Saturday, March 11, 2017

Quick Cold And Snowy March Update

This is just one of many snowfall predictions
generated by various computer models for a possible
storm Tuesday and Wednesday. Areas in pink and very light
blue in the Northeast get  10 to 20 inches of snow
in this map's scenario. However, given the storm is
several days away, this map could be exaggerating
things a lot. We'll wait and see.
Everybody's talking about a potential snowstorm Tuesday and Wednesday, so I might as well take that head on, even though there's still a LOT of uncertainty on how this will play out.

Actually, I'll get to that storm in a minute, but first, the intense cold.

The cold today through Monday is actually the easy part of the weather forecast and it's playing out about as planned.

Burlington, Vermont this morning got to zero degrees for the first time since December 16.

That's an accomplishment, since it was never below zero in January and February, when that often happens, and now it's mid-March, when we usually start escaping the deep icy clutches of winter.

Not this year.

I suppose it could be worse. There's a nasty blizzard going on up in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada today. Here in New England, just flurries.

As I mentioned yesterday, those of you heading out to do anything outside today, including the big Mardi Gras parade in Burlington, Vermont ought to bundle up.

Temperatures will barely get to 10 degrees, and the wind is going to pick up again, gusting as high as 25 to 30 mph at times. That means wind chills in the teens below zero.

Speaking of below zero, much of northern New England will go back below zero tonight and temperatures will remain far below normal throught Tuesday.

That's when things might really get interesting


Computer models are not completely unanimous, but most are bucking for a pretty big nor'easter somewhere along or just off the Northeast U.S. coast Tuesday and Wednesday.

Take specific forecasts on this storm with a grain of salt for now, since it's still a few days away and a lot can change. But here's the situation at this point, giving what we understand as of Saturday morning.

What We Know:

1. It's very likely - not definite - that it's going to snow, possibly a lot, somewhere in the northeastern United States, including parts of New England, around Tuesday and Wednesday.

2. This is probably going to be a strong storm, which also means a lot of wind and maybe coastal flooding from New Jersey north through New England into Canada's Maritime Provinces.

3. Whatever snow does fall will probably stick around for awhile because it'll stay cold during and after this storm, and I don't see any big warm ups in the foreseeable future.

What We Don't Know:

1. Where will the heaviest snow set up? Some computer models bring the storm very close to the coast or even inland a bit. That would bring the heaviest snow -- could be a foot or more - into interior areas, like northern and western New England, including Vermont and the Hudson Valley of New York.

Other computer models keep the storm offshore, which would bring the heaviest snow to coastal cities like maybe Philadelphia, New York, Providence, Boston and Portland. Lighter snow would fall inland in places like Vermont.

2. How long will this last?  Different computer models move the storm along at different paces. The longer the storm lingers over the Northeast, the more snow will fall.

3. How much moisture will this thing bring? Again that will determine how much snow falls. The worst case scenario is it brings TONS of moisture, lingers around for a long time near or just far offshore, which could bring up to two feet of snow to somebody. Again, no need to panic, it's just a scenario

4. Will this be a big forecasting bust? The formation of this storm depends upon how a disturbance moving in from the west and north, and another moving up from the south off the southeastern United States coast.

The nor'easter depends on these two systems "phasing," or basically colliding with one another. If the two weather disturbances miss each other,the situation won't be nearly as dramatic as some forecasts.

So sit tight, stay warm and wait for further forecasts.

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