Saturday Night Snow Recap – 2/17/18

As we kick off a work week that will feature some record high temperatures by mid week… let’s take a look back at our sneaky snow storm from Saturday night…

After a lot of computer guidance chaos, that caused us some pretty big headaches early on Friday… things settled back to what we originally expected, and our finalized forecast from Saturday morning captured the storm’s potential properly.

The northern Hudson Valley got the short end of the snow stick… only seeing 1 to 2… maybe 3 inches of snow.  Areas north of Kingston, and NW Ulster county… on up into Columbia and Greene counties.  Moving south, we saw a widespread 3 to 6 inch snowfall across the bulk of the Hudson Valley… with a lot of 3 and 4 inch totals north of I-84.  As you moved further south… the biggest winners were Rockland, Westchester and Putnam counties… where a lot of 6 and 7 inch totals were reported.

The radar images from the storm painted the picture pretty well, as we saw the heaviest snow bands consistently in the lower Hudson Valley… (zones 8 and 9).  There was a secondary snow band that hit the NW portions of the Hudson Valley, and that was responsible for causing the 3 to 5 inch totals across Sullivan and Delaware counties.

Computer Model Chaos

All in all, the storm behaved in line with the forecast.  But that doesn’t tell the whole story.  When we first began to zero in on this storm Wednesday and Thursday, we had it pegged as a widespread 3 to 6 inch event.  We were so confident in fact, that we began discussing it Wednesday, before anyone else.  This caused some feedback on social media, asking why we were calling this a likely event, when nobody else was talking about it.  The storm had the look of a fairly stable forecast, where we didn’t see a lot of margin for error, and felt comfortable discussing it early as a 3 to 6 inch event.  The 1st bouts of data supported that idea rather well…

EARLY Snowfall Computer Guidance

This was what the Thursday night computer models were suggesting.  The models tend to be a big aggressive with snowfall projections, but seeing this really helped us reinforce our 3 to 6 inch snowfall ideas.  Then Friday morning, everything changed…

Friday Morning Snowfall Projection

As we were getting ready to put out our “Preliminary Snowfall Forecast”, almost all of the computer guidance turned on us.  There was a dramatic shift to push this storm further to our south, keeping the real accumulating snowfall to our south.  The amount of time between the first snowfall map (showing widespread 6 inch snow) and the 2nd map (showing 1 to 2 inches tops)… was 12 hours, or two cycles of the computer model.

This left us with a big predicament… did we completely alter our ideas, or hold fast in the face of changing data.  We settled on a compromise, of widespread 2 to 4 inch totals… which was actually an aggressive forecast in the face of data that was suddenly saying we would see an inch or two across the southern half of the valley, and maybe a dusting further north.

As Friday continued, and we moved into early Saturday… just as quickly as the guidance had shifted from 6 inches to 2 inches… the computer guidance went right back to the original idea.  The storm began to look like it would be further north, and that the Hudson Valley would see a decent snow of 3 to 6 inches in general… with the ‘jackpot zone’ setting up in the lower Hudson Valley.  So we were able to get the “final snowfall forecast” to reflect the proper data, and have everyone ready for a light to moderate snow event across the HV.

We just wanted to show you a little bit behind the curtain… of what goes into forecasting snowfall amounts during a snow storm forecast.  You can’t react to every piece of data, you need to be measured and plant your flag in the ground somewhere.  Otherwise you run the risk of just rapidly altering your forecast up, then down, then back up… and everyone is bouncing around like ping pong balls.

Thanks for all your support… and thanks for reading our recap!  Have a great day!

Sunday Outlook : Winter Wonderland for a Day

In the wake of a sneaky little Saturday night snowstorm, we’ve already got partly cloudy skies and blue skies to start our Sunday.  A blustery NW wind has kicked up in the wake of the storm, and that’s adding a little extra chill… as well as blowing the snow around.

Reports across the region of widespread 1 to 3 inches across our northern areas, with 3 to 6 inches being fairly common across the central Hudson Valley.  Our big winners, as anticipated… were in Rockland, Westchester and Putnam counties.  There, we had numerous reports of 6 to 8 inches of snow.  We’ll have a detailed look at the snowstorm once the complete data comes in later on Sunday.

So now, we will gradually begin our warmup to what should be record warmth by Tuesday and Wednesday.  Sunshine and blue skies will increase for our Sunday, and we’ll have temps warming to near or just above 40°.  Have a great Sunday!

WINTER STORM UPDATE : Latest as of 7pm

Poughkeepsie’s high yesterday was 53°… but now, just over 24 hours later, a steady snow has overtaken the Hudson Valley. The snow shield continues to progress into the region at this hour, with most of us seeing a steady light to moderate snow.

