Friday, January 22, 2016

Friday Morning Storm Update: Buckle Up, The Blizzard of 2016 Just Tightened It's Crosshairs


What a crazy experience this has been tracking this weekends winter storm. I have never seen such large short term swings in the models before a major storm. I discussed the reasons why in my video last night. Regardless, it really kept me on my heals. After looking at the latest trends last night I am feeling very good about my final forecast. In fact, at this time there is just as much a chance this can over produce in the northern zones as under produce. 

Here is my latest summary:

  • A major winter storm is currently approaching our area from the southwest.
  • Current satellite and radar imagery supports a storm that will continue to strengthen and rapidly deepen off the mid Atlantic coast
  • Snow will start to break out very late this afternoon in the DC/Baltimore area
  • The snow will gradually work its way north and reach the NJ area close to midnight
  • The height of this storm will be from late tomorrow morning through tomorrow night
    • Expect gusty winds with blizzard conditions at times in our hardest hits areas
    • Snowfall rates for many areas will exceed 1-2 inches per hour making for extremely poor visibility and driving conditions 
    • At the coast, winds will be the strongest and flooding is a big concern along all of the beach areas
  • Snow will begin to taper off southwest to northeast around 1 am Sunday as storm finally moves off shore
  • A special play by play breakdown of this storm will be live tonight at 730
    • Will discuss hour by hour impacts for all regions 

Here is my going forecast:

The National Weather Service has the winter storm and blizzard warnings now live..

The thoughts about the northern cutoff of this system remain the same. It is still going to come down to where the strong banding of snow sets up. The model trends last night have brought the storm more north. In fact, the European  model now looks exactly like my map with its snow printout! I think if anything this will overproduce not under produce in the areas in purple and dark blue on my snow map. We shall see, the numbers I put in those zones still make the most sense to me from a forecasting perspective. 

Right now the NAM model is the most aggressive with bringing the storm the most to the north. 

This model is known for overdoing snow amounts. However I am blown away with how consistent it has been over last 24 hrs. It now seems the other major models are coming towards it not the other way around. Take a look at that intense precipitation coming in off the ocean. That is the snow banding I am talking about where you can see 1-2 inches per hour of snow! My gut tells me the NAM is not too far off with this idea. However, I do still think the storm settles a little more south that what this projects. The next short range model below I think has the best idea valid the same time..

Notice it still has that large band of heavy snow but is slightly more south. This is what you guys might end up seeing when you turn on the radar on Saturday afternoon. 

I can not emphasize enough how impressive the dynamics of this storm are. All the ingredients are there to produce explosive snowfall for some areas Saturday. It is because of this, that when we look back this should be one for the history books. 

The image I showed the other day describes why this storm will have such impressive snow banding. 

Here it is again below..

Now what would the worst case scenario for snowfall be? I URGE A BIG WORD OF CAUTION HERE BECAUSE THIS IS LIKELY WAY TOO EXTREME BUT HERE IS THE LATEST NAM MODEL SNOW PRINTOUT. I will emphasize again that this model always overdoes the snow amounts but I am only showing it because it is very rare you will ever see a model print out this much snow. The beauty of it alone is worth the look.

To bring everyone back to reality, here is the best case scenario (less snow) to balance this out:

Both are not likely to me. Stick to the snowfall map I made and I do not think you will be let down. 

So the time to take preparations would be now as the worst of mother nature targets our area.

Tonight's video will be more focused on play by play of this storm. I will show where I expect impacts to be hour by hour and how this is developing in real time.

Stay tuned, will be live at 730!


  1. Yes, I see that the 0Z Euro boosted the accum numbers up a fair amount and shifted the picture north again. So much for the Euro as the Gibraltar of weather models! GFS 06 and CMC 00 still on the lower / southern side, 6 inches. But the GEFS ensemble plumes are also up around 10 inches now. NAM still has snow fever, although NAM 06 went a little bit south -- Boston no longer gets 20 inches (they suffered enough last year). Looks like the AO and NAO are both gonna be neutral or slightly + on Saturday, so the west-east movement might be pretty good. On the other hand, those warm ocean temps are going to make this baby swell-up and spin quite rapidly. Yep, this horse race is going right down to the wire. Jim G

  2. PS, I see cold water just north of 40N all the way from Brooklyn out past Newfoundland (warm anomaly south). Hope the darn thing "chills out" once it gets along side NJ and starts the NW wallop, in late afternoon and evening.