Sunday Discussion : High Wind Watches and Warnings

On the heels of periods of rain Sunday morning, we’ll begin to see major changes during the afternoon hours.  However, instead of the other storms this winter, where the arctic air rushing in was the story… this time, the story is the increasing, powerful and potentially damaging wind gusts.  These high winds will be long in duration as well… beginning Sunday afternoon, and not subsiding until sunset on Monday.

Possibly one of the best ways to envision this event, is to look at the futurecast hourly wind gust map from 12pm Sunday through 12am Tuesday… a 36 hour period.

This is a pretty powerful image.  Poughkeepsie is projected to see 40mph gusts for roughly 24 straight hours.  Parts of the Catskills are projected to see 65mph wind gusts Monday Afternoon.  This is shaping up to be a fairly intense wind event for the Hudson Valley.  As of this post, the entire Hudson Valley is under either a High Wind Warning, or a High Wind Watch.

This is a screenshot of one of the peak hours of wind gusts.  It projects gusts in the mid 50s across Sullivan County, with gusts in the mid 40s across the entire Hudson Valley.  But we can expect multiple hours of these type of conditions, and so the following are possible:

  • – Strong to damaging wind gusts that could bring down large tree branches, trees and power lines
  • – Numerous to widespread power outages possible
  • – Potentially difficult travel, especially for high profile vehicles

Now, because of the unique topography of the Hudson Valley, not everyone will experience the same conditions on Sunday evening and Monday.  Areas most exposed to west northwest winds will be most significantly impacted.  Those areas will be the ones to see peak wind gusts over 45 and 50mph.  Areas that are more sheltered from westerly winds, will be spared the worst conditions.  This may work as a benefit to your house and property… but likely won’t be of any help in terms of preserving electricity.  We want to be optimistic that we won’t see too many power outages, but this kind of wind event is not too common for the Hudson Valley.  We can see wind gusts in this range from time to time, but not usually for such an extended period of time.  So the chances are, that parts of the valley take quite a battering from the winds.

We’ll track this with you, straight through the storm.  We’ll have our phones charged up, so that if we lose power, we can still reach you with information.  Make sure you have the necessary power outage gear ready to go, just in case you should be without power for an extended period.  Likely the most important item is warm clothing and a way to keep warm, considering the time of year, and the temperatures in the 30s on Monday.

Batten down the hatches, a blustery 2 days ahead.  Thanks for your continued support!

Saturday Evening Update : Light Wintry Mix Possible Tonight

Most of the Hudson Valley is under a “Winter Weather Advisory” tonight.  The approaching storm system will spread rain into the region overnight, but before the milder air can work into the region… the front edge of the precipitation may fall in the form of light sleet and light freezing rain… maybe even some wet snow flakes. 
– Timing: 7pm to 5am
– Impact: patchy icy spots on untreated surfaces…
– Location: Entire HV (especially Ulster, Sullivan, Greene)
– Amount: up to 0.10″ of sleet & freezing rain
– Temps steadily rise above freezing before dawn
 
This map shows the potential for freezing precipitation as some spotty light precipitation moves into the region tonight.  It looks very disorganized and spotty, as well as very light in intensity.  However, with temperatures projected to be 32° to 36°, to be on the safe side, the advisories have been issued.  Parts of the region still have snow cover, and that snowpack may be radiating cold air.  So even though air temperatures may be slightly above freezing, the paved surfaces could be just below freezing, creating some black ice. 
 
By the time the steady precipitation arrives (likely after 4am)… temperatures will slowly rise into the mid and upper 30s, safely above freezing for the vast majority of the valley.  So with the exception of perhaps the traditionally colder valleys of Ulster, Sullivan and Greene counties, the steady precipitation in the predawn hours will fall in the form of plain rain.  Even so, it’s best to err on the side of caution tonight.  Temperatures as of this post range between 32° (Monticello) and 37° (Poughkeepsie & several other locations).  We’ll continue to track the temperatures through the night, to confirm that temps are rising as expected.

Saturday Discussion: Spotty Ice, then Rain, then Wind

No shortage of interesting weather over the next 48 hours.  As we watch yet another storm blow through with the same pattern of recent events.  Moderately cold air will be in place when the storm arrives, and that could touch off some spotty areas of ice Saturday night.