This NEXRAD radar does not differentiate rain from snow, but everything you see is falling in the form of snow. The scale works like this…
– Light blue / Teal = Light snow
– Dark blue / light green = moderate snow
– dark green / yellow = heavy snow

So you can see that most of the area is a steady light snow, but there have been a few pockets of moderate to heavy snow popping up. But it’s off to our south and west, where the snow REALLY intensifies:
– There’s a strong band of moderate to heavy snow in eastern PA, that will push into the Hudson Valley between 7pm and 9pm. If that holds together, we could see snowfall rates approach an inch per hour for a time.
– The large area of green to our south, indicating moderate to heavy snow… is likely to stay south of our area for the most part. Rockland and Westchester county (zone 8 & 9) could see some of that heavier snow… which is why we expected the highest totals in those areas.

For most of us… expect periods of light to moderate snow to continue for the next several hours… through 9 or 10pm. We’ll have to see if the band of heavier snow in eastern PA and NW NJ can creep into the HV… and if so, what kind of snowfall rates can we see? No changes to the forecast… 3 to 6 inches in general. The further north you go, the lower the totals are likely to be, with the higher snowfall amounts likely south of I-84.

(Bill’s Gut feeling)
I won’t put words in Alex’s mouth… but based on the current radar, and other data… a lot of 3 & 4 inch amounts seem likely north of I-84 (maybe some 5 inch amounts as well). I’m starting to think you might have to go down into zone 8 and 9 to see 5 and 6 inch amounts. But we’ll see how it shakes out. We don’t want to overanalyze the radar… because snow bands can develop and shift around unexpectedly. Be safe… keep those reports coming. Another update in a few hours.

Final Storm Forecast : Saturday Night

Here we go again, Hudson Valley.  In the midst of an extremely mild pattern… we’re going to squeeze out a small snowstorm tonight.  An arctic cold front swept through the valley Friday, and temps are near or just below freezing for Saturday morning.  Providing just enough cold air, so that when a wave of low pressure rides along that arctic front tonight, it will be snow that falls across the region.

Timing
– 5pm to 8pm : Snow develops from SW to NE
– 9pm to 2am : Steadiest snow
– 3am to 6am : Snow tapers from west to east

Snowfall
– Northern Catskills & Northern HV (northern parts of zone 1, 2 & 3): 1 to 3 inches
– Vast Majority of Hudson Valley (zone 4, 5, 6, 7 and southern 1, 2, & 3): 3 to 6 inches
– Lower Hudson Valley (zone 8 & 9): 4 to 8 inches

Discussion:

This storm will bring a sneaky snow event in the midst of a mild pattern.  Just how much snow we see, depends on a combination of factors.  Most important is the position of the storm system, and the track it will subsequently take.  But also a factor are how strong the system can get… and how much moisture we can squeeze out of it.

So let’s walk through the expected progression of this storm…

It appears that the storm will begin to enter the lower Hudson Valley between 5pm and 8pm from SW to NE.  Temperatures at the onset should be 30° to 33°, and after a day of sunshine and above freezing temperatures… the snow may struggle to accumulate on roads initially.  But the fact that the sun will be down, and that temps should be at or below freezing… should allow snow to begin accumulating on roads after not too long.  So as the evening progresses, and the snow continues to fall, snow and ice covered roadways are likely.

As the evening progresses, the snow should continue to build over the region…

Looking at this futurecast… this looks like a good ol’ fashioned snow storm for the Hudson Valley.  The low pressure should exit east of Maryland and Delaware, and continue to move northeast.  The snow is likely to be falling at a fairly good clip at this point, with the steadiest and heaviest snow expected between 9pm and 2am.  Travel at this time will become increasingly difficult… due to snow covered roads and reduced visibility from steadily falling snow.  If you have plans after dark tonight, you really want to factor this in.

By around 3am… we’ll be seeing the snow begin to exit the region from west to east…

As the storm moves very close to the benchmark (40°N, 70°W)… it should begin to pull the snow shield east of the Hudson Valley.  Bringing an end to the snow across the region, and by the time the sun rises on Sunday… we’ll likely have a mix of clouds and sunshine, with temps in the mid to upper 20s.

This storm will be close to the benchmark… which traditionally means the heaviest snows will be in the lower Hudson Valley and closer to NYC.  Usually the ‘best’ snowstorms for the Hudson Valley track just inside of the benchmark, a bit closer to the coast.  As a result… here are some bullet points:

– In general, 3 to 6 inches of snow is likely for our region.

