Friday, February 5, 2016

Friday Night Storm Watch: Down To The Wire Again for Next Week

It seems as if every forecast so far this year has been a big challenge. The Blizzard of 2016 did not trend till literally a day before, the snow event this morning (dropped a foot in some spots) did not trend until a day before, and now we are faced with a very complicated setup for next week. Sometimes it may actually be easier to see the "threat" of a storm 2 weeks away (my case study) compared to trying to iron out the finer details 72 hours away as it approaches. Here is a summary of my latest thoughts:

  • We will have a shot at more winter weather early next week (Mon-Tues)
  • Two systems we need to focus on
    • System 1 is a big storm that is going to develop off the coast
    • System 2 is a clipper system that is going to dive down from Canada and potentially redevelop off the coast
  • System 1 will directly impact how system 2 forms
  • At this time signs point to system 1 staying offshore
    • However, there are a few models that make this the main system!
  • If system 1 blows up off the coast and just misses us, I think we miss out on major effect from system 2 due to the atmosphere being robbed of energy. 
  • If I had to make an estimate I would say system 1 does stay offshore allowing system 2 to form over area.
    • It is too early for me to give exact impacts
  • If this happens the area sees snow Tuesday

So here we go...

System 1...

Image above is from the NAM model, which is most aggressive with this storm. Could the NAM be onto something? Maybe, but I do not buy the idea yet of storm 1 having a major impact on the area. 

GFS is less aggressive..

Even though I do not think this ends up happening,the image below shows how storm 1 can really become a monster for the east coast..

What you are looking at above is two main areas, storm 1 and an upper level trough digging down from Canada. IF this trough digs enough and storm 1 is slowed down by block over eastern Canada, then the digging upper level low would help steer storm 1 back to the coast. Like I said, I do not support this extreme scenario at this time but we need to watch trends on this!

Back to my base case. I think storm 1 does exit off the coast like the GFS says. In its wake, a new low pressure center should redevelop on Tuesday over the area..

Looking above you can see the GFS model trying to project this. I am not trying to speculate on the intensity on this second system given the fact we are trying to track two storms at once! If I really had to some this up I think we have three scenarios. 

Scenario 1 (worst case): Storm 1 trends closer to coast and whole area sees very signifigant storm

Scenario 2 (base case): Storm 1 stays offshore enough to allow storm 2 to form off the NJ coast. This would give the area a shot at some decent accumulating snow. Impacts could be major but too early to speculate. 

Scenario 3 (no storm): Storm 1 is a near miss and does not allow storm 2 to form strong enough resulting in only snow showers for the area. 

So thats the only details I can give at this time. This forecast is extremely complicated due to the fact we literally have to track two storms at once. You guys will see frequent updates daily as this situation evolves. Hopefully by tomorrow I can nail this down more.

In any event this pattern is loaded! More storms and rumors of storms to come following this initial threat. 

More tomorrow AM. 

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