The first half of January was rather quiet, but the pattern has changed significantly and February promises to start much differently than January.
Futurecast Radar : Sunday 7am – Monday 1am
Low pressure from the midwest will push eastward into the Ohio Valley on Sunday. It will spread snow into Ohio and Pennsylvania… but the system will weaken as it does. At the same time, we have strong, cold high pressure over New England. That will pull cold, dry air into the Hudson Valley. This sets the stage for a battle Sunday and Sunday night between cold dry air, and approaching snow.
Futurecast Radar : 7pm Sunday – 7am Monday
You can watch the snow pushing northeast… stall out… and actually push backward slightly as the sun rises on Monday. The effects of the cold, dry air will need to be monitored, as it could mean the difference as to whether snow is falling at sunrise Monday morning. Temperatures will be cold… with readings in the upper teens to low 20s as the sun rises Monday morning. There is increasing model agreement that even if the snow is suppressed for a while Sunday night… that on Monday morning, the snow will overspread the Hudson Valley.
As the coastal low pressure takes over, the snow could stall for a few hours… but the snow band should begin pushing northward as it intensifies. This could set the stage for a snowy Monday afternoon and night. Snow could fall heavy at times into Monday night, as the low pressure is very slow to move northward. A large ridge of high pressure in Canada will block the storm from exiting to the northeast. The result will be a storm that sits and spins off the east coast for 24 to 36 hours. There are big questions with this scenario, regarding where the snow will fall, and how heavy it falls during this extended time period.
Futurecast Radar : 7pm Sunday – 7am Tuesday
This radar loop is 36 hours long. Notice how slowly the storm moves, due to the high pressure blocking it. This type of setup is primed for forecast headaches. With a low pressure spinning off the east coast, it’s position becomes very hard to pinpoint, and that makes the difference between heavy snow, or possibly no snow at all. The point we want to stress, is that there is a high potential for a change to the forecast details. We are feeling more and more confident with the newer data that’s coming out… as the models are all trending in the same direction. But with a stalled out upper level low, the trends could quickly shift in the other direction, and our confidence level could quickly vanish. For now, just keep that information in the back of your mind.
The Current Trend…
Earlier on Friday, the trend was further off shore, with the cold air driving southward. We were at that point becoming increasingly concerned about the potential for the storm to be focused to our south. However… things have changed since then. Here are the last 5 runs of the NAM model, and you can see the trend in the last 2 frames.
1pm Monday – Last 5 runs of the NAM model
Notice how 24 hours ago, the focal point of heaviest snow was over NYC, then 18 hours ago, it shifts slightly north. Then 12 hours ago it shifts back to the south, focused over NYC. Then somewhat unexpectedly, a sizeable jump northward just 6 hours ago. Finally, the current run… pushes even further north… so that it would be snowing over Albany. This is a major shift, considering 2 of the first 3 runs had the snow focused from NYC on south… not even snowing in Poughkeepsie. Now, the last 2 runs have shifted far enough north, that steady snow would cover the entire Hudson Valley in this period.
The snowfall impact on our area is DRAMATIC. With the snow focused over NYC it would be a 3 to 8 inch event around the Hudson Valley… with NYC seeing over 1 foot. With the northern solution shown on the most recent runs… the trend implies the Hudson Valley could be smack dab, back in the middle of the heaviest snows with this storm. And with this storm, the heaviest snows could easily exceed 1 foot.
We have mentioned to expect dramatic swings in the app forecasts as we get closer to the event. On Friday, we heard a lot of people talking about the storm being a miss, or “not a big storm”. The reason is the GFS model went from showing 6 to 12 inches or more… to 2 to 6 inches in the HV. This storm is going to be a tricky forecast, all the way to the end. So make sure you check for updates. We’ll keep you up to date with the latest.