Winter weather advisories are up for parts of the region, due to the chance of light freezing rain at the onset of the rain overnight.  While likely confined to the traditionally colder parts of the Hudson valley, we can’t rule out a few icy spots overnight.  Once again… this does not look like a major issue, but events like this can be the worst kind… where conditions are fine, and you’re doing 50mph, then you drive 1 mile down the road, and suddenly there is black ice.    The combined advisory is below:

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Greene, Delaware, Ulster, Orange, Sullivan, Columbia Counties all have a WWA in effect. 

WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 9 PM THIS EVENING TO

7 AM EST SUNDAY…

* WHAT…Mixed precipitation expected. Total snow accumulations of up to one inch and ice accumulations from a glaze up to one tenth of an inch expected.

* WHERE…Portions of southern Vermont, northwestern hills of Connecticut, western Massachusetts, and most of east central New York.

* WHEN…From 9 PM this evening to 7 AM EST Sunday.

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After midnight, temps should gradually rise safely above freezing, and a steady rain is likely by morning on Sunday.  The rain will be with us through the morning hours, tapering off around mid day.  From there our focus turns to the howling winds we expect.  Winds that could cause sporadic power outages around the Hudson Valley, below is the wind watch in place for parts of our region…

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High Wind watch in effect for higher terrain, Western Greene,Western Ulster, Sullivan and Delaware Counties. 

Upgrades to high wind warnings and additional coverage of wind advisories likely for remainder of the region.  

HIGH WIND WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM SUNDAY EVENING THROUGH

MONDAY EVENING…

* Locations…The western Adirondacks, western and central Mohawk Valley, Schoharie Valley, Helderbergs, and the eastern Catskills.

* Winds…West 20 to 35 mph with gusts up to 60 mph.

* Timing…Sunday night into early Monday evening.

* Impacts…The potential for strong to damaging winds, which may blow down large tree limbs, trees and power lines. Widespread power outages are possible. Travel could be difficult, especially for high profile vehicles.

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We’ll have additional thoughts and commentary later today and tonight, likely with some graphics for the timing of the high winds.  Until then, we hope you have a great day!

Friday Discussion : Just a Normal Day in the Valley

After a week or two of ups and downs, with ice and snow and even some rain… maybe you can take some solace to know that for at least Friday, things will be ‘normal’ for a day.  Ok, we’re being a little dramatic… but the truth is that Friday will look very much like what a day this time of year would be expected to look like.  The average high for the day in Poughkeepsie is 41°, and we’ll be near that Friday afternoon.  The skies should be partly to mostly sunny, giving us a nice finish to the work week.

Then on Saturday, we’ll track a storm system approaching for Saturday night into Sunday.  Unlike the past few storms that saw a snow to ice transition… this one will be almost entirely rain.  It could briefly start out as freezing rain in the colder valleys.  However, the warmer air will win the battle quickly, and the entire Hudson Valley will turn to rain by late Saturday night.  The rain will last with us until Sunday, and when the rain exits Sunday afternoon… strong winds will howl, and usher in a return to the cold air to start the work week.

So the 1st half of the weekend looks decent, the 2nd half of the weekend looks stormy.  So we’ll be busy through the weekend timing the arrival of the rain.  For now, we hope you have a great Friday!  TGIF!!

Winter Storm Forecast : Wednesday 2/20

The pattern this winter has not budged, and this storm will be no different.  We’ll go through the details, but by now… you probably have a good idea of how this storm will play out.

Timing:
– 12pm to 3pm – Snow starts from SW to NE
– 5pm to 8pm – Snow changes to sleet from SW to NE
– 6pm to 10pm – Sleet mixes with / changes to freezing rain
– 11pm to 3am – Wintry mix tapers off

Impacts:
– Snow covered & icy roads likely for the evening commute
– Multiple hour wintry mix period likely
– Icy conditions on roads through Wednesday night
– Icy travel possible into Thursday AM commute

Snow Accumulation:
– Catskills & Upper Hudson Valley (Zone 1,2,N3,N4): Coating to 2 inches
– Mid & Lower Hudson Valley (Zone S3,S4,5,6,7,8,9):  1 to 3 inches
– Ice Accumulation : Entire HV could see one to two tenths of an inch of ice on top

Discussion:

No real changes from our Monday night discussion.  Plenty of strong cold air in place across the Hudson Valley, as we see a storm system primed to attack the cold air.  As the storm pushes northeast, the warm air will overrun the cold air and provide us an overrunning snow event.  The start timing on this could be as early as 11:30 pm in places like Port Jervis, but in general, the flakes begin to fly between 12pm to 3pm from SW to NE.

