Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Those Two Snowstorms This Week: Hype Or Reality?

I'll get the answer to the question posed in the headline over with right away: The answer is a little of both.
The National Weather Service in South Burlington,
Vermont has this prediction for Wednesday's snowfall.
As always click on the image to make it bigger
and easier to read.   

The first storm, due tomorrow, has more certainty than the mystical one due Sunday or Monday. We'll start with Wednesday's storm.

The computer models seem really in great agreement that the storm will chug rapidly from the Midwest to near or just off the southern New England coast by late in the day Wednesday.

That means the more south you go in at least the northern half of New England, the more snow you get.

In Vermont, there's a winter storm warning for the southern two thirds of the state, where 5 to 12 inches will come down. In the northern third, it's a winter weather advisory, with a forecast of 2 to 5 inches.

Way off in the St. Lawrence Valley of New York, expect only 1 to 3 inches. 

This storm has LOADS of moisture to work with, so when it does snow, it will come down pretty damn hard in the winter storm warning areas. But it's a quick mover, so this will only last from a little before dawn Wednesday until Wednesday evening, about the time the newscasts reporting on the storm will be wrapping up. 

It will be slow going on the commutes to and from work Wednesday, so build that into your schedule. But all in all, it's a typical sized snowstorm for northern New England. And it's timed well,  just ahead of the President Day holidays. Skiers should like this.

The storm is affecting a huge part of the country. There's a wide stripe of winter storm warnings extending from Oklahoma to Maine.  Some places in southern New England and the Mid-Atlantic states will see more than a foot of snow in just a day. Many other places will get a lot of freezing rain and sleet.

So if you have any airline flights later today or tomorrow, good luck with that. 

Sunday/Monday:  The next storm, due Sunday or Monday, has a lot more hype associated with it but what it will actually do has a lot more uncertainty.

A few weather geek bloggers and reporters yesterday were latching onto a computer model that had the storm dumping close to three feet of snow on the New York City area. But when you're this many days out ahead of a storm that hasn't even formed yet, you almost always get a few computer models that get crazy and predict something ridiculous.

Garbage in, garbage out.

As of this morning, the computer models were trending south with the Sunday or Monday storm, which would limit the amount of snow in northern New England and sock places further south instead.

But don't hang your hat on that forecast yet. In my experience, the computer forecasting wizardry often pushes a storm south a few days ahead of the event, only to later predict a more northerly route which often ends up coming true.

So at this point, deal with Wednesday's definite snowfall, and don't worry yet about Sunday or Monday, since I, and everybody else, have no idea how much snow, if any, we'll get then. 

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