Preliminary Snowfall Forecast : Monday 2/1 – Tuesday 2/2

Winter Storm Watches are in effect for the entire Hudson Valley, as we track a complex storm system that is likely to bring a long duration snow event to our region.

Timing :
– 9pm Sun – 6am Mon : Light snow develops south to north (especially I-84 on south)
– 6am to 10am Mon : Moderate snow develops from south to north
– 10am to 6pm Mon : Moderate to Heavy snow possible
– 6pm Mon to 12pm Tue : Light to moderate snow possible
– 12pm to 6pm Tue : Snow tapers off from west to east

– Long Duration event expected, snow could last for 24 to 36 hours
– Start time delayed by dry air in northern half of Hudson Valley
– Monday AM commute could be impacted, especially I-84 on south
– Heaviest snow likely late Monday morning through Monday evening
– NE winds 10 to 20mph, gusts over 30mph, blowing & drifting snow
– White out / Blizzard conditions possible at times
– Extremely difficult/dangerous travel Monday PM – Tuesday AM

Snow Accumulations:
– Eastern Catskills (Zone 2) : 8 to 16 inches
– Western Catskills, Upper Hudson Valley (Zone 1, N3, N4) : 5 to 10 inches
– Lower Catskills, Mid Hudson Valley (Zone S3, S4, 5, 6, 7) : 6 to 12 inches
– Lower Hudson Valley (Zone 8&9) : 8 to 16 inches

HVW Discussion

Low pressure from the Midwest will weaken as it moves into the Ohio Valley, and a secondary low pressure will develop off the coast of Virginia.  That coastal storm will intensify and move northeast, spreading snow from the Mid Atlantic states, through the Hudson Valley, and into New England.  The cold air, storm track, and intensity will all combine for a challenging forecast for the Hudson Valley.  All in all, it’s likely to bring a long duration snow event to the region.

Futurecast Radar : 1pm Sunday – 6am Monday

Dry air pushing south from New England will delay the northern progress of the snow band.  Above is the futurecast radar from 6pm Sunday to 6am Monday, and the snow moves into the low half of the Hudson Valley before midnight, but struggles to move north from there.  If this scenario is correct, 1 to 3 inches of snow would be possible in the mid and lower Hudson Valley by Monday morning.  But there is considerable uncertainty due to the dry air, so the start times may be updated on Sunday.

The low pressure over the Ohio Valley will weaken, and transfer its energy to the coastal low pressure.  It’s at that point, that the snow band is likely to intensify to our south… and begin pushing northward, into the Hudson Valley.

Futurecast Radar : 6am to 6pm Monday

The initial wave that pushes northward between late morning and early afternoon is likely to see rates of snow over 1″ per hour.  The big question is what happens after that.  The coastal low pressure will spin off shore, and how close to the coast it is will determine where the position of the heaviest snow bands are.  The counter clockwise rotation will spin snow bands northwestward, into the Hudson Valley.  The snow bands will begin to pivot as the low pressure slowly drifts eastward.  But the low pressure will not move away until early morning Wednesday, so the position of the heavy snow band as it stalls out, could mean the difference between 6 to 8 inches… and 12 to 18 inches of snow.  There is a high degree of difficulty with this forecast, because of these details.  Any time a storm stalls off shore, there will be a high bust potential to any forecast.  So we’ll have to be prepared to make changes or tweaks… and provide updates of new information, should things change as the storm begins to unfold.  Make sure to monitor the storm for updates.

Additional Details / Forecast Uncertainties

Strong NE winds will howl at 10 to 20mph, and gust over 30mph at times.

Projected Wind Gusts 1am Monday – 1am Tuesday

These wind gusts could combine to create blizzard and white out conditions around the region at the height of this storm.  Moderate, to at times heavy, snowfall rates combined with gusts over 35mph at times will make for treacherous travel conditions… Monday afternoon through Tuesday morning.  We’ll need to track the wind potential… because if these wind gusts are accurate, parts of the region could see blizzard warnings issued.  Snow drifts well over 1 or 2 feet are possible due to the blowing and drifting of snow… in addition to near zero visibility at times.

Northern parts of the region could experience lower snowfall amounts due to the combination of dry air, and downsloping winds.  The gusts shown above will be coming from the northeast.  Those direction winds create downslope winds on the west side of the Birkshires and Catskills.  That is in part why we have the lower totals in the northern Hudson Valley, as well as western Catskills.  With the moisture coming from the southeast, and northeast winds, the sinking air could lower totals in those areas… another factor that could cause forecast headaches.

Finally, how long this storm lingers, and the snow band pivots around the back side of the storm, really is a wildcard with regard to final snow totals and snow end times.

Futurecast Radar : Entire Event 7pm Sunday – 1am Wednesday

This radar loop is over 48 hours long, and snow is falling in portions of the Hudson Valley for much of that time.  This simulation suggests accumulating snows through at least 12pm on Tuesday, which would be over 24 hours in many places.  Where the back edge snow band stalls and pivots, and just how long the snow lingers, depend on the position and speed of the nor’easter.  There is a high probability that data changes in some capacity, which could have sizeable impacts on the forecast.  So the best way to summarize it is…

  • High confidence that the lower half of the Hudson Valley will have the highest snow totals
  • High confidence snow falls most of Monday
  • Medium/High confidence of a snowfall over 6 inches for everyone
  • Medium/Low confidence on snowfall forecast range (could be higher in mid Hudson Valley)
  • Medium/Low confidence on snow end times
  • Medium/Low confidence on axis of heaviest snow (where over 12″ are expected)

Hopefully this helps clarify where we stand with the forecast at this time.  We will monitor this storm up until, and through the entire event.  Please check here and on the Facebook page for updates.  Our final forecast will be issued Sunday afternoon.

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