Monday, November 24, 2014

Possible Big Pre-Thanksgiving Snow And Other Weather Excitement For Northeast

Pre-Thanksgiving travel on Wednesday could
end up looking like this in parts of the Northeast.  
Yesterday, I said nobody had any idea if a storm would dump heavy snow on parts of the the Northeast, as the forecasting models were all over the place.

It's now seeming more likely some areas will get a lot of snow to screw up holiday travel, but there's still some uncertainty in the details.

Most of the computer models have come around to the idea of bringing a nor'easter close enough to the coastline to dump snow on much of New England, New York State, and probably down into parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  Maybe even into western Maryland and Virginia.

Still, those flighty computer models don't have an exact track for the storm yet, so we don't know what areas will get mostly rain, what areas get mostly snow, and exactly how much falls.

At this point, the snow bullseye looks to be the western half of Massachusetts, most of Connecticut, far southern Vermont, the Hudson Valley of New York and far northern New Jersey and northeastern Pennsylvania.

Those areas have winter storm watches flying for Wednesday into Thursday. The best guess is there will be six to 10 inches of heavy wet snow in those regions. That's the kind that brings down trees and power lines, and feels like wet cement when you try to shovel it.

East of the winter storm watch areas, it might rain, it might snow, it's still uncertain. North and west of the winter storm watch area, it will probably snow, but we don't know how much yet.

This general forecast idea is not set in stone. It could change dramatically as the event gets closer and the computer forecasting models have a better idea of how things in the atmosphere are coming together. Stay tuned.

Obviously, the timing of the storm, Wednesday, when everybody's heading out for Thanksgiving visits, is lousy.

You could take a chance and keep your plans to travel Wednesday, as we could get lucky and things don't turn out that bad. But I'm pessimistic, and so are most other forecasters on this one. There will be icky weather around Wednesday.

If you can escape from work Tuesday and travel that day instead, go for it. There shouldn't be any weather problems Tuesday along the East Coast.

Before we get to the storms, today is turning out to be an interesting day, especially around Buffalo, N.Y., which has lately become Mother Nature's punching bag. They had all that many feet of snow just south of Buffalo, which is melting amid 60 degree temperatures.

Of course, that fast melt leads to flooding, and flooded basements and that sort of thing. Flood warnings are still flying out there.

Plus, there's a high wind warning in western New York today for gusts to 60 mph. The ground is wicked wet and soft from all that snowmelt. The soft ground makes it easier for the wind to topple trees.

The toppled trees cut power, which means the pumps trying to keep ahead of the flooding and the basement water conk out.

Plus, a particular surge of strong southwest winds later today and tonight might push Lake Erie water into the shorelines around Buffalo, flooding areas near the waterfront.

AND there's the chance, just the chance at this point, of more lake effect snow out that way this coming weekend.

Elsewhere in the Northeast, expect lots of wind today, but nothing too damaging. Temperatures will rise into the 60s in many areas, making it seem impossible that a snowstorm is brewing for Wednesday.

As experience shows though, just because it's warm today doesn't mean winter won't hit again soon.

Meanwhile, out west, the Los Angeles area, still under that huge drought, is bracing for possible wildfires between now and Thursday, as very low humidity and strong winds are expected to get going.

The weather is really turning into an obnoxious Thanksgiving dinner guest in many parts of the country.

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