Winter Storm Outlook


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

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Next Weeks Storm Potential

Good morning. For those of you who have been following me on this site and twitter have seen me talk about my target peroid of Jan 1st to 6th for a storm. I also now have my new winter outlook banner on the top of this blog to summarize my thoughts.

Models are finally snowing my storm for this Thursday...

Precip type can be an issue but the point here is that the storm is finally showing up on the models. I will iron out details in the next few days on what may happen here.

Pattern is going through a big transition right now, so the models will be more sporadic than normal. The storm potential Thursday needs a little bit of luck and timing to hit our area with snow (no cold air locked) but we still got a shot here. At least my ideas are  snowing some merit with this developing.

More to come, stay tuned.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Friday: Where is Winter?

I am introducing my new Winter Storm Outlook. On the header of this blog in white text. I will update this message on a weekly basis to give an outlook for the chance at future winter storms. The first line will discuss the probability of the threat and the second the time period I am focusing on.

Threat levels will be:

Low to Moderate
Moderate to High

As a start, first period to watch is middle of the first week of January


Good morning, brief post today as I will be elaborating on this more on the days to come. 

So far it has been a brutal December for winter weather lovers. We have went from periods of chilly weather to rain back to chilly weather vice versa.

Will the pattern ever flip to cold and snowy?

The models say so...

My  January forecast analogs say so...

The strasophere says so...

But despite all these STRONG factors, we still see rain outside our windows. And will see MORE rain through the New Year.

So whats the verdict? We need to be patient. As crazy as I might sound, if the factors are there the pattern should eventually flip. Thus, I am not throwing in the towel on winter because the data will not let me. 

Now if we get to the end of Jan and nothing has happened then this will be a different conversation.

Thats all for now. Stay tuned!

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Sunday Morning Discussion: Flakes for Some Christmas Eve

Good morning. As Christmas approaches we all are looking out of windows wondering when the snow will come! Well, for some this year, especially those in NNJ into PA and southern New England the dream may come true. A very weak storm system will track through early on the morning of the 24th dropping a dusting to 1" for these areas. A few local 2" amounts are possible. This should just be enough to make it a White Christmas for some.

So lets take a look at whos backyard will luck out.

Here is the projected snow system. It arrives very early on the 24th and is over before the end of the morning...

Surface temps will be marginal in the mid 30's for most. BUT for areas in NJ north of I-78 and over 800ft in elevation, I think you see a white ground from this. For PA and Southern New England the same holds true. For other lower lying areas you will see flakes but not any accumulations for the most part. 

This is not a big enough event for me to make my own map, but I will show the model printout that makes the most sense which is the European...

You can see the 1" areas confined to NW NJ in the higher elevations.

In the wake of this things stay chilly but then we get more rain towards the middle of next week.

The winter pattern should get rocking, but its not going to be till after December 31st in my opinion. 

The first period to watch for a signifigant winter storm is between January 2nd and 6th.

More to come on this.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Thursday Update: Christmas Surprise?

Good morning. As we are about to embark on this major rainstorm tomorrow, the good news is there is a chance for some flakes to fly on Christmas eve! Granted, nothing major I am expecting, but we may just be able to squeeze enough out of a clipper system to coat the ground for some areas if things pan out. More on that in a min.

First off, we have a major rainstorm on tap for tomorrow...

This will be quite an impressive storm with high winds and driving rains. Many spots should see 2"+ of rain by Saturday morning when this starts to taper off. Ski areas are going to get hit hard by this and it will take its toll on their snow pack unfortunately. 

In the wake of this cool air moves back into our area bringing temperatures back to normal.

We then turn our eyes to an upper level disturbance that if trends amplified enough, can cause flakes to fly Christmas Eve!

Looking above you are seeing energy in the upper atmosphere. The sharper this energy is, the more chance you get lift and precipitation/snow at the surface. All week the models have shown this disturbance but havent printed out much in term of precipitation.

Latest projections from the European (below) and gfs are starting to come around to the idea that this disturbance may amplify just enough to let the flakes fly...

I actually think this has a decent chance at occurring from what I see. What we can end up with is an inch or maybe two of snow falling north of I-78 on the 24th.

Lets see how this evolves. At least we got a shot here!

P.S. the stratosphere, as I discussed Monday really is priming up for a major warming. Mark my words, this will have impacts on our weather come January...

