Winter Storm Outlook

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Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Wednesday: Storm Looks to Hit Region This Weekend, Snow for Interior

 Good morning. Winter is underway! Temperatures this morning are sitting in the low 30's with a nice winter chill in the air.


  • A large storm system may develop this weekend (Sat into Sun) 
  • The storm would feature rain for folks within 50 miles of the coast and accumulating snow across interior New England
  • The storm all comes down to if the northern and southern jet streams interact
    • Many models show this, some do not
    • If they do not interact this will be a weak storm system
  • If everything came together perfectly, there is the chance rain could change to accumulating snow across areas like NW NJ, NE PA and southern New England late Saturday
Lets take a look

I have been discussing, an active period of weather that is coming down the pipeline and it looks like we will have our first winter season storm system to deal with this weekend. As usual, not all the details are clear and a lot can change but the focus appears to be the interior Northeast for any winter precipitation. For areas within 50 miles of immediate coast, this will likely be rain with the chance at some flakes to fly at the end.

Lets take a look:

As we approach the weekend, two pieces of energy, one from the northern jet stream and one from the southern jet stream will approach the area...

Due to some blocking over Greenland (not perfect position but its there), there is a chance these two pieces of energy can combine to form a decent storm over the northeastern united states...

This increases the chances the energy combines as the Canadian model shows, forming a storm at the surface...

As you can see this model is showing quite a robust snowstorm for the interior with rain on the coast. I am showing the Canadian model today because I think it is handling the pattern the best. The European model is similar.

The American model however does not interact the energy the same and has a weaker storm...

I do not think this is correct but time will tell. The American model tends to speed up the northern jet stream too much in projections.

If things come together perfectly, there is a chance that rain can change to snow in areas like NE PA, NW NJ, and parts of New England near the coasts...

We will have to really see about this. It certainly can happen but again we need perfect interaction of the jet streams and placement of the storm. If it did happen several inches of snow could call across higher elevations of NW NJ NE PA and parts of southern NE at the end of the storm. 

I like this band as a general idea of who sees the accumulating snow from this system...

Stay tuned. More to come.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Tuesday Note: Watch Later this Weekend

I will comment more as more data becomes available, but we need to be on the lookout for an interior snow event late this weekend for the interior. Models are all over the place but the ingredients are there. This will not be a threat for anyone remotely near a coast as there is not a lot of cold air available.

Stay tuned. 

Monday, November 30, 2020

Monday: Storm Moves Through Today, Watch Dec. 7-15th for Winter Weather

 Good morning. A lot to talk about today but I will try to keep it straight forward. We have a big storm system that is currently moving through the area which will feature heavy rain and gusty winds. Things then will cool down for the rest of the week. 

We then turn our attention to what I believe will be a very active period from December 7th to the 15th. I think we got our first show at snow during this period. 

Lets take a look..

Storm moving through now featuring heavy rains for the east and eventually snow for areas like OH and western PA...

Winds will really pick up this afternoon. Below are projected wind gusts...

In the wake of this impressive storm, things then cool down for the rest of the week with seasonable temperatures.

By this weekend a weather pattern starts to develop which I believe can deliver winter weather over the following  8 to 10 day period (7th to 15th).

A disturbance will move into the region this weekend but it appears at this time that will not produce much in the form of weather. It does bear watching however.

The reason it bears watching is a pattern will be developing in the upper atmosphere that can be supportive of winter weather for the east coast. I show an animation of this below then will explain...

What you are seeing above is pressure placement at 18k feet in the atmosphere. When we see higher pressures develop over Greenland and the western United States, it increases the chances that energy can consolidate along the east cost and cold air can stay locked in. I show this below...

In English, what I am showing above are some critical factors I want to see develop to support east coast winter storms. Each one of these factors highlighted need to be aligned properly and in sync for a winter storm to develop. 

The bottom line is this, for it to snow near the big cities and even within 50 miles of the coast, we need energy to slow down and consolidate and cold air that stays locked in. The pattern I highlighted out west and over Greenland helps do this. 

The ridge of high pressure out west directs the cold air to the east. The high pressure over Greenland blocks off the jet stream so energy can slow down and consolidate over our region, and the low pressure over eastern Canada helps keep cold air locked in. 

As you can see a lot has to happen and come together for a big storm. The encouraging things for the snow lovers out there is It appears a favorable pattern is going to develop. This does not guarantee a snowstorm but it certainty increases the chances.

Again, I would be focusing on December 7th to 15th for our first winter event of the season. Lets see what happens.

More to come. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Winter is Coming

Stay tuned...pattern evolving so far as my winter outlook outlined..1st half of December should feature some action. I'll have a post to discuss this week.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Monday: Taking a Look at Thanksgiving into Early December

 Good morning. I wanted to take a look at the weather for Thanksgiving week into early December today. 

Overall even though it is going to Rain on Thanksgiving Day, the weekend should be quite nice. Early December then looks to get pretty active and we will be on the lookout for the first snow event of the season. This goes along with what my winter outlook research suggested. 

