Staying the Course…Waiting for the Curve

By Meteorologist Joe Joyce, WBZ-TV

Whew! This storm has been a real nail biter considering the overall impact it is going to have. We know the story with last night’s run of of the NAM which trended further west and continues to provide heavy amounts of precip in it’s latest run. The lesson we have learned is how futile it is to try forecast snow accumulations and snow rain lines outside of 48 hours…and the importance of not jumping onto every model run. It will drive you nuts!  

Unfortunately, the media beast demands to be fed…and that may cause us as TV meteorologists to stick our necks further out than we might otherwise like to do. Here we are within 24 hours and there are still questions on what is exactly going to happen…Granted, Some storms can have more consistency and model agreement which can allow for a fairly accurate estimate more than 48 hours our..but that is the exception. This time around it is just a matter of being patient, watching the block and upper level winds, and simply letting time run it’s course with the approaching storm. Well, time is up…and we need to start nailing this down. There will be an element of play by play from here on out.

The thing that is catching my eye this morning, is the band of rain and snow south of Long Island this morning. Dry air in the low levels continues to eat away at this precipitation field as it approaches the south coast. A lot of this is Virga. It is hitting a wall of dry air with dewpoints in the teens. This will take much of the day, but by mid afternoon we could start to see a few light showers reaching the south coast with temps near 40.

Clouds are quickly filling in today with skies becoming cloudy. These clouds will thicken and lower into the evening hours. N0rthern New England is looking at a nice day with increasing afternoon cloudiness. Besides the western leaning NAM…most computer guidance including the 12Z GFS continue to take this storm far enough off the coast to just graze southeastern MA tonight into tomorrow..especially the Cape and the Islands.

The east coast trough will start to deepen as another short wave spills into to it today, helping to form an upper low south of New England. This will cause the low off our coast to rapidly start to deepen..but just too far away from us….keeping the heaviest precipitation and lift offshore. Still, it is the NW fringe of this storm which will clip Southeast MA tonight…possibly helped out with some ocean effect snow.

A few flurries have been flying at the coast already this morning. This morning I called for a dusting from Providence to Boston, D-1″ ..Plymouth to Newport, and 1-4″ for the Cape & Islands.  The 4″ is only if ocean effect banding sets up. It is important to note…The boundary layer will start out warm initially for showers on the Cape but will eventually transition to snow overnight once winds shift to the NNW. I feel OK about those numbers…but feel Plymouth county could see up to 2+” if any banding sets up between the cold and the warm boundary which could put heavier snow near the Bourne Bridge. But So far the  QPF’s have been heavier on the outer Cape. Once we change back to snow…accums should start to add up a bit more on the Cape by Monday. So I am Sticking with it…but if rain hold on a bit longer the numbers may be too high.

As the jetstream begins to turn negative, This low will then turn back towards Nova Scotia and start to wrap around warm air in from the Maritimes and form a convective band of snow showers which will back into Northern New England then shift south. The timing of this band has been a bit up in the air…but it appears Tuesday Afternoon into Wednesday we could see a period of light accumulating snow push through..with nothing more than and D-2″ at the most.  Once again..mainly just snow showers enough to accumulate on the grass but not affect travel. 

Cold dry air to follow for the end of the week. Will be eyeing a major storm which is currently slamming California with inches of rain and feet of snow in the Sierra Nevadas. This will take the entire week to move across the nation. This storm will deposit heavy snows on the northern side of it’s track and create delays for midwestern airports in the days before Christmas.

This will be a major storm which will likely track south of New England Late on Christmas day into the day after with the potential for heavy snow and wind. Where have we heard that before? No, but really! We may have a shot with this one! ;) lol.  So before the week is through…we just may have a white Christmas yet!

  • Scott

    any chance in the NAM’s QPF actually verifying?
    hopefully the 12z EURO shows a storm on the benchmark for next weekend

    • Topkatt88

      No chance on the NAM’s QPF.
      Convective feedback.

  • Ron

    How in the world are we going to have a white xmas with what you just said joe? next weeks storm is the day after x mas. not sure you know what your talking about

    • Longshot

      Ron, I asked the same question of Topkatt on the previous blog. If you’re interested, Topkatt’s response was posted at 10:54 am.

  • southshoretom

    think radar in Taunton is set in sensitive mode. looks threatening here by the ocean. May start to spit sprinkles or flurries soon.

  • Uncover

    Let’s settle down with the rude comments, Ron. Your question was reasonable – no need for the last sentence.

