Winter Storm Outlook


Threat Level: Low
Period: Jan 27th-28th
updated 1/21

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Thursday: Illustration of the Arctic Plunge

Below shows the pattern that will take hold from the end of next week onward. Notice all the arctic air pouring into the east and staying locked in.....

The result of this pattern will be high temperatures in the mid to upper 30's and very cold lows at night. We also need to watch for a storm to develop on the backside of this initial arctic surge by the end of next week.I will start to comment more on the chances of this in a detailed post tomorrow Cold air will clearly be established and we then turn our attention to any amplifying pieces of energy (shortwave) up at 18000 ft. I posted this image to twitter to show my point last night...

If we get something to dig in enough to this pattern then a storm will develop. That is not a guarantee but as I mentioned Monday, the 8th to 18th is when i expect the best chances for something to occur. The other scenario is the cold air is too strong and it suppresses any storm development. 

More to come on this. 

Monday, November 27, 2017

Monday Weather Update: Winter Is Coming

Good morning. I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving weekend. I have had several posts over the last few weeks discussing how winter should get off to a fast start this year compared to previous ones. I based this on the work I did in my winter outlook.  Now that December is in our sights, I can say that after a brief 7-10 days of mild weather winter will come in strong starting around December 8th. In particular, the period from the 8th-18th has the best chance to give us our first shot at accumulating snow which increases the chances of a white Christmas this year.


  • More seasonable/milder weather on tap over the next 7-10 days
  • Winter then kicks in for real after December 8th.
    • Expect colder conditions and chances at snow to fall as we move towards Christmas
  • This follows the ideas laid out in my winter outlook for December
  • Remember, I still do expect the core of the winter to be off the coast this year
    • Regardless, everyone should get in on some action with the pattern that will evolve in 10 days. 

This pattern change is now becoming well advertised as every major model is showing the same thing for week 2 in December and beyond....

The images above show the European, Canadian and GFS models for the second week of December. As you can see there is very strong agreement between all of them. They all show the factors I highlighted in the last image. This is a textbook setup for a colder and stormier eastern 1/3 of the country. Any energy that gets caught up in a pattern like this will likely consolidate in the east increasing the chances for unsettled weather and snow for this period. Of course, this is not a guarantee but the chances are much higher than normal. 

In addition to this, we also are seeing projections that the strasophere (highest levels of the atmosphere) will warm over the next 2 weeks. This is a signifigant factor as well as a warming strasophere causes the polar vortex to move off the pole which also increases the chances for colder air to funnel south into the lower latitudes. You can see the warming that is projected below. Notice the polar vortex getting pushed off center and potentally split...

When the polar vortex is knocked off center and potentially split, the effects are normaly felt 2-3 weeks later as what happens above has to work its way down into the lower atmopshere. The end result tends to be higher than normal pressures at the pole and lower than normal pressures/cold air in the lower latitudes. The fact we are seeing this being projected only strengthens the case for the pattern change being advertised by the models. A factor to keep a close eye on for sure.

Now I have shown on a few occasions what my forecast was for December back when I put out the winter outlook in October. You can see below what it was...

It will now be interesting to see how this all comes together. Enjoy the milder weather over the next week or so. More active times are on the horizon! Just maybe we can pull off a White Christmas.

More to come. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Wednesday Weather Discussion: Looking at The Madden Julian Oscillation

Good morning. Quick post today as I do not want to bore everyone and get too technical. I want to touch on a weather pattern called the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO). In simple terms this involves an area of thunderstorm activity that moves along the equator to into different regions. These thunderstorms have been shown to influence the placement of the jet stream. The  MJO has different phases and each phase relates to the area along the equator the thunderstorms are in. By tracking this, we can get a clue on what the weather pattern might be over North America.

Here is what a MJO diagram looks like...

Looks busy but its fairly simple. Each number is the region along the equator the thunderstorms are in and the line shows where the thunderstorms are heading. If the line is more on the outer bounds of the region its a stronger signal. Looking above you can see the European model says that these thunderstorms can move into a weak phase 4 as seen by following the green line.

Phase 4 means thunderstorms in this region...

This is not a cold phase for the east in the short term. Here is what the thunderstorms in this area tend to result in for North America...

Notice the cooler conditions in the southwest and mild conditions in the east. 

The models consequently are showing this for the 8-10 day period...

Looks similar eh? Doesn't mean it verifies as the model can be miscalculating where those thunderstorms go. Regardless its a factor that needs to be looked at. 