The snow doesn’t appear likely to fall heavily in the early afternoon.  In some storms, it goes from cloudy to heavy snow in a short amount of time.  This storm seems likely to start as light snow for several hours, in part because of the weakening of this system as it arrives.  So by the time the PM commute arrives… a general 1 to 3 inches of snow are expected…

The highest snow amounts (amounts closest to 3″) will be the closer you get to the NY/NJ border.  That’s where the snow rates will be highest, and where the snow will fall for the greatest period of time.  The lower snowfall amounts (Coating to an inch or so) will be further north, in Columbia and Greene counties.  There, the snow looks quite light, and starts later.  But as you can see on this simulation… once the sleet (purple) moves in… we are expecting an extended period of sleet and freezing rain (pink)…

Temperatures Wednesday night are expected to stay at or just below freezing, meaning icy conditions are possible as the sun rises on Thursday.  Indications are that ice amounts will be under 0.25″, so power outages and down tree branches are not a widespread concern.  However, these icy conditions could linger to start our Thursday AM commute, something we’ll have to monitor as we go through the event.

This is by no means a significant winter storm.  But it’s enough that we have to deal with it, because the 6 to 8 hours of sleet and light freezing rain that are expected could cause travel troubles Wednesday night… and we want everyone to be properly prepared.  Just be prepared to allow for extra time, due to the likelihood of icy travel conditions

Tuesday Outlook : Shifting Focus to Wednesday Wintry Mix

The overall pattern will continue to hold true for the Hudson Valley as we prepare for our next winter storm on Wednesday.

Futurecast Radar: 7am Wednesday – 7am Thursday

On this simulation, you can see that the precipitation is well defined off to our south.  A well defined snow band in southern PA is in place as Wednesday begins.  But as soon as we put the map into motion, you can see it doesn’t translate northeastward very nicely at all.  The system weakens in the face of high pressure which drifts off the coast of Massachusetts.  Normally, this high pressure would exit into SE Canada, giving way for the moisture and snow to advance northeastward.  This time however, the high pressure will erode some of the snow as it moves northeast.  The result is a projected snow map that looks like this…

Projected Snowfall Map : Wednesday Night

In Pennsylvania and southern NJ, widespread 2 to 4 inches falls before the wintry mix takes over.  Locally, in the Hudson Valley… much less is projected to fall.  The reason for this, is the eroding of the snow band as it moves north… which is primarily due to the cold, dry, high pressure that instead of moving away to the northeast… it holds ground and weakens the front edge of the snow.  A situation like this… is exactly what snow lovers have come to expect this winter.

Timing:
– Snow develops from west to east between 1pm and 4pm
– Snow changes to sleet around sunset
– Sleet changes to freezing rain by mid to late evening (midnight)
– Tapers off by Thur AM commute (icy commute possible)

Accumulation: (updated as of 3pm Tue)
– Well North of I-84 (Upper HV) : Coating to 2 inches
– Near and South of I-84 (Mid & Lower HV) : 1 to 3 inches (Locally up to 4″)
– Entire Hudson Valley : 1/4″ of sleet + 0.1″ to 0.3″ of ice accretion

So once the snow changes over to a wintry mix late in the day Wednesday, and early Wednesday night… a multiple hour period of sleet and then freezing rain is expected.  So just because snow totals will be light, doesn’t mean we escape the negative impacts.  Icy conditions will be possible from sunset on Wednesday, straight into the sunrise hours on Thursday.  We don’t expect significant icing, with most of the precipitation being light.  However, as we know… a little ice goes a long way, toward making for hazardous conditions.

We’ll have a closer look on Tuesday, at the exact amount of frozen precipitation expected Wednesday night into Thursday morning.  By mid morning on Thursday, it appears as if temperatures surge into the 40s and low 50s, melting everything that falls in a frozen form.  More details as we get closer…

Monday Discussion : Melting the Mix

As of mid day, the light snow showers and freezing drizzle are tapering off from west to east. The sun will try to break through the clouds this afternoon, and we could see temperatures climb toward 40° in many places… melting the little snow and sleet that fell overnight.
 
