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Nor’easter Discussion : 7:00pm Update

7pm Update

RADAR LOOP… 5:00PM TO 6:30PM

If you look at the radar… this storm looks like it’s really coming down across the Hudson Valley as we approach sunset.  Unfortunately, that’s just not the case.  Despite the moderate (dark blues & light greens) to even locally heavy (dark greens & yellows) snowfall returns coming in on radar… there is a patch of VERY dry air in the mid levels of the atmosphere.  The result is that despite a very active radar… virtually no snow is reaching the ground north of Putnam and Rockland counties.

The magnitude of this dry air was no where near accounted for accurately.  The question we were focused on, was how far north the snow band seen on radar would get.  By all accounts, our forecast would have been on track if not for the unexpected strength of the dry air.  But look at this newly modeled weather sounding…

Now this sounding has a lot of information on here that likely means nothing to most people, but the sounding is a useful tool for us to take a snapshot cross section of the atmosphere.  The key take away are the red and green lines.  The red line represents the air temperature from the top of the atmosphere, all the way down to the surface (1000mb on the left side of the graph).  So it’s 36°F at this location.  The dew point is 23° at this location, and so the air is quite dry.  When dealing with a snow event, the dew point and the air temperature need to be fairly close… because we’d want to see humidity levels around 70% to 80% on average to get the snow to reach the ground.
But as dry as the air is at ground level… just go up into the atmosphere a bit, to around 850mb.  Notice how the red and green lines go in opposite directions from each other.  The further the lines are away from each other, the drier the air is, and the closer they are, the more humid the air.  At 850mb (just below cloud level) the dew point and air temperature are over 20 degrees Celsius apart!  The air is EXTREMELY DRY!  Because if you notice, if you go up a little higher in the atmosphere, to 700mb… the red and blue lines are right on top of each other, roughly 100% humidity.  The air is PLENTY moist enough to support the snow.

This is the entire problem… and it was not accounted for by any of the earlier computer guidance.  The end result, is likely the following… if you haven’t seen snow yet, you’re likely not going to see any snow from this system.

That’s the truth of the matter, ladies and gentlemen.  The air is just much too dry to erode that much dry air.  Even with moderate precipitation falling into that dry air… it’s not moistening the air fast enough in most locations.  So pretty much anywhere north of I-84, is likely to see no snow at all from this system, as a result of the dry air.  Those areas weren’t going to see much anyway… but instead of 2 or 3… maybe 4 inches in places like Kingston, New Paltz, Poughkeepsie and Monticello… you’re likely going to see zero inches.

Now… in some parts of the Mid Hudson Valley, the snow will win out, and moisten up the atmosphere enough.  There will be places where light to moderate snow falls tonight, near the I-84 corridor.  The best chances will be for areas east of the Hudson River, but it’s really contingent upon banding of the snow.  Where the heavier bands set up on radar, will determine where the best chances of snow falling are.  It wouldn’t surprise us to see someone get a couple inches in parts of southern Dutchess county.

sdf

This map may be a little too pessimistic, but you get the general picture.  All the accumulating snow is focused near and south of I-84… because the magnitude of the dry air is just so strong.  So anyone near or south of I-84… expect snow to develop if it hasn’t already… and an inch or two is likely near the I-84 corridor.  As you go further south, into zones 8 & 9 (Rockland, Putnam and Westchester), an additional 2 to 4… maybe 5 inches of snow could fall tonight.  That would be enough to get those areas into the low end of the forecast range… but it is certainly a possibility there.

In Summary
The dry air has completely evaporated this snowstorm for the Hudson Valley.  There will be some snow tonight in the Mid Hudson Valley and points south, but exactly how much depends on the resilience of the dry air.  Unfortunately, it’s extremely difficult, if not impossible, to tell just how long the dry air will hold ground.  Most indicators are that it will give way to the moisture and snow will fall… but there is uncertainty for sure.  We’ll have more updates as the night continues.

 

12pm Update
This storm is not pulling any punches.  Not only was it a major challenge to decipher where the banding of snow would set up… we’re now trying to iron out if and when this dry air will ever ease it’s grip on the Hudson Valley.