This does not mean we are having a warm December! It just means some mild air can come into the pattern for a week or so. I have absolutely no changes to my overall December idea of cold and stormy. If anything the factors I discussed yesterday will be the major drivers in the long term. I just wanted to point out that I look at everything and will acknowledge a warmer pattern coming when I see one, even if it is short lived. 

Thats all for now. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Tuesday Morning Note: Big Ticket December on The Table

Good morning. As I have been looking at model data over the last several weeks there comes a time where you have seen enough to take a stance on a idea.. In this instance, the case is building for a cold and active December.

The images below show the Canadian, GFS and European ensemble models for the first week of December. I drew out the pattern then show and how it would mean big time cold can enter the weather pattern...

At first glance some might say well it looks warm in some of those models. Not so fast, the key consistency in all three images is a building ridge or rise in the jet stream over western Canada and Eastern Alaska. As I show above this blocks the mild pacific air from hitting the country and instead allows cold arctic air to funnel into the pattern. Trust me if that verifies we will have some big time cold entering the lower 48 this December.. Likely the coldest since 2013. 

In terms of storms, well we can't iron that down this far out but it should be active. Maybe just maybe tis will be the season. 

Monday, November 20, 2017

Monday Thanksgiving Week Outlook

Good morning. As the holiday week is upon us, I figured it would be appropriate to give a weekly weather update. The good news is no major travel disruptions expected this Thanksgiving season. For the most part, conditions will be seasonable to slightly below normal temperature wise as we approach Thursday. Temperatures will peak in the mid to upper 50's tomorrow then a cold front moves into the region Wednesday...

This will remain disconnected from a wave of low pressure seen above in the Atlantic but some showers can be expected Wednesday for certain areas and snow showers in the interior.

By Thanksgiving day cooler air is here....

Temperatures will range from the upper 30's to mid 40's depending on where you live. We then see a little rebound in temps back into the upper 40's for Friday and Saturday with another more powerful cold front arriving Sunday...

Expect the chance at some showers as this front starts to move in on Saturday afternoon with again snow showers and squalls in the interior. Temperatures will drop back into the low 40's Sunday in the wake of this front.


So how about the long range? Well, the storm speculation is likely not going to pan out for this upcoming weekend....

Although we have the players on the field it is not looking like it wants to come together properly. For one we do not have a vortex of low pressure that is deep enough in eastern Canada. This allows the flow to escape out into the Atlantic ocean and remain more progressive resulting in no combination of northern and southern energy.  We will still watch this closely but it looks like a miss at this time. Regardless, if we keep this pattern into December it will deliver. 

Remember it is still November. Once the season starts to mature as we enter December a pattern like this will eventually produce. Although the pattern will moderate at times I think what you see above will be recurring as we move through the winter. Now whether it is just New England or the Mid-Atlantic as well remains to be seen. Remember per my winter forecast the core of winter should remain off the coast this year...

Anyone in the light to dark blue looks to be in good shape as we enter December. Areas along the I-95 in the Mid Atlantic remains to be seen. 

That's all for now. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Friday Update: This Ain't Last Year

Good morning. As I continuously monitor and break down this pattern the more I realize this is nothing like last year at this time. Of course that does not mean we hit an epic period of cold and snow but it does mean the atmosphere should behave differently where an old fashioned December is on the table. 

The models as I have mentioned have been very conflicted in recent days trying to sort out the long range. I expect this to continue as there are many factors that are trying to be processed. Also, this is a critical time of year where the winter pattern and drivers of the winter pattern start to take shape. It is normal to see some model volatility. So far the trend has been for the models to over estimate warmth in the long range and correct back to cold across the east. 

So what does this mean in English? The next coupe of weeks will feature bouts of colder than normal weather mixed with seasonal conditions. As we enter the 1st two weeks of December most areas in the Northeast should see their first taste of winter weather. For interior New England, the ski areas should get a nice head start on a snow pack during this time. 

In terms of any potential storms, we have a very powerful storm that will move through the great lakes this weekend...

Gusty winds and rain for most areas Saturday night into Sunday with back end lake effect and mountain snows....

This paves the way for a chiller week heading into Thanksgiving.

In the long range we need to watch the end of next weekend for a bigger storm...

We will have blocking high pressure over western Greenland (-NAO) pattern, a ridge of high pressure out west that will try to amplify, and potential energy consolidating along the eastern seaboard. If this pans out it will likely mean a larger coastal storm and inland snow. Lets see how it trends.