Monday, December 17, 2018

Monday Update: Snow Starved, For Now

Good morning. I am back from Hawaii and I wish I had better news for snow lovers over the next 10 days. Our weather pattern is not panning out as I thought in the short term and it now appears likely that we will have to wait till the end of December to see the shot at any winter weather. The good news is that there are many factors developing now that will support the eventual return of cold and stormy conditions. It is just that in the short term a few things are dominating our pattern that do not favor snow.


  • Seasonable to above average temperatures on tap for the next 10 days
  • Big rainstorm for entire northeast corridor Friday into Saturday
  • Chance of some light snow around Christmas
  • Pattern being driven by thunderstorm activity in the Indian Ocean influencing jet stream to not  be in a favorable position
  • Potential for a big stratosphere warming which can finally turn this pattern to cold an stormy by end of December/Early January

So what went wrong?

As it happens sometimes, one factor has been dominating the weather pattern. A variable called the Madden Julian Oscillation which is basically a pattern that tracks thunderstorm activity in the tropics, has those thunderstorms not in a favorable spot to put the jet stream in the right position for our area.

Looking below you can see those thunderstorms are now in the eastern Indian Ocean...

This is called phase 4 of this pattern and tends to produce an atmosphere that looks like this for December...

The models show a similar pattern over the next 5-10 days...

Red is warm, blue is cold. As you can see, this is not the pattern we want for the Northeast for cold an snow.

Eventually, the thunderstorms will move out of the Indian ocean which could cause our pattern to then be influenced again by other factors that support cold and snow per my winter forecast. 

A major factor developing now that can support this is the projected major warming of the Stratosphere. Although no guarantee, when the stratosphere warms, it weakens the polar vortex which increases the chances for high pressure to develop in the north pole allowing cold air to funnel south. This process is still not completely understood and I would still consider it a frontier in weather forecasting but when this has happened in the past it has resulted in a few things:

  • colder weather more times than not for the lower latitudes
  • high degree of model volatility in the long range
  • potential increase for the chance at winter storms
The models show the major warming way up in the atmosphere. Notice the polar vortex (blue) pushed way off its axis...

This is something we will have to keep a close eye on for sure.

In the meantime, we will have a big rainstorm on tap for Friday into Saturday...

This hits the whole northeast with rain. Things then cool down in its wake for Christmas week although the pattern may still not be optimal for any snow. 

We need to hope that the models are struggling with the long range period due to the stratospheric warming and that due to this we may see the shot at snow between Christmas and New Years. If not, we then have to wait till January which based on many factors including my winter forecast should be active and cold along the east.

Only time will tell. Like always, the weather gives you no guarantees. My forecast for November paned out very well and unless it snows between Christmas and New years, December will be a loss. 

That leaves us with this for January in terms of my forecast...

Pretty bold and needed for this winter to pan out. Lets see what happens.

More to come later this week.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Back from Hawaii this Weekend, Update on Monday

Good morning. I will have a detailed weather update on Monday. The peroid i am focused on for the chance at winter weather is the 20th through Christmas as I have discussed. Overall I think we can see some snow.

There will be a rainstorm Saturday with the chance of snow for New England on the backend. I may comment on this tomorrow morning.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Monday Pattern Update: Mild then Active End to December

Good morning. What a storm they had down south in NC and VA. I saw some reports close to two feet. That makes this an historic storm for that area. 

We are about to enter a break in the weather as mild conditions will work their way into the area by the end of this week. The mild period should last 1-2 weeks. There is then evidence cold and stormy weather returns in time for Christmas well into the new year. This is supported by the projection that the polar vortex will be weakening over the next few weeks, eventually allowing intrusions of arctic air to move into our area.

Things stay on the colder side for most of this week then the start our our mild period will get kicked off by a rainstorm on Saturday...

The mild air is being caused by unfavorable convection or thunderstorm placement in the Indian ocean. The placement of this convection currently promotes this type of pattern based on the Madden Julian Oscillation...

Current models show similar for the period starting the 14th to 20th...

The issue is the trough over the gulf of Alaska causes warm pacific air to flood the country.

This pattern I believe will be short lived however as cold and stormy conditions should return by around the 20th-24th. The current pressure/stress on the stratosphere supports this forecast...

As a rule of thumb, when the stratosphere warms, its usually a 2 to 3 week lag to when we see the effects on our weather pattern. In this case, the weakening and displacement of the polar vortex would support arctic outbreaks as we get towards the end of December.

Bottom line: 

Do not be fooled by the milder weather that will enter the region towards the end of this week (just in time for my return from Hawaii). It will only last 1-2 weeks and by the time Christmas rolls around I think we see winter come back strong. One can only hope this means we get a shot at a white Christmas. 

Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Thursday Update: Storm Threat Stays South Next Week, Major Snows for NC/VA

Good morning. The storm threat that has been discussed for early next week will stay south. It appeared there was room for the upper air pattern to change enough for this to nudge north but I am confident that will not occur at this time. Parts of NC and VA will potentially see an historic snowstorm with this.

 We will then be left with chilly December weather through early next week. Followed by milder weather towards the end of next week through the weekend. Our next period for winter weather looks to be from December 17th onward. 

Here is the latest for Monday's storm threat...

Way south as you can see. Why is this projection occurring? It comes down to the upper atmosphere and what dictates how high pressure forms at the surface....

Looking above you can see the jet streams of the atmosphere. The area I circled shows two jet streams coming together over the Northeast known as a confluence zone. When this occurs, it tends to mean sinking air or high pressure down at the surface. Given the fact that this confluence zone is too far south, it means the HP is too far south and acts to squash the storm as seen below...

Notice the high pressure center in PA squashing the storm. Earlier in the week I thought the confluence zone could shift more north meaning that same high pressure would be up in southern Canada thus allowing a more northern movement of the storm. That now will not occur.

This is a great example of how hard it is to get a big snowstorm. The ingredients needs to be in place perfectly.

However, in parts of NC and southern VA, this will be a major and possibly historic snowstorm....

This is very interesting and I will be keeping an eye on this for my friends down in the Charlotte area.

December will deliver for snow lovers in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast in my opinion. Just be patient, the pattern will be developing. More to come.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Tuesday Note: Update Tomorrow

Good afternoon, or good morning in Hawaiian time. I will have a detailed update tomorrow morning. I am still tracking a storm threat for the 9th/10th time frame. As stands now models keep the threat south but we are still far enough out for things to change. I think this ends up inching more north and needs to be watched extremely closely. Model below is most aggressive and closer to my ideas of what I think can happen early next week...

Also, latest model guidance is now moving towards my December forecast for no sustainable warm up. After a brief moderation mid month all signs point to colder and stormy through the holidays.

My December forecast is below. Blue is lower pressures/cold stormy, yellow is high pressure and warm...

Latest models showing similar pattern below for 2nd half of the month...

stay tuned. 

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Sunday Note: Aloha From Hawaii, Tracking a Winter Threat

Just arrived in Hawaii for my Honeymoon. Its currently 1030pm here and 330am east coast time. I wanted to drop a quick note to wet the appetite for what is on tap weather wise the next 10 days.

In Summary:

  • Colder weather returns this week
  • The snow threat for the 4th I mentioned looks like it will not amplify enough to impact the area
  • The 9th/10th threat is still very alive for a larger winter storm with the main target potentially being the Mid-Atlantic from Balt/Wash to Southern New England
  • The talk of a mid December warm up is overdone in my opinion
    • My forecast calls for a very quick pause around mid month followed by an active end to December
Starting off, cold air moves in this week...

By next weekend the atmospheric setup favors potential winter storm development along the Mid-Atlantic coast...

Looking above I like what I see with placement of western ridge, low pressure area near eastern Canada and the active southern jet.

Models are going back and forth on how far north/south this storm gets. Below is latest GFS model. If I had to speculate I think this isn't a bad placement for this storm. Some models are keeping it more south..

At this time a storm will form its just a matter of the track. If things pan out like I think they might we will have a signifigant storm on our hands. I of course will still be in Hawaii

From here we move to what can potentially be a little bit of a mild period for mid month. This I believe will be short lived however. 

My December forecast calls for an active east coast storm track as seen below...

If that storm on the 9th/10th pans out it would be a great start to backup this forecast. 

More on Monday. 

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Thursday: Hunting for Next Storm

Good morning. Snow has been in no shortage this November. Our region got the first significant snowfall two weeks back and the Mountains of New England got up to two feet in some areas over last two days.

So whats next? When is the next shot at snow for our area? I got my eyes on two periods, December 4/5 and December 9th/10th. The main target is the 9th/10th.

November so far is shaping up very similar to what my Forecast maps projected...

Actual temps...

My Forecast based on analogs...

In case anyone is wondering here is my December forecast....

We will see how this plays out. My forecast calls for a very active storm track from the gulf to the Northeast.

Moving on, lets take a look at storm threats....

Starting off, things warm up this weekend as rain moves through the Northeast Saturday...

