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Tranquil weather turns stormy this weekend

Posted by David Epstein  December 12, 2012 06:00 PM

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Meteorologists get a bit giddy looking at computer models. We evaluate all of them and tend to gravitate towards those that show the most extreme weather. That doesn't mean we forecast or tell the public what we see, but all of us love to look at the model that forecast the "big one". The models have been forecasting three storms that will affect New England over the next 10 days. The first, and smallest,takes place later this weekend. The second and third, both potentially significant, early through midweek next week. The constancy of the models is very important in being confident in my forecast. The longer I see multiple models forecast the same solution the more my confidence grows in the forecast. When you see only one model forecast a snowstorm and all the other show rain or nothing, it's risky to go with the outlier. I once said to a colleague at Channel 5 you can't wish a forecast to come true as much as you may want that snowstorm.

atmospheric Energy.png

Atmospheric Energy

In order to get a storm you have to have energy in the upper levels of the atmosphere to act as the spinning mechanism that mixes the cold and warm air. In its simplest terms a nor'easter is a big bundle of energy that is trying to mix warm tropical air with cold dry air.
Meteorologists look to the computer models to see how the pieces of energy in the flow of the atmosphere will come together and affect a particular region. The more active the pattern, the more pieces of energy that exist. Starting later this weekend there will be several bits of energy rotating around the upper level flow at around 10,000 feet. The image below shows the position of these energy pieces just prior to the weekend. The models often have a very difficult time deciding how each piece of energy will ultimately play into creating a storm. In the case of the the Sunday through Thursday time frame next week, we know there will be several of these energy pieces, but we are not sure yet how they will play out in the forecast. The loop below shows the water vapor in the hemisphere this evening. If you look closely, you can see small spinning areas moving west to east in the flow, these are the pieces of energy we are watching. There is a HUGE storm by the way south of Greenland with a ton of energy.
sat_wv_hem_loop-12.gif

The next few days
The good news is that the weather looks quite tranquil into the weekend with sunny cool days and clear cold nights. Temperatures will actually moderate a bit heading for Friday when 50F is not out of the question. Saturday remains dry and sunny before clouds, rain and some snow move into the area for Sunday.

What to expect
I think there will be bursts of precipitation Sunday through early Monday followed by a lull. Then it looks like a more significant round of rain and/or snow Tuesday followed by another gap. nor easter December 2012.pngFinally, another storm of wind, rain and snow could move into the area Thursday. It's hard to say how significant the two events Tuesday and Thursday will be, but right now those are the biggest potential snow and rain makers. As you always here, the exact track, timing and configuration of the storm will determine how much precipitation we get and how bad it will be when it does occur.

Newsletter
Every few months I write a newsletter on gardening and a bit about weather. You can see the newsletter for December by clicking here. You can sign up for the newsletter at Growing Wisdom. It's free and no one else gets the email addresses.

How to grow your own garlic

Believe it or not you can still plant garlic this time of year for a summer harvest. I planted mine a few days ago and it is already rooting. In order to plant garlic you need to get garlic bulbs that can be planted. You could rush order online or try buying some organic garlic from a supermarket and use that as a first start. You need to use organic garlic because other garlic can be treated with a growth inhibitor.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this blog or any others. Please follow me on Twitter at @growingwisdom and check out my latest videos at GrowingWisdom.com

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

David Epstein has been a professional meteorologist and horticulturalist for three decades. David spent 16 years at WCVB in Boston and currently freelances for WGME in Portland, ME. In 2006, More »
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