Thats all for now. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Wednesday Morning Note: Models Conflicted In Long Range

Good morning. I wanted to drop a quick note this morning regarding the long range. Over the next 10 days we have a cold and stormier pattern developing along the east as I have been discussing. It will likely snow in interior New England during this time frame with colder than normal conditions for all other areas (starting this weekend). There still is the outside chance we see a bigger coastal storm by the end of next week but it is still pure speculation for now and I am not willing to go out on any limbs at this time. 

I believe that this pattern stays in tact for December. With that being said the models are starting to become very conflicted in the longer range. Below are the GFS, Canadian, and Euro ensembles for the long range period ending 1st week of Dec...

You can see how diluted the images are in terms of the intensity of the colors. This is because ensembles are an average of many different members of the model. By looking above we can see that the overall theme here is that the models can not figure out the exact location of the trough (blue) off the west coast. This results in many different scenarios for where the ridging (red) ends up being in the country. If the trough is more on the west coast it results in a warmer overall pattern, if it is off the west coast then its the pattern I expect.

The one similarity is the high pressure over Greenland in all three. This is a good sign. At the end of the day I am still in the camp that this pattern does deliver as we enter December and the models trend towards my analogs (historical years with similar factors)which look like this...

Only time will tell now. Regardless, we have a very active period about to get underway this weekend through Thanksgiving. Lets keep our eye on for any mischief. 

Thanks for reading.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Monday Weather Update: Winter Moves in Fast This Year

Good morning. I spoke in detail last week how I was gaining confidence that this weather pattern would really get active for the end of November into December. This would mean a quicker start to winter this year compared to recent years. There are no changes to those thoughts and everything looks to be on track. The mountain peaks of New England will start to see accumulating snows by the end of this week. We are still a few weeks away for any real snow threats for the I-95 but the frequent shots of arctic air next few weeks will remind us winter is not  far away.

For the most part, this week will feel very seasonable with temperatures in the 40's for highs. As we approach the weekend, a storm system will move through the Great Lakes into New England...

This will cause rain for many areas but i do think we see some snow on top of the mountains of New England Saturday. In the wake of this storm system very cold air returns to the east again by Sunday...

The arrival of this arctic front should result in the lake effect snow engine cranking. The model is trying to show this. Expect heavy lake effects snows for certain regions by Sunday with very cold conditions elsewhere.

This colder pattern then sticks around for the most part due to our jet stream configuration though the end of November....

As I mentioned last week, above is a text book pattern for colder and stormy conditions. We have a big area of high pressure (red) over Greenland which buckles the jet stream in the east causing cold air to funnel south and energy to get clog up. The ridge of high pressure out west enhances this.

To put my speculation hat on, I think we need to watch for a coastal storm just before the Thanksgiving time frame. Certain signals are starting to show up for that period. If that panned out, then we could see a white thanksgiving for interior areas of the Northeast. Of course that is pure speculation for now!

More to come.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Thursday Morning Weather Discussion: Winter's Arrival Scheduled

Good morning. The first week of November is now in the books and we are starting to get much more clarity on what the rest of the month will have in store. In short, winter will look to make an early arrival this year starting with a arctic shot tomorrow through the weekend and followed by a period of more sustained cold for the last two weeks of this month. It is now looking favorable that the period from the week of Thanksgiving into early December will feature a cold and active pattern. This is much different compared to what we have seen in recent years.


  • Arctic blast moves in tonight
    • temperatures drop into the 20's for lows and mid 30's for highs
    • Saturday morning is the coldest with teens to 20's
    • Things moderate by Sunday
  • More seasonable temperatures for next week
  • The weather pattern then takes a big shift for the last 2 weeks of November into December with cold and story conditions developing in the eastern 1/3
    • This can result in an early start to winter for many areas
    • The culprit will be high pressure building in over Greenland which results in cold air funneling south
  • If my predictions are accurate we will be looking at a wintery Thanksgiving to Christmas period.

So lets take a look...

An arctic blast moves into the region later tonight and will last through the weekend. Expect gusty cold winds tonight as the front moves through. Some snow showers are not out of the question north and west...

It will feel like January with temperatures dropping into the 20's tonight and barely reaching the mid 30's tomorrow for many spots. By Saturday morning, we are looking at temperatures in the teens to 20's...