Cold air will then return in this storms wake for early next week. Models have been hinting at a wave of energy that can develop by mid week...

If this sharpens up more than shown, it will cause a low pressure center to move through the region causing light to moderate snow. Something to watch for the Wednesday time frame.

Moving on, cold air stays in place for the rest of the week ahead of what might be a bigger storm threat for later next weekend...

The map above shows the setup for 10 days from now. Keep in mind this is the long range but there are some variables taking shape. What you are seeing in a lot of energy entering the pattern and tapping into gulf moisture. Given the fact there is blocking in place, cold air could stay locked in ahead of this moisture causing a big storm to develop for late next weekend/early next week.

Right now models are hinting this can happen at the surface...

Something to keep an eye on for sure! I will be away in Hawaii so that will increase the chances of this happening. 

Stay tuned. We have a lot of active weather the next two weeks.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Monday: Snowstorm For New England Mountains on Tap

Good morning. I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving. It sure was a cold one and reminded us all Winter is on our doorstep.

The region in our neck of the woods dealing with Winter today is New England. A low pressure system will ride east later today and develop off the coast as we head into tomorrow morning. Heavy snows can be expected in most of the Mountains. I would say a general 8 to 14 inches is a good bet....

Ski country will continue their fast start with this one!

In the wake of this storm things cool down again for all regions tomorrow through Friday bringing that chill back into the air. Temps will hover in the low 40s for highs.

The active pattern then continues with another storm system that will move in by the weekend...

There is yet another chance the mtns of New England see snow with this if the low stays far enough south Saturday into Sunday. For most other regions its a rain storm.

So what does the long range look like? In general, I see an up and down pattern over the next two weeks. There will be cold shots followed by some moderation. I would focus on possibly the 2nd week of December for the next shot that the pattern might be optimal for a snow event. 

More to come. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Wednesday Update: Frozen Turkey Tomorrow (Record Cold)

Good morning. We will likely experience the coldest Thanksgiving on record tomorrow for most areas. Temperatures will plummet into the teens and single digits by tomorrow morning and struggle to reach past the low 20's for many for highs. Wind chills will be in the single digits for many!

Lets take a look. Please click all images to make bigger. 

Tomorrow at 7am...

Grey areas are below zero!

Wind chills at the same time (7am).  This is absolutely brutal, notice the sub zero wind chills making their way down to NJ!

By 2pm things don't get too much better. Temps hover in the low 20's and much colder in New England...

Wind chills stay fridgid...

So why are we seeing record cold? All due to a quick visit from a piece of the polar vortex...

Things stay cold Friday then moderate for the weekend some.

We then turn to next week which after some rain on Sunday needs to be watched for storm development.

More to come! Happy Thanksgiving. 

Monday, November 19, 2018

Monday Update: Coldest Thanksgiving on Record?

Good morning. As my headline states, we could be in store for the coldest Thanksgiving on record this year. A visit from a piece of the polar vortex means bitter cold is on tap for Turkey Day. As we then head into the longer range I have my eyes on the potential for east coast storm development for the last week of November. 

Before we discuss that, New England will be dealing with a light to moderate snow event early tomorrow as a wave of low pressure develops over the region...

For areas primarily north and west of I-84 in Mass into the interior expect 3 to 6 inches of snow to fall with some local higher amounts in the high elevations. Coastal Maine also gets in on the action. No impacts to big cities like Boston, but for southern Ski Country and the Berkshires this will be yet another snowfall!

We then move to the cold blast. Air directly from the north pole will descend down into the region Wednesday night...

This air brings with it a massive area of cold high pressure...

This means business as temperatures will plummet to record lows for Thanksgiving. Check out the next three frames from Thanksgiving morning to afternoon to Friday morning. Click to make bigger.

In case you can't tell. Temperatures will be in the teens to low 20's for many Thanksgiving morning and not break out of the 20's during the day. They then plummet again into the teens for Friday morning.  For up in interior new England subzero temps are likely for lows and single digit for highs in Mtn areas!!

This will likely be the coldest Thanksgiving on record. 

Things then will warm up for the tail end of that weekend with a warmer storm system effecting the region with some rain.

We then turn to the week following thanksgiving. I have my eye on the period from the 26th to 1st for east coast winter storm development. Too early to work out the details but I like what I see from the pattern...

Despite the fact we may see some Rain early that week, based on the pattern above I would not be surprised to see a winter storm develop middle to end of that week.

We will revisit this as the days go on.

Bundle up!