The radar looks great for the southern half of the Hudson Valley at this hour… but the observations tell a completely different story.  Everything north of the black line is evaporating before reaching the ground… because the air is so incredibly dry across the Hudson Valley.  So areas like Newburgh, Middletown, Montgomery, Fishkill, even Poughkeepsie… it may look like the snow is falling or is about to fall… but it’s really just cloudy, breezy and cold.

The dry air was always a concern for the northern Hudson Valley and Catskills… where it’s safe to say there will be no snow from this system.

Basically… the areas where we originally highlighted as a coating to 2 inches
those areas will officially see nothing.  We were always skeptical of the snow pushing into those areas, and it’s all but been confirmed now, that the snow will never reach the Catskills or the northern Hudson Valley.

The areas where we originally had 2 to 6 inches forecasted
there we have added another wildcard factor, in the form of very dry air.  The snow band has pushed into parts of this area on radar… but the dry air is causing it to evaporate before reaching the ground.  As the snow continues to fall into the atmosphere, it should moisten the air and begin reaching the ground at some point… but exactly when, is anyone’s guess.  Our latest guidance suggests that as the storm rotates eastward tonight, it will swing bands of moderate snow northwestward… into the Hudson Valley.  So periods of snow are certainly possible late this afternoon and tonight… but the strength of this dry air is the wildcard.

The areas where we had originally forecasted 6 to 12 inches
Those areas still stand to see a decent snowfall from this system.  The snow has eroded much of the dry air in these areas, and you’re now looking at 8 to 12 hours of steady snowfall.  As a result, as these bands of snow rotate in, snowfall rates could exceed 1 inch per hour at times.  We think a general 4 to 8 inches is likely… with some areas possibly reaching 12 inches down by I-287.  The extreme southern Hudson Valley could see someone come in with a foot of snow.

Bust of a Storm…

We spent 2 solid days trying to drive home the unpredictability with this storm system.  We published our snowfall forecast, but really did not want to focus on the totals… because there were just too many variables at play.  Figuring out the exact progression and cutoff of the northern edge of the snow, was always going to lead to areas getting “ripped off”… but the question was exactly where.

A lot of schools closed today… and the rest opted for early releases… and it’s very likely that not a single flake will have fallen by the end of the normal school day.  “Wait and see” was a message we tried to convey, to minimize the number of cancelled and altered plans in areas where the weather remained cloudy and dry.

This storm got a LOT of air time from the news networks, because the NYC area stands to get clobbered by this system, along with the southern most portions of our viewing area.  But the northern half of the viewing area was never expected to be majorly impacted by this storm… and we did our best to communicate that.

When dealing with such complex and complicated storm systems… it’s crucial to listen to the details of the forecast… especially when the forecasters are emphasizing the conflicting data and uncertain data that they’re seeing.

Still Some Surprises Yet to Come…

This storm isn’t over… not by a LONG shot.  Now, for some parts of the area (Catskills & Northern HV), this was never your storm to begin with, so we’re not talking to you per say.  However, in the mid and lower Hudson Valley… you need to keep watching this storm.

It may not have done what you expected so far today… honestly, it wasn’t expected to do all that much by this point regardless… but we need to watch as this system wraps up off shore this afternoon.  The low pressure will sit and rotate off shore for the next 12 to 18 hours… and as it does, it’s expected that bands of snow will rotate in NW off the ocean.

So you see… there will be snow to contend with for many parts of the Hudson Valley later today and into tonight.  So we’ll have more updates as the day progresses.

We mentioned on Tuesday in the evening live stream, that this storm reminded us of the blizzard a few years back that shut down the Hudson Valley.  That storm also expected a sharp cut off across the mid-Hudson Valley, and we weren’t sure exactly where it would be.  In that storm, Montgomery and Newburgh got 0.0″ of snow… but a half hour drive to your south… in Warwick, they saw 12″ of snow.  When all is said and done, this storm will likely look a lot like that… we shall see.

