Monday, February 10, 2014

Northern New England Snowstorm Friday? Well, Maybe....

OK, everybody seems to be abuzz about a rumored big snowstorm on Friday, so I'll put my two cents in, for what it's worth. (Probably not much more than two cents)
The sun came out Monday morning after
an inch or two of fluffy snow fell overnight
in St. Albans, Vermont. It's still unclear
if more snow will come down at the end of the week.  

Here's what I know: There will be some sort of storminess on or off the East Coast of the United States Friday.

That is a vague and weak statement, and I mean it to be.

As of Monday, nobody knows exactly if and where a snowstorm will develop at the end of the week. Don't let anybody tell you otherwise.

To get a good nor'easter going along the coast, a whole bunch of factors have to come together.

The biggest one is this: There's usually two branches of the jet stream this time of year. A jet stream is high level river of air that generally steers weather systems.

The southern branch of the jet stream has to coordinate with the northern branch of the jet stream to get a good storm going. Kind of like two school girls calling each other ahead of time to see what each other is wearing today.

So the two jet stream branches have to "phase" to get a good storm. That means they have to dip southward at the same longitude as each other. Plus, the dip has to be in just the right place, usually just inland from the East Coast, to give northern and western New England a good snowstorm.

Have the two branches of the jet stream been "talking" to each other yet?  We don't know. The factors that will determine whether the jet streams phase were still out in the Pacific Ocean Monday morning, or just coming ashore.

We don't have good data out in the Pacific to feed in the computer forecasting models, so those models are all disagreeing with each other on the size and strength of any East Coast storm at the end of the week.  Garbage in, garbage out.

Once the potential energy for the storms comes inland, we'll be able to get a much better idea of whether the jet streams are going to phase. (Kind of like if the NSA tapped into the phone lines of our school girls who are coordinating outfits)

I think by Wednesday, we'll have a much better idea of it'll just snow a little across northern New York, Vermont and New Hampshire at the end of the week, or whether we'll be talking about another powder day.

Meanwhile, we do know, as the weather systems start getting themselves together, there's a high potential over the next couple of days of another super duper messy snow and ice storm across the southeastern United States. (Oh joy!)

Winter weather advisories, watches and warnings now extend from Texas to the Carolinas, including the Atlanta metro area. If you like traffic jams, head to Atlanta now in case there's a redux of the January disaster when they got two or three inches of snow. 

And, as expected, northern New York and northern New England did manage to pick up a fluffy one to three inches of snow last night to make everything fresh and pretty looking.

Stay tuned and I'll try and get a better picture as the week goes on whether we get another decent snowfall or not.

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