Starting off, we have a front that just is passing through the area now. This will cool things down for the next two days. Expect temperatures in the 40's (warmer near the coasts) for many through Tuesday...

Things then begin to warm up Wednesday ahead of an approaching storm system for Thanksgiving day. Expect rain to move in late Wednesday night and last through most of Thanksgiving day...

Things clear out Thursday night and the weather becomes quite nice for the weekend. Expect seasonable to slightly mild conditions with temperatures in the low to mid 50's. We will see some 60's near the coasts Friday.

All attention then turns to December. As of now the models are starting to support my idea of an active December this year. No storms on the radar yet, but we are seeing an upper air pattern that can support storms first two weeks of December. All the major models now look similar. I show this below...

Basically what you are looking at above is a weather pattern that would allow the atmospheric flow to slow down and potentially consolidate in the eastern 1/3 of the country. We should have enough cold air in play to give at least a shot at the first winter storm system of the season. Problem is we will have to wait to see if the focus will be on folks in the interior of if areas near the coasts can get in on the action. We will have to wait to see. 

Regardless, the models are starting to look similar to my winter forecast analogs for December...

Stay tuned, it is still early in the game so a lot can change. Blog activity will be picking up.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Friday: How Will the Start of Winter Look this Year?

That's the million dollar question. If you read my winter forecast you know I do expect the first half of winter to be more impressive than the last. That means Dec and Jan I would expect to feature at least average snowfall for the region and above average for the interior.

So how are things looking? Well there is a lot of talk out there about a warm December based on a strong PV, placement and strength of the La Nina pattern and projections from climate models. As of now I am no in that camp. I certainly understand the research behind that view and it has merit, but the weather is not perfectly predictable. My observations of how everything has played out so far does not concern me. My conclusion is December has the chance to feel like a winter month this year. I share more details below...

A few things I like to see..

So far as we have gone through the fall season, the weather pattern hasn't been too unusual minus a 3 day stretch where things got super warm. We have had our seasonable periods and some impressive short lived cold shots. To me this is very typical of a la Nina pattern- a lot of volatility.  So I do not conclude from this , I will admit simple observation, we will see sustainable warm or cold outbreaks. it will be a mix which is perfectly normal. Remember to snow we don't need crazy cold episodes as we do not live in NC.

The models so far have over estimated the impact of the trough over the northwestern Canada. It always seems at first glance the trough will strengthen and stay over land which would result in a very warm pattern. However, I have noticed so far this year that as the forecast periods gets inside 120 hours the models have tended to correct and pull the trough more west and deepen it. This has resulted in colder than forecasted conditions for the east coast.  We just saw this happen with the recent cold spell. That was no where to be seen on long range models a few weeks ago...

As you can see the forecast on the left from the long range European did not pick up on the deepening trough off the west coast which on the right image is what actually happened. This resulted in our cold spell we just had.

So moving forward when people look at middle of December forecast projections like this below. I would not take them at face value....

Of course this is a simple way of looking at things. There are other factors that will drive the weather pattern that if they evolve incorrectly it would mean a warm December. I just do not see that at this time. The MJO (tropical influence) looks to stay weak and even though we have a strong Polar Vortex a little slight wobble towards our end of the hemisphere could do the trick. We just don't want to see a super tight wound vortex sitting right over the pole.

Even the models in the shorter range (early December) are hinting that wide spread warmth will not be the case...

Now for any signifigant winter storms you would need more blocking or in other words higher pressures over Greenland and Canada. But the point I am making today is this pattern is not awful.

Bottom line:

Lets be patient and let it play out. My December forecast seems to be on track. 

Monday, November 16, 2020

Monday Nov 16th: Cold Pattern Next Few Days then Seasonable

Good morning. That was an impressive front that came through last night! I clocked over 40mph on my wind gauge at one point.

Thanks to the front, cold air has now taken hold over the region and will last the next few days before moderating towards this weekend. Expect temperatures in the 40's and as low as the 20's at night next few days. Things will then moderate before possibly turning cold and stormy again end of the month.


  • Cold winter like air through Thursday
  • Warms up for the weekend
  • Seasonable Thanksgiving week with the chance for a storm system mid to late week
  • All eyes then to December where we should start to see some winter weather if my winter forecast is correct

Let's take a look...

Cold air from Canada currently over the area and this will continue next few days. This will remind you it is mid November...

As we get to Friday, this cold air backs off and more milder air moves in from the west coast..

This will make for a decent upcoming weekend.

As we head into Thanksgiving week, I see some evidence a storm system could develop middle to later part of that week...

This is speculation but I highlighted the area I can see a low pressure system developing. Some things would have to change such as a little bit of a sharper trough off the west coast but the chance is there. It is likely this would be a chilly rain for many with potential snow across the deep interior.

We then turn to December. Based on my Winter Forecast I do expect winter to take hold in December. I will be commenting on this more in the coming days.