By Sunday things will moderate some, but we all are about to be reminded that winter is not far away!

From there our pattern really looks to get interesting. Next week will feel very seasonable but then the weather pattern gets quite interesting....

I have been starting to talk about this in my last two posts and now it is starting to come to fruition and has model agreement. Above shows the weather pattern that will develop for last two weeks of November into December. This is a textbook active and cold pattern for the eastern 1/3 of the country. The key to all of this is that "blocking ridge (-nao)" over Greenland. That buckles the jet stream over the east and results in cold air funneling over the region. In addition any energy that comes into the pattern off the pacific gets clogged up over the east. This increases the chances for unsettled weather and yes possibly snow for areas. 

It is a pattern like this that really could make the front end of this winter very active and interesting. The research that I used for my 2018 Winter outlook supports a pattern like this developing. In fact, take a look at a blend of all the historical years that match many of the atmospheric factors this year and the pattern they resulted in for December...

In particular look at December 1995.....

The point is the pattern looks like it wants to go towards a winter that is very front end loaded. We have not seen this in recent years and will be a welcomed change in time for the holidays. Of course none of this is guaranteed but all the models are now starting to come on board. If the chips fall properly we will have a 3-4 week period starting just before Thanksgiving where winter action will be on the table. 

Stay tuned and bundle up this weekend!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Monday Morning Weather Discussion: Knocking On Winters Door?

Good morning. As the days are shorter and we now enter the 2nd week of November when will we see the first signs of winter? November has started off mild for the most part but this week will start to bring some changes, especially for the weekend. In the long range, signs are starting to develop that the last 10 days of November could result in more of a winter like pattern. This would be huge as it is backed up by the research of my Winter Forecast 2018.

Starting off this week, a cold front moves into the region later today dropping temperatures into the 50's for the week for highs and 30's for lows...

By later in the week a much stronger shot of cold air arrives on Friday. This will be a noticeable change in temps....

With this impressive shot of cold air, temperatures will struggle to get into the 40's for highs Friday into the weekend and hit the 20's in many spots at night. This will the first sign winter is coming!

One major element this year is that the coldest air relative to averages sits on our side of the hemisphere. This is the opposite of last year. This means any arctic intrusions will pack a big punch! The image below shows the air relative to averages to display my point...

Now to the long range. There has been a lot of debate on whether the 2nd half of November would be blow torch warm or cold. I am not in the blow torch camp for a variety of reasons, but mainly because the observations vs what my winter outlook research has produced show signs of coming together.

Lets take a look at long term model projections for last 2 weeks of November...

So many things are starting to show up on the models which can promote a stormy cold pattern. Of course this is just a projection and it may not verify. Nonetheless, this pattern above is similar to what my analogs show for December.....

The key to all of this is the high pressure over Greenland (negative NAO pattern). This buckles the jet stream in the east and causes any energy that's coming in off the west coast to get clogged up. This year the -NAO is key to our whole winter! In addition to this, the other factors I pointed out enhance this. Normally a trough over British Colombia may result in a warm pattern for the east. However, that is not the case when the NAO is negative. Now many argue that the ridge of high pressure (red) over the Bering Sea can result in a warm pattern. In some cases yes, but NOT when there is a negative NAO. If anything that ridge now helps inject cold air into the pattern from the north!

Lets see how this plays out. If this continues to go along with my ideas then we can have an active start to winter come December. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Wednesday Pattern Update: Seasonable Overall

Good morning. I thought I would take a quick second to discuss my thoughts on Novembers weather pattern.

Colder conditions currently will lead to some milder air this weekend as a ridge of high pressure forms over the east...

This is no blow torch however as waves of energy should attack this ridge next week. In fact, the Mountains of New England can see their first accumulating snow in about a week as a disturbance moves through and knocks down that ridge...

As we enter the 10 day period, there is some evidence we see more sustained cold over the east although the signals are conflicted....

The key would be to get a trough to deepen off the west coast of the US. That would allow colder air to pool in the eastern 1/3.

The consensus of most is to say November simply will just look like this...

Not so fast however. Yes this does have a la nina look but not much would have to change for the east to see cooler air 2nd half of this month. The key is that strong ridge over Alaska which seeds very cold air into the country. If the model is wrong with the placement of that trough on the west coast and it is a little more west, then the east has a trough in which that very cold air can flow into.

Just some thoughts for now. Again no blow torch this November its just a matter of if we see cooler than normal second half. I assign a 50% chance.