Our mild winter pattern is sending another storm system our way for the end of the work week. Clouds will gradually increase late on Thursday and into Thursday night. Highs on Thursday will rise into the mid 40s ahead of the storm. Then another wave of low pressure rides up along the SE ridge, and spreads rain showers into the Hudson Valley before sunrise, giving us an unsettled Friday around the region. The good news, is that frozen precipitation will not be an issue for this event.
How this storm moves as it exits the east coast, will determine if moisture will move slowly, allow precipitation to linger into the overnight hours Saturday night. If that happens, and its appearing like it may… the rain could end as a period of wet snow. Right now (approximately 72 hours away), computer guidance has no clue on the details of this setup. Options are all over the map… meaning that the storm could track north and give us all rain; or it could track further south and give us an extended period of wet snow.
We will continue to monitor the development over the next day or two, and let you know if this is a legitimate threat, and something we need to watch.
Understandably with the Ice Storm Warnings being issued for Sullivan, W. Ulster, W. Greene, and Delaware counties… some anxiety and concern has arisen among the viewership. This post will seek to help people determine whether or not they need to be on alert, or they can allow their mind to ease a bit.
The concern for an ice storm is primarily for the following zones in the Hudson Valley:
Highest Concern: Zone 1, 2 and 5
Slightly less concern: Zone 4 and 6
The first image, is an image long in the making. We have created an HVW zone map guide so that you everyone can better determine what zone they live in. Each zone has towns/cities listed alphabetically. Not EVERY town will be listed, but everyone should be able to find a town within 5 miles of their location. If your town isn’t in the zones of concern, then you are not expected to see significant icing.
The second image is the latest estimate of ice accumulation from this storm. Chances are, the amounts are a bit aggressive, but you can see the focus of concern is clearly on the Catskills. Zones 1, 2 and 5 have a lot of area above 1,250 feet in elevation… and it is in those areas where the severest icing is possible. The higher elevations of zone 4 and 6 are above 1,000 feet in elevation. Those areas could also see significant and potentially damaging icing. Temperatures are obviously critical… and the difference between 31 and 33 degrees will be the difference between downed trees and power lines… and plain rain. The possible damage could be severe, especially in places that never get above 32 degrees.
Hopefully the computer guidance is slightly too cold, and more areas end up being above 32 degrees in the Catskills. But we are seeing enough data suggesting a potentially damaging ice event in the high elevations over 1000 feet… that we want to make sure our viewers in those areas are fully prepared. The event begins after 3pm today.
We will have more information as we can share it…
Winter… has gone on break. At least that’s how it feels at the moment. The weather pattern is a mild one, with cold air rather difficult to come by. Even so, we may have some issues to contend with Sunday night in the Catskills… let’s talk about it.
Saturday looks great… for late December. Sunshine mixing with fair weather clouds, and afternoon temps in the 40s. Partly cloudy skies Saturday night will allow temps to tumble below freezing once again. Sunday we’ll watch clouds increase ahead of our next storm system, as temps climb into the low 40s once again.
A storm system will cut into the Great Lakes, spreading rain out ahead of it. There is no arctic air in place, so we won’t even see a ‘snow to ice to rain’ scenario, it’s just a cold rain… with an exception…
Cold air in Canada will be pushed into New England by a departing high pressure. Parts of Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts are in for quite a bit of sleet and snow. In the Hudson Valley, it should be just warm enough for rain… from Kingston, to Poughkeepsie, to Newburgh and points south and west. However, in the higher elevations of Ulster, Sullivan, Delaware and Greene counties, temperatures may hover right near the 32° mark. The upper atmosphere is not cold enough for snow… but temperatures at the surface in locations above 1000 feet may be just cold enough for freezing rain to develop. It’s an increasing concern we’ve had over the past 48 hours, as we watch this storm approach. Once again… the valley areas look like rain, (that could possibly taper as some wet snow flakes Monday night)… but higher elevations (you know who you are)… need to monitor the forecast in the next day or so.
Hope everyone gets off to a good start on your Saturday!
After an active and wintry first half of December, things have slowed down considerably across the Hudson Valley and northeast. That’s due to a massive area of high pressure over the US, that has diverted storms around the region… and allowed a mild Pacific air mass to take over the United States. So while we have a bit of a lull in the action, lets analyze December so far… followed by what we have coming our way in the next 2 to 3 weeks.
December so Far…
After the first 20 days of December, the bulk of the country has been near, to just a bit above average. The primary exception being Minnesota and the Northeast, where it’s been a few degrees below average. So locally, in the Hudson Valley… it’s been quite a cold December. Along with that cold, has been some snow. Most of the region reached or exceeded the average December snowfall by the 2nd day of the month…
Location was critical to how much snow you’ve seen in December so far, with 90%+ of the snowfall for the month coming in the first 2 days. But with the average being about 8.6″ for the month in the city of Poughkeepsie… despite the fact that things have quieted down recently, most places will see the month finish near or above average in terms of snowfall. Looking at the pattern for the next 10 days, it seems like chances are rather good that the map above won’t change much for the remainder of December.
Looking Forward: End of December & Early January
So as we approach Christmas, and the week leading up to the New Year, things are likely to warm up significantly around the Hudson Valley. If we take a look at the upper air pattern, or ‘jet stream’, we can get an idea of how things are shaping up for the next week or so…
If you like wintry weather… this pattern is about the worst thing you could ask to see. The strong ridge over the eastern US will allow above average temperatures to take hold. A persistent SW flow, will mean any storms that threaten the region over the next 7 days will be rain, and not snow. At the same time, the western US will be cold and stormy, with chances for snow in the higher elevations. If we look at the projected temperatures compared to average for the same time frame… the phrase we would use in the ‘weather biz’ would be “blowtorch”…
If we take the temperatures over the next 7 days… and average those together… we’re looking at temperatures above, to well above average for late December. All the cold air is bottled up in northern Canada, or the western US. The upper air pattern won’t allow for the cold air to drop into the United States… at least not until we get closer to the New Year. That will mean above average temperatures… and minimal, if any, chances for snow between now and January 1st.
But as we look into the start of 2020… things are likely to begin to turn more wintry. The upper air pattern appears likely to turn colder, and more favorable for wintry weather…
While not as warm as the pattern shown earlier… this pattern is colder, but not ‘arctic’. That blue ring of cold in the arctic, at the top of the image… shows a very strong polar vortex in the arctic. That means the bulk of the coldest air will be bottled up in the arctic, not invading Canada and the northern US. However… this image is for nearly 2 weeks out… so a lot can change in that time. But as the pattern looks now, the start of January looks colder than the end of December… but that won’t be difficult, considering how warm the end of December looks.
The early part of January currently appears likely to be near or slightly below average with temperatures… and with an active storm track, giving us chances at winter storms. Time will tell… to see how things ultimately unfold. But winter will be on a slight hiatus for a week or so. We’ll be here with you the whole way, giving you updates as we head into the new year.
Happy holidays, Hudson Valley! Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year!!