– As you go further NW, snow amounts are likely to be slightly lower, so those in the northern HV and Catskills may see slightly lower amounts of 1 to 3 inches.

– However… higher elevations will amplify the snowfall amounts, do to the added lift and colder temps that the mountains provide.  So the lower half of the Catskills could still see the 3 to 6 amounts, due to the benefit of elevation.

– As you go SE, south of I-84, and into zones 8 & 9… a lot more 4, 5, 6 and 7 inch amounts are possible, hence the slightly higher snowfall forecast there.

– There are always heavier snow bands that set up within these systems… if one sets up over the Hudson Valley, it could mean slightly higher totals.  The data is conflicted on this, so we’re siding with the consensus… which is 3 to 6 inches.

As always, this will turn into a now-casting event.  Meaning as the storm develops, and begins to unfold… we’ll have updated analysis and discussion.  We’ll look to all of our viewers on Facebook to provide observations and condition updates.  If we’re seeing signs that this storm could overachieve a bit… we will let you know.  In addition, if we see signs that the snow shield doesn’t quite come together as we expect… we’ll discuss that as well.

But as of now… the data is looking good… we’re not seeing any “scary” signals that could wreck the forecast.  Check with us on Facebook for updates, and if anything changes… we’ll let you know.

Thanks for your reading… and all your continued support!

Preliminary Snowfall Forecast : Saturday Night

A weak storm system threatens to bring snow to the Hudson Valley Saturday night. The exact track of the storm will determine just how much snow we see.

Timing:
– 5pm to 8pm Snow develops from SW to NE
– 9pm to 2am Steadiest snow expected
– 2am to 6am Snow tapers from west to east

Snowfall:
– Catskills (zone 1&2): 1 to 3 inches
– Hudson Valley (all remaining zones): 2 to 4 inches

Discussion:
In the midst of a very warm pattern, an arctic cold front will drop through the Hudson Valley Friday afternoon, and allow seasonably cold air back into the region. A wave of low pressure will develop on Saturday, and ride ENE along that arctic boundary. There will be a band of moderate snow that develops on the northwest side of this storm, so the position of the arctic boundary is very important.

In the past 12 hours, the majority of data has suggested that the boundary might set up further south than initially indicated. The result for our area is an increasing likelihood that snowfall amounts are lower than we initially thought. The very first sets of data were suggesting the HV could be in the ‘sweet spot’ for snowfall accumulation, giving us 3 to 6 inches… and possibly even more in spots. However… we have seen multiple sets of data suggest a further south position is likely… so we have adjusted our snowfall forecast accordingly.

1 to 3 inches is the early call for the Catskills, with a general 2 to 4 inches being the preliminary forecast for most of the Hudson Valley. With the setup of this storm being to our south… the further south you go in the Hudson Valley, the better the odds you’ll see higher snowfall amounts.

With a storm system developing along a moving frontal boundary, this forecast has multiple moving parts to it. So being precise with the snowfall forecast is going to be a challenge. To put it simply… expect changes to our preliminary forecast. We’ll issue the “final” forecast Saturday morning, likely between 9 and 11am… and we would be surprised if there weren’t changes.

As we get a better handle on how strong the developing low pressure will be… and precisely where the arctic boundary is going to set up… we should have a better idea on exactly what the impacts are for our area.

Struggling With The Data

What’s up Hudson Valley…
Contrary to popular belief… we haven’t forgotten about you

Since our live stream about 12 hours ago… we’ve seen dramatic changes in the data. Most of the guidance suggests that the arctic frontal boundary pushes slightly further south. The result is that the developing storm moves 50 to 100 miles further south. This results in a very different snowfall forecast for our area.

So we’re trying to make sense of the new data that we’re seeing, and it’s resulting in a minor delay of the preliminary snowfall forecast. We will have it in the next hour or two.

In summary:
– Snow still likely for Saturday night (6pm Sat – 6am Sun)
– Storm may be weaker & slightly further south
– Snowfall amounts may be lighter than original idea
– possibly more on 1 to 3, 2 to 4 inch range

We’ll have a detailed analysis in the next hour or so… sorry for the delay.

Thursday Outlook : What a Weather Pattern

If everything plays out the way we’re thinking… we’re about to have a pretty wild week of weather.  It starts on Thursday… when we’ll see a few spotty rain showers around sunrise… but clouds should mix with breaks of afternoon sunshine.  A warm SW wind will usher in some very warm air to the Hudson Valley.  The result should be some incredible February warmth…

Your eyes do not deceive you.  Those are temperatures in the low 60s across the lower Hudson Valley… and even some upper 50s in the northern Hudson Valley!  The Catskills should push near 50°!  The record high in Poughkeepsie is 66, set back in 1954… so that number looks safe.  But what a beautiful afternoon we should have on our hands!