We’ll do a more comprehensive recap this evening, but in short… this was the result of a weak disturbance developing over us at the last minute. That kind of scenario always leads to some surprises, and there were plenty of surprises with this event across the region.
 
The snow shield was disorganized and showery in nature, meaning that some areas saw steady snow… while others barely saw any snow at all. In addition, the southern half of the valley saw mid level warmth creep in at the last minute. That turned the snow over to sleet and freezing drizzle for much of Orange, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester counties. So in that area, a coating to a half inch of snow was about all that fell. That’s the trouble with these weak disturbances that develop at the last second… they’re disorganized and unpredictable.
 
Looking forward, the mid-week storm is likely to start as snow, before changing to ice and eventually rain. We’ll work on the timing and details for that system in the next day or so… but it’s another wintry mix scenario, with warm air rushing into the region.  Have a great afternoon!

Sunday Discussion : Sunday Night into Monday Snow Event

A weak low pressure with minimal moisture will give 100% effort to try and be a little over achiever Sunday night into Monday, potentially causing some snow covered and slippery travel for the start to our work week on President’s Day.

Timing:
– 8pm to 12am: Light snow develops
– 12am to 6am: Steady period of light snow
– 6am to 6pm: Periods of light snow showers

Impact:
– Light snow accumulates on all surfaces for Monday AM commute
– Snow covered and icy roads possible
– Slick spots persist through the day Monday

Snow Accumulation:
– Entire Hudson Valley: General 2 to 5 inches
… Best chance for 1 or 2 inches: I-287 on south, western Catskills
… Best chance for 5 or 6 inches: eastern Catskills, elevations over 1000ft

Discussion:

A weak area of low pressure will push into the Great Lakes Sunday night, and redevelop off the coast of NJ by Monday morning.  This will spread a swath of light to at times moderate snow into the Hudson Valley late Sunday evening, and it could persist into the afternoon hours on Monday.

Snow develops between 9pm and 12am from west to east… and could do so in a burst of steady snow as it does.

On this simulation, the snow advances to the Hudson River by 11pm, and will reach the NY/CT border by midnight.  You can also see the darker blues indicative of pockets of heavier snow, that could fall up to 1″ per hour.  As the overnight progresses, you can see the snow continues to fall steadily…

By 3am, the steady snow continues, as the low pressure tries to transfer to the coast… redeveloping off the coast of NJ or Delaware.  This will cause the snow to redevelop and enhance over the Hudson Valley in the predawn hours… causing the snow to persist a few hours longer, causing for problems on the Monday AM commute…

With 1 to 3 inches of snow likely by sunrise… possibly even a spotty 4″ total in some higher elevations, the Monday morning commute will be slick for many portions of the Hudson Valley.  Monday being President’s Day means that schools will be closed, so there will be less traffic on the roads… but anyone who does have to commute, will want to allow extra time.  Because as you can see on this map… light snow showers could extend through the morning hours.  Additional accumulations should be less than 1 inch… but the fact that the snow may continue lightly… could keep conditions snowy and slick through much of the morning.  So anyone with plans on Monday will want to account for wintry conditions through much of the day… even if the bulk of the accumulating snow falls by sunrise on Monday

In Summary:

We’ll have more coverage on this Sunday evening… but with this storm system, there’s not a whole lot more to say.  It’s a weak storm system, with a band of snow that will push in by midnight.  The snow will fall steadily (even heavily for a brief time) before sunrise on Monday… with a widespread 1 to 3… maybe even 2 to 4 inches by sunrise.  After sunrise, the snow tapers off to light snow showers.  Additional accumulations of less than 1 inch are possible… but the persistent snow showers could last into early afternoon in some areas.  The most uncertain part of the forecast, is related to the scattered light snow showers that could persist during the day.  Some data suggests it tapers off completely, some data keeps the light snow showers falling until late afternoon.  Either way, the additional accumulation should be very light (maybe up to 1″ in spots)… but this would increase the concern for slick travel through the day on Monday.  We’ll try to fine tune our concern on this threat later on Sunday.

Have a great day!

Saturday Discussion : What Lies Ahead?

