One Two Punch Today…Is There a Knockout?

By Meteorologist Joe Joyce, WBZ-TV

We’ve been painstakingly tracking this Norlun trough for days now it seems and it is finally moving through this morning. What a night is SW Connecticut I-95, I-84, the Merritt parkway at a standstill during the evening rush as 12-16″ of snow fell from Bridgeport to New Haven! Hundreds of motorists stranded and delayed.  At times snow falling at 2-3″ an hour…while in New York City…only a few inches in the Park. The extremes of  the haves and the have nots of Norlun trough on full display last night.

It has been hard to communicate this forecast. I know a lot of people were waking up wondering where is the snow? The shift came midday yesterday when we realized we were not dealing with two troughs…but actually one trough and a deepening ocean storm off the coast. This changed the timing and placement of everything…if you have not been closely paying attention to the weather…you may be wondering what is going on? 

Round one( the Norlun Trough) is moving through Metrowest in a weakened state this morning. It is still providing moderate bursts of snowfall, reducing visibility down to mile at times…and enough for a general coating to 1″ of snow. Roads are mostly wet on main well treated roads…but a slushy accumulation is gathering in spots. Also cold temps are stuck in the 20’s. Any sort of light snow or moisture is freezing making for areas of black ice on any untreated roadways. Use caution this morning! This band of snow will continue to push north through Boston then up into Essex county to Cape Ann…where the band will weaken and fizzle as it loses it’s upper level support and lift. Still scattered snow showers and flurries will resume…especially north of the pike into the afternoon. There may even be a few breaks of sun! The Cape is sitting pretty in the sunshine. Drier air will try to penetrate inland during an afternoon lull…temps climb to near 40 in spots.

The trough may weaken…but it is going nowhere. In fact it will play a role in tonight’s weather. We turn our attention to round 2 coming out of the mid-atlantic. There is a huge upper low (cool pool of air aloft) sitting back towards Pennsylvania. This is steering more energy off the coast today which will turn into a deepening storm south of New England tonight. It will approach the benchmark and then quickly accelerate east  by sunrise tomorrow.

I expect the snow to fill in quickly tonight and become heavier later tonight through the overnight hours tomorrow. The heaviest snow will be south of Boston. Judging by the track of the 850mb low the heaviest snow should track across Southeast MA. This is where the National Weather service has issued a winter weather advisory.  The Energy off the coast will help to re-ignite the Norlun trough which will be stalled over southern New England…this could help to enhance surface convergence and produce some banding of snowfall right at the coast. Still even at this point of the forecast…we will still have to keep a close eye on the track of the low…just a few miles to the east or west could have major impacts on overall  snow totals. The best chance of substantial snow will be from New Bedford to Plymouth to the Cape and the Islands. The Cape and Islands could exceed over 6″ in spots…The Vineyard, Nantucket, Buzzards Bay and Outer Cape have the best chance. Boston snowfall will be lighter a general 2-3″, with amounts dropping off North and west to a coating-2″…Some areas will get zilch.

The Upper low will slide south of New England and drag in cooler drier air behind it with gusty NW winds for Sunday which will feature a thinning cloud cover and partly sunny skies with temps in the Lwr mid-30’s. Fair weather to start the week…..

So this quick one-two…nothing we can not handle…But is there a knockout waiting in the wings? I can tell you the atmosphere is loaded! Energy will continue to spill in from the Northwest US to reinforce a trough in the Northeast. The sub tropical jet will continue to steer in moisture from the Pacific and the Gulf. If this will all come together remains the big question.

Our next chance comes Tuesday night and Wednesday. This will be a quick moving storm…but have a more “classic” winter look. A low will come out of the Gulf and track up the east coast. Energy from the Northern stream will link up with this moisture and form a deepening storm south of New England. This should become a Nor’easter for us will the potential for significant snow accumulation…but we wait on that for now. Most guidance is calling for this storm to hit…but all vary on the track and amount of snow possible. This has the potential to be a major storm from the Mid-Atlantic to New England. Something to watch in the coming days.

The cold from NW Canada will continue the press into the Continental US…so by the time we get to the 20th…we could be in the heart of the coldest air we will likely see this winter.