Then we have some more showers to contend with Thursday night into Friday, as an arctic cold front pushes through the region.  That front will cause temperatures to plunge during the day on Friday… we’ll start out in the 50s, and finish the day in the low to mid 40s… and our low Friday night should be around 20°.

Then things get interesting… REALLY interesting…

A storm will develop along the arctic front that pushes through, and that storm will ride along the frontal boundary.  The idea is, that the boundary sets up just to our south, and that when the moisture moves northward into the colder air that will be over the Hudson Valley… it will fall in the form of snow.

So yes… we are looking at the likelihood of a snow storm Saturday night, starting right around sunset… and then tapering off before sunrise on Sunday morning.  We still have a lot of details to iron out… (the storm is just over 3 days away)… but there is the very real possibility that the storm could drop 3 to 6 inches of snow across portions of the Hudson Valley.  All of the computer guidance sees this as a legitimate possibility… and the pattern favors this storm to develop and push snow into the Hudson Valley.  But we’ll watch it for sure, and let you know if the event looks more, or less likely as we get closer.  For now, lets say that the odds of this event happening as shown above are about 65% to 70%.

But to make things even more interesting… behind this storm… temperatures will moderate once again.  So rather than an arctic blast, we’ll quickly begin melting the snow on Sunday and Monday.  Then by Tuesday… after yet another warm front moves through… look at the projected high temperatures for Tuesday (about 6 days from now)

So that’s 60° today… a snow storm in 3 days… and near record warmth 3 days after that.  Welcome to the Hudson Valley in an early spring pattern.

Again… we’re watching all of these events, and will have updates for you as we get closer.  But a rollercoaster of weather is likely heading our way.  Have a great Thursday!

Icy Wednesday AM Commute Possible

* Icy Wednesday AM Commute Possible *

Overnight, we saw a small batch of light snow, sleet and freezing drizzle move right over the Hudson Valley. This radar image shows what is left at this hour, but the wintry mix moved through between 3am and 6am for the most part, and impacted the southern 1/2 of the Hudson Valley (from roughly Monticello and Poughkeepsie on south… or near I-84 and points south). Sullivan, Orange, Putnam counties even are under a winter weather advisory. This precipitation did not show up on any computer model guidance, and so this unexpected icy glaze will catch people off guard, and will leave road crews scrambling to play catch-up.

The wintry mix has put down a coating of snow in some spots, an icy glaze in others, and a combination of the two for many of us. We’re seeing school delays as a result as well, so please take this into consideration as you begin your morning commute. Icy conditions are surely possible, due to this unexpected icy precipitation moving through.

As we move through the morning… we should see breaks of sunshine by mid morning, and a SW wind today will pull temps up above freezing by mid morning as well. A milder day on tap today, with afternoon highs in the upper 40s to near 50. So once we deal with this icy start in spots, things should improve nicely.

So be sure to take stock of the conditions in your area this morning, be safe, and have a nice start to your day.

Monday Outlook : The Pattern Calms Down

After a cold, soaking rain over the weekend.  Things will quiet down over the next few days.  Our flow for Monday and Tuesday will be out of the northwest.  The NW flow will bring seasonably cold temperatures to the Hudson Valley.  Expect a good deal of sunshine both Monday and Tuesday… but temperatures largely in the 30s.

Wednesday we’ll begin to see the SW wind take effect.  That will pull temperatures up into the mid and upper 40s.  Which sets the stage for our next chance of rain showers Wednesday night and Thursday morning…

A warm front will pull even milder air into the Hudson Valley, as winter begins to fade into the rear view mirror (at least temporarily).  After scattered showers start the day on Thursday, we’ll continue to see a SW flow behind the warm front.  The showers should taper off… possibly giving way to some breaks of sun later in the day on Thursday.  But check out the potential highs on Thursday afternoon…

You’re reading that right… possibly near 60 degrees!  We’ll have to watch and see if that holds true… but signs of spring are on the horizon.

Is Winter Washed Up?

We’ve had a lot of questions… have we seen the last of winter?  The short answer, is no… we haven’t.  The fact is, that it’s only Feb 12th, and we have roughly 45 more days where winter weather is reasonably possible.  That’s a lot of time for this pattern to change.  But for the next 10 days… through roughly the 25th… the pattern won’t favor winter weather.

We’ll be looking to do a more detailed discussion of the  upcoming pattern, in the next day or two.

Have a great afternoon!

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!