Final Storm Forecast: Wednesday Wildcard 3/21/18

Timing:
– 6am – 10am: Snow develops from south to north
– 10am – 6pm: Snow could fall heavy at times in SE HV
– 6pm Wednesday – 12am Thursday: Snow tapers from west to east

Wildcards:
– High uncertainty with forecast (Especially NW
– Exact track of Low Pressure will likely change at last minute
– Banding of snow could reach SE HV, more confidence in forecast there
– Dry air on NW side, could mean no snow at all in Catskills & N. HV

Snowfall:
– Catskills & Northern HV (Zone 1 & 2, N3, N4) : Coating to 2 inches
– Majority of Hudson Valley (Zone S3, S4, 5, 6 & 7) : 2 to 6 inches
– Lower Hudson Valley (Zone 8 & 9) : 6 to 12 inches

Discussion:

No major changes to the preliminary forecast… mainly because we have not seen anything to increase or decrease our confidence levels.  This forecast provides a good starting point for what to expect with this storm, however there will be some surprises as the storm begins to unfold early on Wednesday.  Many of us will need to roll with the punches as we ‘now-cast’ on Wednesday morning.

Lets take a look at one of the most recent simulations for how this storm will unfold…

The snow pushes northward into central PA Tuesday night, and reaches the edge of the lower Hudson Valley by sunrise on Wednesday.  The CRITICAL question, is ‘how far north does this snow shield advance?”

This simulation suggests that the snow makes it just about to I-84, before stalling out.   Once the snow’s northward progress stalls… the snow shield begins to rotate and pivot around the low pressure off shore.  So in this situation, we’d be looking at 4 to 6… maybe 8 inches of snow from I-84 on south, while there is literally NOTHING north of there.

The suggestion is that Long Island and NYC get absolutely CRUSHED… which is certainly possible.  But over the Hudson Valley, notice the dramatic cut off.  The suggestion is that Delaware, Sullivan, Ulster and Greene counties get nothing… not even a snowflake.  But zone’s 8 & 9, would fall safely within the 6 to 12 inch range projected.  So once again… the Hudson Valley is ground zero for the rip off zone.

Breaking Down the Forecast

So when you look at our forecast, the 6 to 12 inch range in zones 8 & 9 are the areas we feel best about.  Odds are decent that as the storm pivots before moving east… that the deformation snow bands that could produce snowfall rates at 1 to 2 inches per hour, could impact Rockland, Putnam and Westchester counties.  Those areas need to be prepared for a significant snow event… and it’s possible that those areas could even exceed the forecast range.

The Catskills and northern Hudson Valley (zones 1 & 2… as well as the northern half of zones 3 and 4), are likely to see little if any snow at all.  We projected a coating to 2 inches… but that is really being optimistic, and assuming the scenario where this storm really hugs the coast.  As you can see by the simulation above… odds are quite high, that the northern HV and Catskills will be cloudy and cold… with barely any snowflakes at all.  We wouldn’t be surprised at all if most everyone in this region saw 0.0″.

The Mid Hudson Valley is the most complex part of the forecast hands down.  To say we don’t feel good about this region would be a big understatement.  We have 2 to 6 inches projected, because we have it as the dividing line between “snow and no snow”.  As the expected northwestern edge of this storm, with a dramatically sharp cutoff expected… this area has BUST written all over it.
The further north you go, the more likely you are to see no snow at all.  The further south and east you go, the better the chances you see accumulating snowfall.  The question is… how much snow can you see in this area?
It’s a brutally tough call… and no matter how much data we crunch, we’re guessing at where the cutoff sets up.  We are going to use our historical experience, which tells us that these upper level low pressure systems always tend to track further NW than expected.  So with that logic, it wouldn’t surprise us if the accumulating snow reached back toward the base of the Catskills.  But even then… are we talking about a dusting to an inch?…  or 4 or 5 inches?  Who can be sure.
We’re going to have to ‘now-cast’ this event, especially for this area.  And as we get a better understanding of how dry the atmosphere is, what the position of the low pressure is, where the banding sets up… we should be able to begin honing in on snowfall totals in this area.  Expect snow to interrupt your Wednesday plans anywhere from Monticello to Ellenville, to New Paltz, to Poughkeepsie.  But it’s also entirely possible that the day is gray and dry…. it’s just too close to call with certainty.

Impacts (Wind, Power loss?)

In terms of impacts… the SE Hudson Valley (Rockland, Westchester and Putnam counties… as well as Eastern Orange to some extent) could see considerable impacts.  NE winds will pick up and gust over 25mph at times.  If we get into the deformation band, and snowfall rates are 1 to 2 inches per hour… that heavy, wet snow, will likely coat trees and power lines.  Factor in that wind, and we could be talking about power outages once again, in areas that have already been hit hard this month.

