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Mild evening, but the midweek snowstorm is still likely

Posted by David Epstein  February 2, 2014 02:43 PM

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Walking this morning I ended up taking off my hat and gloves it was so mild. Having these mild winter days, in the middle of a cold and snowy winter, is such a treat.
January finished on the cold side, at 1.6 degrees below the 30 year normal. When you see this statistic it means the following: If you too all the Januarys from 1981 until 2010 and calculated the average temperature, January 2014, would have been 1.6 degrees below the average.

Let’s dig a little deeper into temperature last month. If you look at each, you would see no day was average and many days were 10 to 15 degrees above or below that 30 years average.
Jan.jpg

This is winter in New England; we have wild fluctuations of cold and warmth and snowy and no so snowy periods. With just over 21 inches of snow last month, we have seen close to 3 feet of snow in the Boston area this winter. Over the next 10 days, that number is likely to increase significantly.

Monday snow
So here we are on day two of the shortest month of the year. There will be a quick moving storm passing south of New England overnight and during the first part of Monday. Latest model indications are moving the precipitation a bit further north, this means accumulating snow should reach Boston tomorrow. While I am still not looking for a big storm, a plowable storm is more likely for Cape Cod with a coating to 2 inches north Plymouth, MA. The evening commute will be impacted somewhat due to the snow.

Temperatures this afternoon are heading for the 40s, but that’s it for a while. The pattern for the next 10 days turns colder and potentially stormier. I have been writing about the potential storm for Wednesday since earlier last week and this still looks on track. One of the reasons for my higher than average confidence in the formation of storm, was the agreement between models on how the atmosphere would behave this Wednesday.

Of course the specific details of rain/snow lines and amounts are still in question. We are looking at 6 inch possibilities or more for snowfall, with the greatest opportunities for those amounts as you move north of Plymouth, Providence, Rhode Island and New Haven Connecticut.

The next 7 to 10 days looks to be cold and snowy across much of the east. While no one can say how much snow is going to fall, I feel confident in a forecast of above normal snowfall and below normal temperatures for the area from the Midwest to Maine during this period. Of course, the specifics matter, so keep coming back often for any updates.
Of course, many of you know I also update on Twitter.


Other ways forecasters try to predict the weather is by using something called “ensemble forecasting”. By now most of you know we use models to make predictions. Ensemble forecasting takes the models and changes the initial condition to see if the forecast changes very much. It’s kind of like predicting how good a team will be if they trade this person or recruit that player. Below are two images predicting the flow in the atmosphere around 18,000 feet high. The first image show how the ensembles believe the atmosphere will turn out over the next 5 days. The second image shows how the ensembles are forecasting the atmosphere to behave the last couple of days of February and the first few in March.

The first image, the 4 ensembles (predictions) agree very closely. We would expect this because they only have to predict a few days out. The second image shows wild differences, I would also expect this, because it’s a month away and much harder to get the forecast correct. Next, a meteorologist will watch trends, look for places the ensembles agree, and see which ones tend to be better than others to forecast cold versus warm, wet versus dry in the long range.
ensemble 1.png

This is the prediction for early March

ensemble 2.jpg
The next 24 hours is critical to determine how much snow Boston is going to see Wednesday. I think there is a high likelihood of travel delays and cancellations Wednesday across much of the area. I will have much more Monday and Tuesday on the upcoming storm(s). Enjoy your Sunday.

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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