Monday Discussion : Watching Wednesday

We’ll have a quiet but chilly start to our work week across the Hudson Valley.  Lots of sunshine and temperatures generally in the 30s to near 40° for a high on Monday.  After a chilly night Monday night with lows in the low 20s across the valley (upper teens in the Catskills)… Tuesday will see a cold start, before temperatures moderate into the low and mid 40s during the afternoon for highs.

That allows us to talk about Wednesday, which is really the only thing on everyone’s mind anyway.  We have another upper level low pressure diving into the central US, it will continue to roll eastward, into the Ohio Valley late on Tuesday.  At the same time, we’ll see a wave of low pressure develop along the front side of the upper level trough.  Where that coastal low pressure goes, will have a major impact on our weather for Wednesday…

As of Monday morning, we’ve got considerable disagreement on the track that the coastal low pressure will take.  There IS agreement on the development of this low pressure system, almost all data has it developing near the coast of VA and North Carolina.  The uncertainty is what happens next.

Track #1
The GFS and NAM models develop the coastal storm, and immediately have it hug the coast.  The storm tracks right along the coastline, and moves northward, before jumping northeast and heading toward Cape Cod.  This track is likely the result of the upper low pressure system off to our west influencing the track.  The rotation around the upper level low, likely pulls the coastal low pressure in toward the shore.  This also aids in the rapid development of the storm, and generates substantial lift.  If track #1 is correct, it would be a substantial storm for the Hudson Valley.

Track #2
The European and Canadian Models develop the low pressure, and immediately try to jump the storm out into the ocean, before gradually hooking it back toward the New England coastline.  This track would spare the Hudson Valley almost any real impacts.  We might see some light snow develop along the front edge of the trough, as the low pressure is forming… but then the substantial snow would be pulled out to sea, and off to our east… possibly impacting Long Island and NYC.

Which is right?
That’s the challenge we have ahead of us, is to figure out which track is the right one.  Right now, we have track #1 more likely, at about 65% chance to occur.  We really would like to see the European model come around to our idea, that would help boost our confidence a bit.  But the reason track #1 seems to make sense, is that the upper level low should influence the track of the coastal storm.

The upper level low pressure is deepening as it pushes eastward… in fact the GFS has the low closing off as it reaches the coast… a sign of a strong upper level low pressure.  As it deepens, the trough should begin to tilt negative, and with a negatively tilted trough, the storm should tuck in tightly along the coast… not push out to sea.  We’ll have to keep a close eye on the track, and see if this plays out the way we think.

If everything comes together the way we think it might… this could be our weather map Wednesday afternoon…

Notice that the NAM model is picking up on the dramatic lift that may be possible in the Hudson Valley.  The purple shading is indicative of snowfall rates well over 1″ per hour.  If track #1 is correct, then we’re in for a very snowy Wednesday afternoon across the Hudson Valley.  Snowfall amounts would likely near or exceed 6 inches in most locations, with someone possibly reaching double digits in terms of snowfall amounts.

There are obviously concerns about strong winds, with portions of the Hudson Valley still without power today.  As it looks right now, the sustained winds should be less than what we saw on Friday for certain.  We could still have a few gusts that pack a punch, up over 30mph… but the strength and frequency of the strong wind gusts should be noticeably less than what we saw on Friday.

Now, we want to be clear… people should take this storm seriously.  The point we are trying to make, is that there is a difference between the size and scope of this storm, and the size and scope of the previous storm.  It is worth mentioning however, that due to the fact that this will likely be a heavy wet snow, with the gusty winds that we do anticipate with a developing nor’easter… that additional power outages will be a concern.

But let’s nail down the track first… and then once we know whether this storm will come up the coast, then we can worry about the wind and the potential for power outages.  Have a great Monday afternoon, we’ll have more updates tonight.

33 thoughts on “Monday Discussion : Watching Wednesday

  1. Spot on. You guys do a great job putting forth the facts, stating your current disposition with context, and laying the groundwork for future calls/updates. Fantastic work.

  2. First, I can recall many a March storm from places I’ve lived, the Blizzard of 93, the Blizzard of 96 among the two most notable (I did not live in the Hudson Valley – ’93 was in PA with more than a foot; and ’96 was the doozy with more than 30 inches), but very memorable storms in those locations.

    Second, while I personally am thankful I did not have any shoveling to do from last week’s storm, my location
    in Accord literally sat at 36-39 degrees all day with several inches of rain and green-brown grass of late winter,
    was very happy about that. Truly bizarre, as I saw all of my social media friends in surrounding areas posting pics of their heavy snowstorms.

    I guess I can handle what will hopefully be the last – or next to last snow of the season?
    Thanks for always digging deep – pardon the pun – in tracking the forecast.

  3. You guys really are top notch….. The ONLY ones who were ahead of the last storm with any significant accumulation forecast. Great job. Keep up the great work!