Trying to look at the bright side… with the nor’easters so far this month, most of the weak tree branches should have already been taken out.  So in terms of total power outages, lets hope the numbers are down, because the more susceptible trees and power lines have already been eliminated, and what remains are stronger trees and branches that can handle the extra weight and stress that results from the snow and wind.  We can hope.

We have our hands full… there is no question.  We’ll have updates and discussions all the way up to the event.  As we begin to see things that concern us, we will pass the information along to you.  If we feel that some areas will see substantially more or less snow… we’ll let you know.  It’s a complex storm track, with an upper level low, and the dramatically sharp cutoff is right over the Hudson Valley.  Buckle up for a bumpy ride, Hudson Valley!

Preliminary Storm Forecast : Wednesday Wildcard 3/20/18

Timing:
– 6pm Tuesday – 6am Wednesday: Light snow showers possible
– 6am – 10am: Snow develops from south to north
– 10am – 6pm: Snow could fall heavy at times, especially SE HV
– 6pm Wednesday – 12am Thursday: Snow tapers from west to east

Wildcards:
– EXTREME uncertainty with forecast
– Position of storm vital to forecast, guidance struggling
– Potential for significant increases or decreases to snowfall forecast

Snowfall:
– Catskills (Zone 1&2) : Coating to 3 inches
– Majority of Hudson Valley (Zone 3,4,5,6 & 7) : 2 to 6 inches
– Lower Hudson Valley (Zone 8&9) : 4 to 8 inches (possibly more)

Discussion:

We cannot emphasize the uncertainty with the forecast enough.  We have opted for a mid-ground approach based on the latest guidance.  The latest thinking is that this storm puts the Hudson Valley on the edge of the storm, with the bulk of the storm focuses south of I-84… and areas north of there with the potential to see very little.  As the forecast hones in on the position of the storm, expect modifications to the forecast accordingly.

This is our starting point… based on the entire package of data that we have, which factors in:

– Computer model data over the last 48 hours (Since Sunday)
– Trends of the model guidance on Monday
– Historical experience with the behavior of the guidance and these type of situations
– Atmospheric pattern and setup for this situation

It stands to reason that this storm will be focused south of the Hudson Valley, but we need to be vigilant and see just how involved we may become with this storm.  Expect lots of updates and possible changes on Tuesday.

Monday Afternoon Discussion : Nor’easter Looking Likely

Alex and I have a running joke.  Basically, any time I post commentary on a potential storm system… as soon as we publish the discussion… the forecast undergoes major changes.  On Sunday, I posted a discussion about how social media takes computer model information that is 7 days out… and turns it into hype and fear.  I discussed how the hype around Tuesday’s major nor’easter was just that… hype.

But it turns out the hype may have been right… but for the wrong reasons.  The 1st storm will miss us to the south and go out to sea… but it’s the 2nd piece of energy… a 2nd storm… that is looking increasingly likely to impact the Hudson Valley.

Rapidly Changing Information

It likely comes as no surprise, that things are developing quickly.  Guidance is struggling to determine how much this storm can come up the coast.

There are multiple features at play… such as the strong northern jet we mentioned yesterday.  That feature will be working against this system’s northward progression, trying to usher the storm out to sea.  The storm will be guided by a deepening, negatively tilted trough along the east coast.  The trough will try to tuck the storm in close to the coast, and up the eastern seaboard.  Ultimately… it’s a battle between these two weather features… and the result of how these features interact, will determine where the storm tracks.

We’re going to have our hands full all night on Monday, and on into Tuesday.  Expect more updates… both here, and on Facebook.  We will have a ‘preliminary snowfall forecast’ out tonight… hopefully by 10pm.  That’s not a firm deadline, but what we’re going to shoot for.  Have a nice afternoon and early evening!

Sunday Discussion: Still Watching the Storm

Forecasting the weather has changed a lot in the last few years.  The internet is primarily responsible for that.  The truth is, that if you want to spend the time and energy… you can have access to any of the information that we use to generate our forecast.  Heck… HVW could not exist in the ‘old’ weather forecasting world.

It used to be that you got your weather forecast from the radio, TV or news paper.  Even The Weather Channel was an innovator in weather communication back in the 1980s… providing us with a place to get the weather forecast 24 hours a day.  Now, the internet provides access to information for every American.  That means you can pull up the GFS, European, or NAM model.  The HRRR or RAP model… any radar, or satellite image… or any other obscure piece of weather data, that satisfies your weather hunger.

