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Cold and quiet much of the week, but watching Friday

Posted by David Epstein  February 4, 2013 01:30 PM

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After a dusting, to a couple of inches of fluff yesterday, our weather will be relatively quiet much of this week. There is the chance for some light snow or flurries early Wednesday, but other than that things look tranquil into Friday. Perhaps you might be thinking the groundhog was right, but wait just a second. One weather model, of the many we use, is indicating a significant storm of rain or snow Friday. two storms by the sea.png This week is of course the 35th anniversary of another big storm, so if nothing else it will be interesting to see how the weather models help us decide what will ultimately happen. I put a sample of the differences between the two models here for you to see. Notice how far south the storm is on one model and how close it is on the other. I am leaning towards a non-event and I will be updating my forecast on Twitter at @growingwisdom Please follow me there.

Where are the big snow storms?
Weather is highly variable from place to place and of all the weather variables snow is one of the least consistent. Depending on where you are in New England this winter your total snow thus far could be within an inch of normal or as much as 66% below normal. It is becoming more evident that the winter of 2012-2013 is not going to be a blockbuster snowy one. Back in October when I was thinking about how much snow we would end up with in Boston I figured around 35 inches of snow would fall or about 10% less than normal. So far, Boston is one of the least snowy places in New England and has yet to break the 10 inch mark of total snowfall. We would need about 25 more inches of snow to get to my prediction. While this isn't impossible it is rapidly becoming less and less likely. What's interesting to me is how close to normal snowfall has been in other parts of the state. In Worcester for example they are only 2" or about 7% below normal. This is much closer to what I expected east of Route 495 this year.
Many reasons
There are several factors that have thus far contributed to our low snow year along the coast. One of the biggest reasons for the huge difference is that warmer ocean air turned two or three snow making storms into rainy ones. We also have had several near misses of storms that would have given eastern Massachusetts a plowable storm. Additionally, January was a very dry month with only about 1/3rd of normal moisture falling across the area. Since January is our coldest month normal amounts of precipitation would have resulted in at least some additional snow. When you combine all of these factors it's no wonder Boston has only seen 8.8 inches of snow this season.

Some of you might wonder what the rest of winter will bring in terms of snowfall. As we get deeper into February without a major storm the odds continue to grow that we won't have a major storm the entire winter. The reason for this is that persistence is a very powerful tool in forecasting. Persistence is the idea that once patterns take hold they are difficult to dislodge. Last summer when the drought began across the Mid-West it was unlikely it would break until the winter or following spring. Two winters ago when New England saw many places with close to 100 inches of snow the pattern got
"stuck" in a snowy regime. Last winter a warm and dry pattern locked in place starting in November has remained virtually unbroken. One could even argue some of the same factors at play last year, are still contributing to our relatively mild and snow free winter. If you forecasting based on persistence, our shovels will continue to collect more dust than flakes from now until spring. It can certainly still snow this winter but time is rapidly running out for a blockbuster storm.

Gardening this week
This week I wanted to share a video that shows a very unique water garden. This particular water garden contains many different varieties of fish. While you might not have the space for something this elaborate, you can mimic some of the elements on a smaller scale.

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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