens as the day progresses, you may notice that red and white box at the bottom left of the image, indicating the strong SW flow that is setting up.  As the low pressure tracks NE, into the Hudson Valley… it’s going to pull all that mild (above freezing) air… right up into the Hudson Valley.  By 4pm… here are the 850mb cloud level temperatures…

Notice that all the cold (below 0°C) air has eroded out of the Hudson Valley.  This means that whatever falls from the cloud at this point, will fall as liquid rain.  Now… if the air is cold enough near the ground, that liquid rain may refreeze into sleet or freezing rain.  Much of the Hudson Valley will see that be the case, as temperatures are expected to hold in the upper 20s to low 30s at the surface.

So we anticipate a several hour period of sleet and freezing rain across the Hudson Valley, once the snow changes over.  So that means on top of the snow… a layer of sleet and freezing rain will accumulate.

So in terms of the forecast… we have lowered the snowfall totals in accordance with the development of this inland storm track.  If the storm were to track just off shore, we’d be talking about widespread 4 to 8, or even 6 to 12 inch snowfall totals.  But you can see on the model simulation, the heaviest snows are pushed out of the Hudson Valley… with the exception of the Catskills…

So as always, we’ll track the storm through the event.  There can… and will be… surprises.  There always are.  So we’ll need to keep an eye out as the storm unfolds, to see if the heavier snow bands can really do their work before the milder air pushes into the Hudson Valley.  Remember… despite the slightly lower snowfall totals… conditions will still be treacherous on Wednesday.  3 to 6 inches of snow, followed by sleet and freezing rain will still make for extremely icy travel.  So use extra caution.

Be safe… and have a nice Wednesday…

Storm Discussion : Tue PM Update

No major changes to the Preliminary Storm Forecast at this time.  We’ll have the ‘Finalized Storm Forecast’ later this evening, likely before 11pm… hopefully sooner if we can.  So let’s take a quick look at how things should unfold Wednesday morning…

Snow likely breaks out from west to east between 7:30 am and 9:30am from west to east across the Hudson Valley.  Once it begins to fall, it will quickly intensify and fall moderately.  A steady snow will fall straight through the noon hour, possibly heavy at times.  Expect reduced visibility, and rapidly deteriorating travel conditions.  Temps will be in the mid 20s… so the snow will accumulate on all surfaces.  If you’re going to try and get things done early on Wednesday… please be aware that once it begins, conditions will get treacherous quickly.

As we approach mid day, we’ll begin to see the milder air creep north through the Hudson Valley.  That means a transition from snow… to sleet and freezing rain, from south to north during the afternoon.  Here’s a snapshot of what things may look like by 1pm.

You’ll notice that the milder air at 850mb (cloud level), is quick to press northward.  By 1pm… anyone near or south of I-84 will begin to mix with sleet and freezing rain.  The further south you go… that earlier the transition to ice.  As you go north of I-84… the odds are good that it’s all snow into the early/mid afternoon.

Between 2pm and 5pm, we will continue to track that snow/ice line… as it moves further and further north.  The latest data, suggests that the snow mixes with or changes to sleet and freezing rain, all the way up to Kingston and even a bit north of there.  So we’re going to continue to monitor the situation, and have to make some minor adjustments to the final snowfall forecast this evening.

We’ll have another update in a few hours… as well as the final snowfall forecast later tonight.  Have a nice evening!

Preliminary Storm Forecast : Wednesday

A storm system will develop in the southern Ohio Valley on Tuesday, and push into the Hudson Valley early on Wednesday.  The result will be a combination of snow, sleet and freezing rain… across the Hudson Valley, that will last through the day.  By the time the storm exits Wednesday evening, we could see a wide range of snowfall amounts across the region.

Timing

  • 7am to 10am… Snow develops from west to east
  • 12pm to 2pm… Snow changes to sleet & freezing rain south of I-84
  • 2pm to 5pm… Snow mixes/changes to sleet & freezing rain I-84 to Kingston
  • 6pm to 9pm… Snow/Mix tapers off from west to east

Snow Accumulation

  • Extreme Lower HV (zone 9): 1 to 3 inches
  • Lower HV (zone 8): 2 to 5 inches
  • Mid HV, southern Catskills (zone S3, S4, 5, 6 & 7): 4 to 8 inches
  • Catskills, Taconics, Upper HV (zone 1, 2, N3, N4): 6 to 12 inches

We will provide a more detailed analysis of how the storm plays out later on Tuesday morning.  Please check back here, for an updated Discussion, as an updated addition to this post.

Monday Outlook : Howling Chill Returns

After a sloppy soup – super bowl Sunday… that featured widespread wet snow, mixing with and changing to rain across the valley areas… Monday will see a return to the bitter cold bite of winter.

A northwest wind will usher in the bitter cold once more.  Winds will blow at 10 to 15mph for most of the day, gusting upwards of 25mph at times.  When you factor in temperatures that will be in the mid to upper 20s across the region, you get wind chills in the single digits and teens across the viewing area.  It won’t matter that there should be a good deal of sunshine… the chill will negate any warming effects of the sunshine.

Looking ahead… we’re tracking a storm system for Wednesday.  When this storm first popped up on our radar, it looked like a warm storm, with rain…  but the trend has been colder and colder the past 2 days.  So as things stand right now, we may have a rather substantial snowstorm on our hands for Wednesday…

We’ll have to watch the details closely… because the exact track of the low pressure system remains uncertain.  But the map shown here is our best guess at this time.  Snow would push into the Hudson Valley near sunrise on Wednesday, and fall moderate to heavy at times through the day.  If the storm tracks as close to the coast as you see here (depicted by the red L), it would pull enough warm air north at cloud level, to mix the snow with sleet and freezing rain.

However, even in the scenario shown above, a substantial amount of snow falls prior to the mixing with sleet and freezing rain.  So 3 to 6 inches of snow region wide is a fair bet at this time… with even higher amounts possible in the northern Hudson Valley and Catskills.

As always… we’ll be tracking this closely as we move through the next 48 hours.  Check back for updates frequently!

Sunday Outlook : Messy Winter Mix

The setup for Sunday hasn’t changed a whole lot, so at the risk of sounding repetitive, let’s look at the situation…

The morning hours will be cloudy and cold… with temperatures in the upper 20s to low 30s.  A few scattered snow showers are likely, but nothing substantial… until we near the noon hour.  Wet snow is likely to develop near or shortly after noon.  It could accumulate a coating to an inch or so across the valley… even up to 2 inches in the northern valley.  But by mid to late afternoon (2 to 5pm), the snow likely changes to rain from south to north along the Hudson River Valley.  That should help travel conditions for anyone heading to a Super Bowl party around sunset.  We’ll have to monitor the situation, for temperatures… precipitation, and road conditions.

It will be a different story in the Catskills, as colder air will hold on for longer.  Wet snow is likely for much of the afternoon, and that wet snow could hold on even at some of the lower elevations of the western HV.  So an inch or two of wet snow is possible in the western HV… and as you go well up into the Catskills… 3 to 6 inches of snow is possible.

But as we near sunset… it looks as if there is a surge of warm air through all of our viewing area… and that could lead to a period of moderate rain for much of the viewing area… before things taper off near midnight.  This is the trickiest part of the forecast, because if the warm surge of air does not come… then snow and ice could be extended further south.  It’s unlikely… but possible, and so we’ll need to watch things VERY close on Sunday, to see how they develop.

Expect many updates on Facebook, as well as updates to the website in the 24 hour forecast and possibly some short blog updates.  No matter what, be sure to be alert to the conditions in your area on Sunday, and to anyone travelling, have a safe and happy Super Bowl experience.