Now half way through the month of February, and the weather pattern is no less complicated than it’s been all season. The persistent cold and snowy pattern that we were expecting, hasn’t materialized with the intensity we were thinking it would. But that is a more detailed conversation for another time…

With all that said, the Groundhog’s prediction of early spring hasn’t come true either. Tuesday’s winter storm… while not the pure snow storm many want to see… was still evidence of winter’s firm grip on the country. And as we look forward at the next 5 to 7 days, while we don’t see any blockbuster events on the horizon… we have multiple chances of snow across the Hudson Valley.

Snow threat #1
A weak disturbance will roll from west to east, starting in the Midwest, pushing into the Ohio Valley, and continuing into the Northeast. It is starved for moisture, but as an elongated short wave, multiple pieces of weak energy could touch off snow showers between Sunday night and Monday afternoon. The snow appears quite light in nature, but the potential being stretched out over roughly 18 hours could produce a few inches of snow in the Hudson Valley.

-Preliminary Timing: 9pm Sun – 3pm Mon
-Prelim snow accumulation: 1 to 4 inches
*Confidence level: MODERATE

Snow Threat #2
A low pressure should develop in the Southeast on Tuesday, and begin pushing NE. There is a lot of uncertainty regarding the track of this system. A strong high pressure will move into the northeast ahead of this system, and depending on position, strength and timing, the high pressure could suppress the storm to our south. The European model is highlighting this confusion and uncertainty while the GFS American model provides us with another extended light/moderate snow event. The next couple days will provide a challenge to the forecast.

-Preliminary Timing: Wednesday/Thursday
-Prelim snow accumulation : 3 to 8 inches
* Confidence level: LOW

This is just the first discussion we’re having about these systems. We will have a detailed discussion about the Sunday night disturbance tonight. It’s not a major event, but the next 5 days could provide a consistent reminder that we have not heard the last of Old Man Winter.  Also, anyone looking for information on the snow totals from our Tuesday Snow & Ice event, here’s the link for that : TUESDAY WINTER STORM RECAP

Have a great Saturday!

Friday Discussion: Tuesday Storm Recap

The winter of 2018-2019 has been consistent.  Storm after storm sees snow develop around the region, with a low pressure that cuts inland to our west.  That sends warm air surging northeastward, over the cold air at the surface.  The end result, is snow to sleet to freezing rain… and possibly even rain.  Tuesday was no different, and much of the Hudson Valley looks like a mini-glacier, because of the 2 to 4 inches of glazed ice covering everything.

So lets press the “rewind” button, and look at how the forecast performed.  As usual, we’ll start with the Final Forecast, the Storm History Map, and the NWS snow totals.

As it turned out, our preliminary forecast was even better than our final forecast.  We increased the snowfall ranges by an inch or two on Monday night, because some of the data we were seeing was suggesting the warm wedge of air would be delayed.  However, that thin wedge of warmth would not be delayed or denied, and the changeover to sleet occurred right in the projected timeframe.

The result was widespread snowfall reports of 2 to 5 inches all around the Hudson Valley.  That snowfall was followed by moderate accumulations of sleet, leaving many with 4 or 5 inches of sleet and snow to clear by Wednesday morning.  If you compare the forecast to what the result was… only the Catskills were possibly a hair underdone.  With many reports in the 4 to 7 inch range… the preliminary forecast would have been perfect for the Catskills.  That said… many reports of 5 or 6 inches in the Catskills still falls within the 5 to 9 inch range.

Also, we received many concerned questions and comments leading up to the storm, because of other forecasts that were significantly more than what we were projecting.  For instance, the National Weather Service had Orange county in a 5 to 7 inch range, Dutchess county in a 6 to 8 inch range, and Ulster county in a 5 to 8 inch range.  Our forecast for all 3 areas was 2 to 6 inches, and was originally 2 to 5 inches.  The end result for this entire area ended up being 2 to 5 inches in general, before a rapid transition to sleet.

It just highlights why we try not to focus on any other forecast leading up to a storm.  To say that the NWS and Weather Channel projections didn’t influence our thinking in the final forecast, wouldn’t be totally honest.  When you make a prediction, and everyone else has a prediction for nearly twice what you’re projecting… it requires a bit of confidence to hold your ground and not be influenced.  However, at the end of the day… the totality of our forecast (impacts, timing and accumulations)… was something we are very happy with an proud of.  We hope that you found the forecast to be helpful in preparing you for what to expect.  Our #1 goal is to keep you a step ahead of the storm… and our forecast on this event did that.

Thank you for all your continued support.  It’s what keeps us going and motivated.  Have a great day!