Saturday, January 2, 2016

Saturday Morning Weather Discussion: Let the Games Begin

Good morning and Happy New Year everyone. Sorry for the delay in posting I have been busy relaxing over the last few days. I can tell you one thing it sure does not seem like the weather wants to be doing any relaxing as we get into next week. 

Our pattern change I have been relentlessly discussing is now here! I know it took some time but you all will notice this first thing Monday morning when these temps (click to make bigger)..

Only to be colder Tuesday morning!

Expect highs to struggle to get out of the 20's for many spots! Welcome to winter!

This is all due to the jet stream now being forced south over our area. This is due to

1. High pressure or the jet stream rising out west

2. The polar vortex now becoming weakened causing high pressure to also form over the North Pole. This also forces cold air south

Both these two factors are highlighted below. Red is high pressure or rising jet stream and blue is low pressure or sagging jet stream. This represents an arctic outbreak. I used an image valid in a week for the best illustration of how this is evolving. 

So now that winter is here and here to stay may I add (legit arctic outbreaks possible through February), Where is the snow? As always, I need to remind everyone it is not easy to get big storms, however if you build the pattern they usually come. My winter forecast depends on at least 2 storms to get our snow totals 30% above normal. Lets examine what the models are hinting at for the next 10 days.

In order for it to snow you need cold air, energy in the atmosphere and a set up that favors that energy slowing down so it can bundle over one area. The pattern I showed above can produce all three.

As we get into next weekend models are hinting at a low pressure center to develop to our west then redevelop off the coast..

At first sight this is a set up that could favor another New England snowfall. Usually when you get these scenarios of redevelopment the tristate area gets mixed precip changing to rain like we just saw last week. 

The bigger storm threat I am eyeing is for early that following week around the 11th of the month. Here is why...

Energy can bundle and slow down over the east coast. By the time we enter that week plenty of cold air will be available.  The next image below is from the European ensemble forecast system- I pointed out the key factors..

Looking above you will see what the model is projecting could happen here. We have an active stream of sub tropical moisture (enhanced by el nino). We also have northern energy diving in from Canada due to ridge of high pressure over the west. A polar vortex sits over eastern Canada which helps reinforce cold air. Finally we have high pressure over Greenland which helps SLOW DOWN all of this.

In the end we can end up having a big storm forming along the east due to all of this energy coming together as I indicated above. 

Looking at the surface projections the European ensemble (average of many different runs to test main model for error) shows a low pressure center off the coast..

The regular Canadian model says the same..

Again this is still speculation. It is just as likely at this point this storm can get squashed out to sea. However the potential is there because the pattern is there. If this pattern stays around long enough like I project it will for most of the winter the snow will come. 

In any event, we at least got our first real storm threat of the season to now track!

Stay tuned. 


  1. Is there any cold air left up in the Arctic? The North Pole has been a tad balmy lately. As I write this, Point Barrow is reported to be at + 36 F. Thule is a bit nippy at - 15 F (although relatively speaking, I'd bet that is still a heat wave for them). Murmansk is at + 19 F, and Pevek (Russia) is at + 54 F !!! It's still night up on top, and the big refrigerator will no doubt switch back on. But hey, we may get to this Friday with no white stuff on the ground. One-third down, two thirds to go (meteorological). We shall see what happens. Jim G

    1. We shall see Jim. For most people to remember a winter it only takes one or two big storms tho and we got 2/3 to go! I feel your pain tho but am not concerned yet.