It’s fantastic, because it allows us to operate HVW.  We don’t have to be a major news network to reach you… we don’t have to have a contract with a newspaper or radio station… however our good friends at iHeartMedia have given us the opportunity to reach out to you over the radio waves.  But the fact is, Hudson Valley Weather can exist, because we can access all of the weather data… chop it up into consumable facts and figures, and generate a weather forecast that you can reach via Facebook, or our website, or our mobile apps, or even via twitter.  That also gives YOU the ability to choose where you get your weather forecast, and information from.  You’re not forced to watch the news to find out if it’s going to snow, or rain, or be sunny and 75°.

There is a bit of downside however…

With everyone having access to the information, we are forced to discuss whatever the weather rumor mill is discussing.  When Johnny Smith in Virginia looks at the European model and sees a major snow storm 8 days out, he shares that image on Facebook, and before you know it… everyone is buzzing about the threat of a major coastal storm 8 days away.  And after a month like we’ve had so far… talk about a major storm 7 or 8 days away, means possibly 7 or 8 days of stressing and anxiety.

So our job has become just as much about fact checking storm threats, as it is about forecasting the weather.  We’ve become the weather equivalent of Snopes.com.  Now that is totally fine with us… we are happy to make HVW about whatever the valley needs.  And if that means you need someone to simply decipher fact from fiction… then that’s what we’ll be happy to do.

Ultimately… that’s what we’ve had to do with this latest storm threat.  We received an avalanche of questions around Wednesday or Thursday of this past week… roughly 6 to 8 days out ahead of the ‘storm’.  We say ‘storm’, because this system has never really been a real threat.  It showed up a few times on each model, always 5 to 10 days away.  Since we got inside of 5 or 6 days, the models have unified around the idea that this storm… (or storms we should say, since there are really 2 separate systems)… stays to our south.  Here’s the latest simulation on these twin storms…

You’ll notice that the first low pressure zips east, near Washington DC, and then pushes out to sea.  That could provide a swath of snow near Philadelphia, Baltimore, maybe DC… but the moisture stays well to our south, and is a non threat.  That was the “Tuesday” storm that caused such a stir… but you can see, it goes safely out to sea.

Then behind it, to the Southwest, you can see the storm that we need to pay attention to.  The jet stream will buckle and tilt negative, and a storm will try to explode along the coast… behind the first storm that went out to sea.  There is concern, that this 2nd piece of energy will have room to come up the coast… and the timing on that would be Wednesday into Wednesday night.

Now… odds still are probably 60% to 80% that the 2nd storm also passes by to our south.  But we have seen a lot of storms that look similar to this setup… make the bend and come up the coast.  So while there is currently very little guidance that says it will snow on Wednesday or Thursday… we need to keep our eyes on that system, to see if it hugs the coast.

So Tuesday is definitely looking dry (95%+ chance of the storm going out to sea)… but Wednesday could hold maybe a 20% to 30% chance of bringing us a surprise.

No matter what… it’s going to be COLD!

Now… this time of year, the average temperatures are getting warmer every day.  But the average in the Hudson Valley is only in the upper 40s to near 50° this time of year, and about 40° in the Catskills.  All week, we’ll see afternoon temperatures pinned in the 30s… struggling to reach 40° in the valley; while the Catskills may not even get above freezing.

So even if we don’t get a storm… sadly, it’s going to feel a lot like winter all week long.
We’ll keep our eyes firmly locked on the 2nd storm… and let you know if there are any surprises or changes to our thoughts.  You can get our ideas on the 5 day forecast on the main page.  Have a great Sunday Afternoon!

Saturday Discussion : Watching the Mid Week Threat

As we cruise into this mid March weekend, a cold trough has pushed into the eastern US.  That means that instead of mild temps in the 60s, like you can often see this time of year… we’re stuck with a biting NW wind and temperatures that will struggle to climb out of the 30s.

Conditions on Sunday look very similar to what we’ve got on Saturday… temps struggling to reach 40°, and wind chills in the upper 20s to low 30s.  So a blustery and cold, mid March weekend is unfolding across the Hudson Valley.

But all the chatter this weekend is about the potential for a 4th Nor’easter by mid week.  Previous guidance had periodically shown the potential for a significant snowstorm that could bring widespread snows of 6 or more inches.  But as is very often the case with these coastal storms… the computer guidance has largely lost the threat, keeping the storm to our south… and pushing it out to sea.

