Monday, January 23, 2017

Tornado Recap, And Now Our Nor'easter Is Coming With A Mess

Marilyn Bullard walks through what was the living room
of her parents' house n Adel, Georgia after a weekend tornado
there. Photo by Branden Camp/AP 
As expected, more tornadoes broke out Sunday across the South, including a huge wedge tornado that  killed four people and caused extensive damage in Albany, Georgia.  

At least 19 people died in the Southern tornadoes over the weekend, more than the number of people who died in tornadoes during all of 2016 in the United States.

Last year was near a record low in tornado deaths for the nation, but it looks like our luck has run out.

Our luck seems to have run out, at least for now, with a dearth of tornado disasters in past few years.

Thankfully, though, this tornado outbreak is over and there is no signs of another blast of severe weather in the next week, probably more.

Also as forecast, the storm system has consolidated into what is becoming a nor'easter, which means a lot of wind and mixed precipitation is coming to the Northeast later today, tonight and tomorrow.

A variety of winter storm warnings, watches and advisories are up for the interior Northeast. This type of storm usually creates a nice big powdery snowstorm for the North Country, but not this time.

There's too much warm air, and no nearby supply of cold air to feed into the storm.

As many of you have noticed, Vermont and many surrounding regions have been entombed in a dense, low, foggy, drizzly, warm overcast for nearly a week now. (Mountain summits have been above the inversion that has caused this and have poked into the sunshine.)

The spate of warm, gloomy weather we've had is very unusual for January.  This is the kind of air the storm is running into. Not the usual cold stuff.

So, we've got a mix coming. Places furthest north and west from the storm as it moves along the coast will get the most snow. Central and western New York, for instance, is under a winter storm warning for four to eight inches of snow.

Environment Canada has alerts for heavy snow, mixed with sleet, in places like Montreal and Ottawa.

Along the coast, high wind warnings are up for gusts to 70 mph tonight, especially over Cape Cod and the Islands. Coastal flood alerts are also in effect for much of the New England shoreline.


This will definitely be a mixed precipitation event here in the Green Mountain State. It looks like most places will get a blend of sleet and wet snow starting later tonight and continuing through Tuesday.

Winter weather advisories are up for an expected three to six inches of snow and sleet through most of Vermont, with a little more on the summits and east facing slopes of the Green Mountains, and a little less in low elevations of southern Vermont.

There's a chance the advisories might be upgraded to a winter storm warning if newer data later today points towards heavier precipitation that currently expected.

For most of us, there might be a little freezing rain thrown in for good measure, but at this point, it doesn't look like freezing rain will be the main story. Mostly sleet and snow.

Having said that, don't be surprised if a few locations do get a fair amount of freezing rain. It just depends on how the complex dance of different air tempeatures at different elevations plays out.

The storm has slowed down some, and the snow and sleet and yuck will arrive a little later than first thought. So the commute home from work tonight should be OK. The trip TO work Tuesday morning looks like a mess, though.

Power failures might be a problem, too on Tuesday, since we'll have that heavy wet snow combined with gusty winds to 30 mph or even a little higher in spots.

The precipitation is going to be a pain to shovel, too, since this is another one of those storms in which the stuff that accumulates in your driveway will almost have the consistency of wet cement.

Following the storm, temperatures will remain warmer than normal in Vermont through the weekend, but will be trending downward with time.

Instead of each day being a whopping 15 to 20 degrees warmer than normal for the past week, we'll trend down to something like five degrees warmer than normal by the weekend. That'll keep temperatures below freezing in most spots, even during the day.

Weak weather disturbances will keep zipping past Vermont through the weekend, which will keep occasional light snow going. This will keep slowly piling up in the mountains, which is good news for the ski industry.

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