  4. I believe it frustrates some (especially snow plow people) that you do not give “black and white” predictions. You give all the possible scenarios, in a humble way, and are honest. I guess some people just want the black and white version. I love your forecasts. I love that you are honest and give us all scenarios and that you are extremely accurate indeed! I always remind people that weather folks are “predicting” the weather and that they are not God nor are they Mother Nature. Ultimate control is not in the weather folks hands ~ not by any means.

    • Thanks Raji, that’s one of the primary reasons we altered our website. Because now the main page has a black and white forecast, showing what we are saying. Then there’s the ‘Detailed 5 Day’ that gives the 5 day forecast in even more detail. Then we have the scenarios for people like you who want to read about all the possibilities. A little something for everyone 🙂

  5. In discussing March snowstorms in historical terms none are rivaled in terms of perspective more than the blizzard of 1888. That was the measure of how blizzards are measured. Hundreds of people died, temperatures tumbled, NYC had about 21 inches but had one and a half inches rain prior tempertures in the mid 40’s they woke up to temperatures near zero winds well over hurricane force and drifts of 20 to 30 feet. Syracuse had snow levels of 60 inches on the level. From this storm NYC began placing their power lines underground. If you are a weather nut as I am there is a book about that storm photographs are mindblowing. March can flex its muscles for sure. You guys are as passionate about weather as any of us your discussions are well worth the detail you place in them. Thank you for your timecand effort if you look at the Warther service forcasts you can see the mid Hudson Valley is an afterthout you fill the void.

    • The Blizzard of 1888 is a phenomenon that should get it’s own website. If a storm like that happened today, it would paralyze the east coast for weeks. We’re glad that you find our passion and effort valuable. Thanks for your support!

      • This book has good reviews and many photographs:

        Blizzard: The Great Storm of 88 Hardcover – December 1, 1987
        by Judd Caplovich (Author)

        Amazon has it, the book I have has many photos it was written by the Weather Channel Winter Weather expert about 15 years ago I just can’t remember his name and If I can quickly find the book I’ll let you know as I recently moved. But this book in reading the reviews was well documented with photo’s.

  6. I pray for number two as i am packing up to move on Saturday and need my packing helpers to be able to show up This is not the week for a storm

  7. The “Magical Snow Tie”, which is 60-0 in Putnam Valley at predicting closures, delays and early dismissals relies heavily on your insight before making its prognostications…Thank you for your insight.

  8. I got turned onto HVW by my mom. You’re my go to weather resource now. Absolutely fascinating in depth analysis. And you manage to write it in a way that is both informative and easy to digest for non-meteorologists.

    Thank you so much for doing what you do, doing it well, and showing us all your passion.

  9. I’m a certified weather observer with the NWS. I’m an air traffic controller in Danbury. The lines you guys drew for the zones were so accurate during Friday’s storm it was like Mother Nature used them as a planning guide.
    I swear by you guys.

  10. So… let’s say we get track #1. If you *had* to guess, what time do you think things would start getting hairy for a person who lives in Olivebridge? Do you think such a person would be able to run out to feed her neighbors’ cats in the morning? Just hypothetically. 🙂

  11. I’ve seen you comment in the past that the European model paths seem to be more accurate than the NWS models. Do you still have the same opinion that the European model tracks have a higher accuracy?

  12. you are always on point even when the weather shifts gear. You guys are the best out there, keep up the amazing work!!

  13. Do you two make a living doing this? Do you have other jobs?
    Just curious.
    Your reports are the best. I love your detailed explanations.

  14. I’m getting sick of this crap. I wish you guys weren’t right so often! Although I shouldn’t complain because we got some slush and then rain on the North side of the City of Poughkeepsie on Friday, and that’s all melted.

  15. Sugar Snow Song / There WILL be …
    Can you hear the MAPLE trees singing their songs so merrily,
    Rushing through roots in silent notes and measured melodies?
    Let us be grateful for our longings, as tappers come to mind.
    And for giving trees – with gratitude a gift of snow in time.

  16. I follow your guys forecast but when I saw Friday morning’s changes with the black lines I said to myself,, these guys are so wrong. Then I saw what happened and I am now like, I’m not worthy, I’m not worthy! You guys hit it good

  17. Someone in our local cross country skiing group, Mid-Hudson XC Skiers, posted a link to your site a few weeks ago, just in time to see how you analyzed and reported on the March 2nd storm. Outstanding work, guys! Your writings on the dynamics of that storm were fascinating and it’s clear that you not only love what you do, you’re really good at it too. 😉 Thanks for all of your hard work and time spent in communicating to us the behind-the-scenes thinking that leads to the forecasts. And good luck with this Wednesday’s storm, it sounds like it’ll be keeping you up late once again!

Leave a Comment