The setup is a complex one, but guidance has really come to a consensus around the idea that jet stream energy to our north, will be strong enough to steer this system south and out to sea. If you look at the top right of the image, you’ll notice the bright yellows and oranges, indicating a lot of energy racing from NW to SE, in the direction of the black arrow.  That strong jet stream energy will serve to push the first storm eastward… out to sea, instead of capturing the storm and pulling it up the coast.

You can see a 2nd piece of energy over Louisiana and near Texas (indicated by the orange color at the base of the trough).  That energy will try to intensify and come up the coast behind the first piece of energy… but it looks like that will also be guided well off shore on Wednesday, keeping the Hudson Valley shielded from the threats of any nor’easter.

Summary

There is plenty of time for things to change, but this kind of development in the forecast, is not one that changes easily.  The northern jet stream is quite strong, and would need to change significantly from what we’re seeing right now… in order for this coastal storm to really push north.  So if we had to put odds on the storm at this point… it would be hard to give it more than a 25% chance of hitting the Hudson Valley at this point.

Keep checking in with us, we’ll have more updates as we get closer to the storm… but for now, it’s looking like the threat of a coastal storm continues to diminish as we get more information.

Bundle up, and enjoy your Saturday!

Storm Recap 3/13/18: The 3rd Nor’easter’s a Charm

A very active March continues, as we’re only half way through the month… yet we’ve had 3 formidable nor’easters hammer various parts of the northeast.  This time, the Hudson Valley got let off easy, missing out on the heart of this latest storm.  While we saw an accumulating snowfall… by far and away the worst this storm had to offer was focused on New England.

The good news, was that this was expected all the way through.  The data suggested a New England focused storm, our forecast called for a New England centered event… and the storm cooperated and behaved as expected.  Lets look at our forecast map, followed by what actually happened…

Across the Hudson Valley, we expected to see a general 2 to 5 inches, with a few 6 or 7 inch amounts as you got closer to the NY/CT border.  Then as you went into the Catskills and eastern Taconics, we expected to see 5 to 8 inches on the average, with a few locations pushing into double digits.  When all was said and done… that was pretty close to what happened.

The highest totals were certainly the higher elevations of Ulster and Columbia counties, where the upward motion enhanced snowfall amounts just a touch.  Temperatures were pretty much near or just above freezing… making for mainly wet roads across much of the valley locations, but there were certainly some cold spots, where roads became snow covered and travel was rather treacherous.  Driving over a short distance, you could see dramatic changes in the conditions.  For example… I (Bill) travelled from Pine Bush to Middletown, Over that 10 mile trip, I went from…
– just wet roads doing 55mph on rt 302 in Pine Bush, to…
– a snow covered & icy Goshen Turnpike in Circleville, with a car off the road…
– to just wet roads in Middletown again

It was certainly a tricky day of travel, depending on your location.  But like we said, the Hudson Valley was spared the worst of the storm… with a light to moderate snowfall on average, a general 3 to 6 inches.  To experience this storm’s full potential, you needed only hop in your car, and head east 50 to 100 miles… to eastern Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island…

When we zoom out to look at all of New England, you can see that anyone east of Hartford, CT and Springfield, MA… got absolutely crushed.  The dark orange represents a widespread 12 to 18 inches of snow from Norwich, CT… to Worcester, MA… up to the southern half of Maine.  Then embedded within that large area, are pickets of 18 to 24 inches in red… with up to 30 inches of snow in the dark red areas near Manchester, New Hampshire and Bangor, Maine.  Just some jaw dropping stuff!

It’s been a WILD month of March so far, and indications are that trend will continue into the 2nd half of the month as well.  We can’t thank you enough for trusting HVW to guide you through the storm, and for helping us track the systems with real time reporting that is 2nd to none.  You all continue to make operating HVW a dream come true!  Thanks so much… and hang in there winter warriors… we’ve only got a little further to go.

Thursday Outlook : The Blustery Hype Train

I suppose that by this point in the season, everyone is just battered and beaten.  That because everyone has been assaulted by snow for so long, that every time someone hears the word ‘snow’, it causes panic and fear.  So it goes for the last 24 to 36 hours, our inbox has been a steady stream of different variations of the same question… “Did I hear that we have ANOTHER big nor’easter coming next week?”

