Weather

Cold And Dry Through Saturday, Messy Mix Saturday Night Into Sunday

I got a text from a friend of mine this morning that said, “can you do anything about this weather???” While the answer is of course no, I do know it’s affecting many of you, myself included. Each time it snows again or it’s so cold you can’t stay outside very long; it feels like another wallop to our collective psyche.

One part of my house has a very low pitched roof which is just shy of being flat. I have been up there three times already. The snow blows off the higher part of the house and piles up to 3 or 4 feet in places on that flat roof. Even in a more typical winter, I feel need to remove snow at least once.

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The ice on the shingles continues to creep up towards the peak of the roof and of course causes worry. The guy that redid my roof several years ago put Ice and Water Shield (an amazing product by the way) all the way up to the top of the roof line. He’s often assured me, having a water issue isn’t likely. Nevertheless, I worry.

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For many of us, worry has become a more heightened emotion over the past few weeks, some it justified, some of it not. I worry about getting stuck on Route 128 a lot. I hate being stuck in traffic. Some of you now worry about complete gridlock, buses and trains that won’t arrive and the consequences of how it affects your performance at work. I worry about pulling out of driveway and driving through the suburbs with these enormous snowbanks. There are blind spots all over the place. Still, I see people texting or talking on the cell phone and driving like it’s July. I worry about someone to inadvertently hitting my car because of their lack of focus.

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I worry about the forecast. I don’t want to be wrong. This winter more and more of you have followed my work. It’s humbling and scary because I don’t want to disappoint anyone. Yes, that’s really honest, but it’s how I feel. I know sometimes I miss the forecast and will continue to get it wrong in the future, but I still strive for perfection, as elusive as it can be.

Worry or anxiety can be healthy. It can help us make good choices, check things several times, drive a bit more cautiously or call an expert and ask them about the risk of snow on our homes. It can also consume or paralyze us. Before I get to that point I try to step back and walk away from the blogging and the tweeting and allow myself to do other necessary things. I must for example, get my taxes done. I need to find time for fun things like going to the gym, walking the dogs or starting some seedlings. It’s difficult to stop looking at all the models with the weather pattern being so active.

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The Next Weather System
Once again more snow is in the forecast. This upcoming system is going to be different than those we’ve seen since late January. This time, milder air will move northward and eventually change the snow to rain, especially along the coastline.

There will be a period of snow Saturday evening with light to moderate accumulations. If you are driving tomorrow evening, plan on some slow travel. I do expect slick roads and steady snow, but not a major storm. It depends on your comfort level driving in snowy weather, which by now has probably gotten better. Along the coastline, including Boston, this could be a quick coating to an inch or maybe 2. I might lower amounts a bit depending on the afternoon data. I’ll update more on Twitter later this afternoon @growingwisdom.

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After the period of snow, the biggest question for Saturday night and Sunday is how far inland the milder air will progress. With so much snow on the ground, it will be difficult for the atmosphere to overcome the low level cold air. There will be a layer of air warmer air, over 32F, about 4000 feet high. As the snowflakes fall into this layer they will melt. This will prevent any precipitation from hitting the ground as snow.

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The image below is called a Skew-T. The reverse C shape of the temperature line (red) is an indication of warmer air above cold. As the rain reaches the ground, if the surface the drops hit is cold enough it will freeze. This creates freezing rain or glaze. While I don’t expect an ice storm late Saturday night or Sunday, there could be enough cold air left at the surface, to cause some glazing. When you get up Sunday morning it will be raining in Boston.

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Eventually, many areas will warm enough for just plain rain. There won’t be a large amount of rain, but enough for puddles and sloppy clean-up.

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It’s really critical if you don’t want to have the slush freeze into rock solid blobs, you remove it Sunday. By Monday morning it’s back to the arctic air and low wind chill.

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Another storm does threaten the area for the middle of next week, but you know I can’t give anything more definitive. There’s a lot of weather before that might happen, let’s not worry about it.

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