  • joejoycewbz

    Actually Ron…I know fully what I am talking about. A chance of light snow during the midweek and a major storm for Christmas night and the day after..
    If snow falls of Christmas night…doesn’t that make it a white Christmas?
    What happens if the storm speeds up by just a few hours?? The timing is certainly not nailed down this far out. The chance is there. I am not saying it is going to happen.

    • carrie

      Joe-pay no attention to the negative comments-you have been in the business a good number of years and always do the best-keep up the great work,professionalism and great smile-just passed the second year anniversary of the ice storm-kinda glad no big storm hit this week-very lateChristmas night would be ok-I really think Mother Nature is giving us a gift this winter-just easy cruising thru winter-no blockbusters-Joe-one of the best in the business-

  • RMB

    If we do and a BIG DO HERE get this storm, i hope it is delayed late Christmas night or early Sun AM, that would not be fun driving in this, lets hope that later in the week they move the timing back on this!!! I am all for Snow, but not on a day when millions are trying to get around, i hope we get hit just hold off until late at night!!!!!!!!!

  • snowyman

    Joe is one of the best met’s to listen too and read about….

  • JimmyJames

    It would be nice to have a white Christmas but if it holds off to Christmas night or the day after that would be alright since people will be able to get to their destinations with no problems.

  • Mazza

    Joe what do you think our chances are from this storm nailing? Us because the 12z GFS and the 0z EURO have it hugging the coast.

  • southshoretom

    on the CPC NAO outlook, I notice that the forecast is for the NAO to slightly oscillate between negative and neutral over the next two weeks. If the oscillation towards neutral could happen next weekend, I wonder if that could help give that storm a chance to track a bit further north.

  • Ann

    Joe how much snow are you thinking for christmas day? i know your calling for a big one

  • JimmyJames

    Ann it ways to early to give amounts right now since we are still several days away from this POTENTIAL Storm. Come late Wednesday or early Thursday if there is still wintry weather in the forecast I will issue impacts from the snow index.

  • Ann

    joe can you give more details? xmas day or night? that would be cool

  • Mazza

    Ann parts of California got as much as 17-32 inches if this storm hits us the snow totals could be high up there

    • Topkatt88

      Snow totals in the mountains of California are not related to what could happen here.

  • BaileyMan

    Joe pay no mind to that rude comment you are a fine met and give great descriptive explanations of possible meteorological occurances and you are are getting better and better as a forecaster! i have taken note! anyway as for next weekend i hope we get nailed by that storm!!! but its waaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyy to early besides do we want to jinxx it now!!! lol also, i still think this storm IS GOING TO SURPRISE ALL! granted at the moment i look foolish by saying this but in the end? i trust i will be well thought of as a met myself! just wait and see…

  • Ann

    i need to dive from stoneham to ludlow and i want to know if travel might be impacted

  • BaileyMan

    i mean this first storm will give most of us a white christmas! it will surprise!

  • JimmyJames

    Ann I would say right now and this will change a lot so stay tuned to future forecasts throughout the week but the timeframe should we see any impact from that storm would be late day Christmas Day into the day on Sunday.

  • Ann

    i know mets leave at 1230pm ,is joe still there? who is working later?

  • lovinit

    are you guys saying that big plume of moisture south of us is going to miss us? How is that? Its coming straight at s

    • Topkatt88

      Did you see my reply earlier? By the time that gets up here, most of it will have dried up and the rest would not be reaching the ground.

  • Longshot

    JJ, you used the word POTENTIAL and not POSSIBLE. I like it.

  • dedubew

    Some might call the NAM model the gloomy gus or even romantic model to bring more snow in. But there have been times where it has verified with heavier snow than what the other models projected right up to the last minute. The NAM proved right and the other models proved wrong. Yet this time it sounds like the NAM doesn’t have too much of a chance of being right.

    • Topkatt88

      The NAM is great in the short range when it’s not suffering convective feedback, as it is this time.

  • RMB

    Hey Ron do you have any clue??? Answer that question before you go on you RANT..

  • Mark

    jim cantore saying hold your breath boston its coming

    • sse

      for next weeks storm or tonight?

    • Topkatt88

      Seems like I’ve been using this phrase too much this week but… With all due respect, this time to Jim, Boston doesn’t need to do any breath-holding on this one.

  • JimmyJames

    Thanks Longshot and you will hear me say POTENTIAL a lot when talking about a wintry threat several days. Out another thing I will be saying is TIME FRAME OF INTEREST when talking about when a storm might happen.

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