We totally appreciate it… this month has left us wiped out and exhausted, and we’re only half way through it.  When you get 3 nor’easters in less than 2 weeks, it’s going to keep you pretty dang busy.  So when the computer models begin their usual antics, of showing a potential snow storm in the 5 to 8 day window, we’re not surprised that the panic and anxiety level quickly starts rising.

Sadly, we can’t really offer much consolation at this point, other than to say… quite simply… it’s too early to worry.  There are just WAY TOO MANY uncertainties to begin getting into details.  Here… let us show you what we mean…

Below are 2 temperature maps for early Tuesday morning.  Both maps show the same thing, the projected low temperature Monday night into Tuesday morning.  The first is the European model, the second is the GFS model…

What’s 20° to 30° difference between models?  Again, these computer models… arguably the best 2 medium range computer guidance models… are worlds apart on the overnight and early morning low temperature between Monday night and Tuesday AM.

This is even more significant, because this projection is for BEFORE the much hyped and much talked about nor’easter next week.  If the computer models can’t even get on the same page for the setup leading up to a potential big storm… how on earth can we rely on them to nail down the details on a storm system a day or two after?

The answer is… we can’t.

Now… what we CAN do, is say that the upcoming pattern favors storm development between Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon of next week.  There will be a storm system that drops down out of the Rockies, and pushes eastward, most likely into the Ohio Valley.  What happens next, is the crucial detail.

The GFS model currently takes the storm right over top of us on Tuesday, and warms the Hudson Valley into the upper 30s, giving us rain.  The European model is slower with the storm, and eventually redevelops a coastal storm on Wednesday of next week… spreading a swath of substantial snow over the region.

So we’ll have to monitor the setup, and see if the European model or the GFS model have the correct idea.  We do believe the pattern is more likely to lead to a storm pushing into the Ohio Valley, and redeveloping off the coast of Maryland or Virginia, and then pushing northeastward… which would give us snow.  So yes, we do feel that there is a good chance for another snowstorm in the Tuesday night/Wednesday time frame… but like we say… there’s a LONG way to go.

For now… just hold onto your hat, because the winds continue to howl across the Hudson Valley today.  Temps won’t make it out of the 30s for most of the valley, and with the wind gusting over 25mph out of the northwest… it’s likely the ‘real feel’ temps won’t crack out of the 20s all day.  Be sure to bundle up and stay warm… and we’ll have more updates once or twice a day as we continue to track the threat for a mid week storm next week.

Wednesday Outlook : Cold Winds Ahead

The major nor’easter that has rocked New England just clipped the Hudson Valley on Tuesday.  We’ll have the complete recap shortly… but we did see a lot of 2 to 6 inch totals across the region.  You can let us know how much snow you had in a comment at the end of this post.

But now our focus shifts from snow… to winds, and lots of wind.  You’ll notice in our 5 day forecast, that we have multiple days of “Partly cloudy and Windy”.  Well, that’s because for 4 straight days, the projected wind maps look like this:

A steady, persistent west/northwest wind will be the story for Wednesday through Saturday, as the winds really crank up in the wake of our departing nor’easter.  The large scale counter clockwise rotation around the storm that is moving into the Canadian Maritimes, will generate a very windy pattern the next 4 days.  The gusts, each day will look somewhat like this…

So be sure to hold onto your hat for sure.  A strong gust of wind could howl through on any given day and blow the papers right out of your hand, or the hat off your head.  You’ll also notice the gusts if you’re driving… so be sure to have a firm grip on the wheel.

In addition to the howling winds… the cold will be a factor…

These are your projected afternoon high temperatures across the region.  Widespread highs in the mid to upper 30s across the valley… while the Catskills don’t get above freezing in many cases.  And to add insult to injury… when you combine the cold and the wind, this is what it’s going to feel like on Wednesday:

To be honest… this is what it’s going to look like almost each of the next 4 days… so get ready for a COLD mid March pattern.  The record warmth of late February, seems light years away.

Snowfall recap map should come out shortly… Have a great day!

Final Snowstorm Forecast : Near Miss Nor’easter

Winter weather haters, thank your lucky stars… because roughly 50 to 75 miles makes all the difference between a nor’easter near miss… and a coastal storm clobbering.

