Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Big Nor'easter This Weekend: Facts Vs. Hype

Quite a few areas in the eastern United States
 might look something like this by the upcoming weekend
because a nor'easter is now expected for the region. 
By now, a lot of you have heard rumors about a big nor'easter that will be The End Of The World Snowpocalypse, if you believe the hype and the people trying to get more and more social media clicks for fun and profit.

The truth is, that yes, it looks like parts of the East Coast are in for a big nasty snowstorm, and it could get fairly wild in spots. But DON"T count on everyone from Florida to Maine to be covered in 80 feet of snow or something.

Let's just get into what we can tell you with any scientific and realistic basis:


It looks almost certain there will be a strong and strengthening nor'easter along or just off the East Coast starting Friday and into the weekend.

It's quite likely somebody is going to get a lot of snow.  At this point, it looks like the Mid-Atlantic states are in for the heaviest accumulations, but that could change.

If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say West Virginia, Virginia, parts of Maryland, southeastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey might get the most snow out of this.

Those areas could easily get a foot of snow, and two feet of snow in some areas in that region are not out of the question. Again, that could change as the track of the storm becomes more certain.

At this point, it looks like the worst of the storm and most of the snow would miss northwestern Pennsylvania, northern New York, most of Vermont, northern New Hampshire and northwestern Maine. Again this could change. A few computer forecasting models do bring somewhat heavier snow further northwest into these regions. Others don't We'll have to wait and see how this plays out

In any event, don't cry too hard, northern New York and Vermont skiers. Today, the mountains in those states will get their third light to moderate snowfall since Saturday. The snow is coming in small doses, but it adds up.    
Here's a National Weather Service map
showing the expected strong nor'easter along
the Eastern Seaboard on Saturday. 

If you live along the coast from North Carolina to Maine, listen to forecasts and coastal flood advisories.

Since the waters along and off the coast are abnormally warm, this storm could conceivably get stronger than even some forecasts indicate. That would mean the possibility of strong winds, high tides and battering waves


1. Watch: Continue to monitor forecasts if you live on the East Coast or in the Appalachians. I'd follow the National Weather Service or a local meteorologist or weather forecaster in your area that you trust. and know has a good reputation. Don't trust the social media hype machine.

2. Be Ready: Just in case, get ready but don't panic. This isn't the end of the world. It couldn't hurt to swing by the grocery store if you're low on food in the house. It might be tricky to drive to the store at the height of the storm in the worst hit areas.  If you're that type, it also wouldn't be the worst idea to stock up on wine or beer or hot chocolate or anything that makes you warm and happy in the winter.

3. Fuel: t also can't hurt to swing by the gas station to fill up your tank and make sure there's enough fuel to heat the house. The fuel delivery people aren't thrilled about going out in big snowstorms to make emergency deliveries.

4. Change Happens: Know the forecast is certain to change between now and when the storm arrives. That doesn't mean  meteorolgists are clueless. It means that nor'easters are notoriously tricky to forecast. Some small parts of every nor'easter forecast are wrong. Sometimes big parts of the forecast are wrong.

That means there's a chance that some areas now targeted for very heavy snow might not get it, and some areas outside the expected heavy snow zone might get more than we now think. Also, some areas along the coast could get rain or a mix involved, too.

5. Tis The Season: It's winter. Deal with it. Big snowstorms are part of the bargain during most winters, even in "warm" places like Virginia and Washington DC. Just be smart about it, don't take unnecessary chances on the roads, have some teenager shovel your driveway if you're heart is iffy and you're out of shape.

6. Attitude Is Everything: Enjoy it. If you get a big snowstorm and you don't like snow, there's nothing you can do about it. Except change your attitude. Download some very funny movies to watch during the snowstorm.

Have a snowball fight with the kids. Impress the neighbors with an immense snow sculpture. Let your dogs out into the snow, wait until they do something stupid in the drifts.  Take a video of their antics and put it on YouTube.

If you wanted a lot of snow and don't get it out of this storm, chill. There will always be new snowstorms later this winter, or next winter. Wait and you shall receive.

No comments:

Post a Comment