Timing:
– After 6pm : Scattered snow showers develop, especially in Catskills
– 10pm to 2am : Snow develops from south to north
– 11pm to 9am : Best chance for steady snow.
– 10am to 2pm : Snow or snow showers taper from west to east
– 2pm to 8pm : Scattered snow showers & squalls possible (especially in the Catskills)

Snow Accumulation:
– Catskills & Taconics (Zone 1, 2 & 4): 5 to 8 inches
– Majority of Hudson Valley (Zone 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 & 9) 2 to 5 inches

Discussion:

I apologize for the delay in the discussion being completed.  Non weather related responsibilities delayed the post, but enough time lost already, lets dive in.  The plus side of a delay, is that we have more information now than we had a couple hours ago.  The storm is looking potentially snowier than initially expected, as the western edge of the snow shield tries to push its way back into the Hudson Valley.

So here’s where we are as of late night…

We’re going to go through simulated radars in a moment, but this radar image is the 1st sign that the eastern half of the Hudson Valley could end up doing a bit better than forecasted in terms of snow totals.  Outlined in black is a healthy snow band, that has snowfall rates of 1/2 inch to 1 inch per hour within it.  It’s early… but this looks likely to be the western edge of the heavier snow shield.  As the storm continues, this band of snow will likely continue rotating westward… before stalling out somewhere over the Hudson Valley.

This first band of snow will moisten the atmosphere westward into the Hudson Valley, and then additional snow bands will rotate westward in behind it.  This band will be important in terms of accumulations, because it will likely show us where the heaviest snow totals will be.  From this band, and points east… are most likely to reach the forecasted snow amounts… and have the best chance to overachieve in terms of snow totals.  Because as we look forward, you’ll see that as this storm progresses forward, the snow shield will pivot over the Hudson Valley, and so where this band reaches… it will snow steadily… and likely continue to snow steadily, through the morning on Thursday.

So as we approach sunrise on Tuesday, you’ll notice that the storm is a powerful 970mb, and if this storm was 50 miles further west, the Hudson Valley would be in for a major storm.  With that said… the close up of the Hudson Valley shows moderate snows across the entire region, with the heaviest snows expected as you go further south and east.  But as we mentioned at the beginning of this discussion, that first heavier snow band rotating through will add a bit of a wild card to where the heavier snows will be with this system.  We’ll have to watch and see just where the heavier bands set up.

As we move through the morning, the snow will continue to fall light to moderately… possibly even heavy for short periods in the eastern Hudson Valley.  This snow should be heavy enough to keep road conditions rather slick and snow covered in many cases. We’ll have to see how much snow cover we get on paved surfaces… with temperatures rather close to freezing.  The AM commute could be a bit dicey as a result.

As the morning progresses, the sun will get higher in the sky… and the snow will begin to struggle to stick to the roads.  In mid March, the snow needs to fall quite hard to stick to the roads during the daylight hours.  We’re not sure that it will fall hard enough to keep the roads snow covered on Tuesday… but it’s best to play it safe, and expect snow covered roadways.  Allow extra time for your travel on Tuesday morning… especially as you go further east (where it will snow harder), and also up in elevation (where it is colder).

The snow is likely to last into the afternoon, and as we mentioned… the location of the back edge of the snow is important, because it could lead to an extended period of light to moderate snow in the HV through the afternoon…

You’ll notice that while this storm really cranks up and moves out to sea… the snow potentially could linger in the Hudson Valley into mid Afternoon.  Snow rates would be lighter most likely, and roads would likely be just wet by this point (but wait and see, we can’t assume it will be fine)… but snow could continue to accumulate on grass and unpaved surfaces.

When all is said and done… and the snow tapers off from SW to NE between 1pm and 6pm (you’ll notice it hangs on longer in the NE Hudson Valley)… snowfall amounts in the region should average 3 to 6 inches.  However… the eastern Hudson Valley, especially east of the Hudson River and north of I-84… could see 5 to 8 inches.  If the snow bands really wrap up around this storm… we could see some areas over-achieve on snow totals.  But based on current data, a widespread 2 to 5… or 3 to 6 inches look good.

We’ll have to see if we have to tweak the snowfall amounts up an inch or two, based on how these snow bands perform… which is all part of now-casting, which we’ll continue to do through the storm on Tuesday.

Be safe… and thank you for your continued support!