  • BaileyMan

    Good Morning all! I trust you are all well and survived the blizzard like conditions last night and this am? just kidding of course. Anyway, lets all just relax and remember this is just a weather blog where we all should have some fun reading, hoping and observing the varied progs from mets and fellow bloggers. No person will ever be 100 percent predicting future weather scenerios but, its fun trying to anway! Also, if anyone took me too seriously in stating that prior to this last snow event i was on a winning streak?! oh well? im sorry …but i was doing it tongue and cheek and just having fun fantazing about being 4 for 4 because in the end, i knew it was not going to continue!!!! lol <<< and that is a FACT! Having said that, i do have some faith that my experience, and degree with the enigmatic forces of meteorology and forecasting would put me over the 50/50 mark …and in fact closer to over 75% maybe?! lol Most important lets all remember..this is just a blog for free thought so YES even the haters have a RIGHT to attack us for being wrong!! as long as they are not too offensive and personal i guess?! ..more in a few..on the next to snow threats..! later..

  • manowx

    global warming is still with us

  • manowx

    20s for highs big deal!

  • Joshua Alexander

    Snowing at a good clip now in Southern Amherst, just west of Nashua….

    1/2 ” on the ground with moderate snows and 3/4 mile visibility…

  • Scott

    thanks joe for the detailed update, it will be interesting to see where that trough will stall, becuase it could get going again once the new moisture comes in, causing unexpected snowfall for areas, say northeastern mass?
    lets see what the 12z GFS says.

  • leo

    12z gfs and12z nam areboth better than their previos runs. Southcoast of mass gets alot of snow

  • leo

    Boston does a little better also!

  • Joshua Alexander

    Heavy Snow now in Southern NH, with 1/2 mile visibility….

  • Hadi

    Bailyman you might not to be far off on totals down near the cape and south shore:)). Who knows some areas closervto Boston might a get a surprise.

    Joe great update as always, but don’t put a chance of a major storm you might get heat for it:)) jk.

  • Weatherman1212

    I live on Cape Cod, how much snow will I get by tomorrow afternoon?

  • BaileyMan

    Hey Joe! always great to hear from you and i agree with just about everything you just wrote! In fact, i bet the national weather office will issue a winter storm watch and/or warning for southeast mass and cape and islands for tonight! And yes if? im wrong the blog critics can consider me fair game?! lol but i think i will be Right!! over 6 in is possible in far southeast areas of mass tonight! as for 495 south and east to about Taunton 2 to close to 5 inches is my call outside worcester north and west a coating to 2 inch max! we shall see??
    As for tuesday night and Wednesday looks more and more like this one will not be as tough a forecast!! In fact, i agree with you joe that it has all the makings of a Classic Major Nor’Easter!! with even the rain/snow line flirting with the cape and heavy snow north and west of their especially 128 north and west with greater snow to rain ratios! Absent a STRONG high pressure to the north it looks fairly progressive so the entire event should be in the ball park of 18 to 24 hours max! But, alot of precip may be squeezed out of it so wouldnt be surprised if MANY areas get over a foot from that storm!! After that, cold and windy is the word!! so snow sticks around for a bit..but see a brief Jan thaw possible sometime after the 19th!? that can change..just a thought. So im making a gutsy call but, …i think the next storm tues night and wednesday is about as certain as any snow threat this year! and i expect the models to be more consistent with calling that one! Also, Joe? YOU are quickly proving to be one of the best technically proficient mets around! And you seem like a pretty ok guy too! just saying! have a great day all! and if im wrong about any of this bloggers?? IM FAIR GAME!! LOL peace

  • leo

    NWS notes that latest NAM is a bit more robust with low level inflow and qpf amouts.Snowfall amts might have to be adjusted up if trends continue.

  • Scott

    still snowing moderately on the northshore, a little more than a half inch

  • philip

    One of the newscasters on the CBS Early Show this morning mentioned the “B” word for us next week. We will see.

  • Hadi

    I guess we have to see where the banding will set up tonight that could cause havoc with snow totals.

  • leo

    Should be a fun night! Im 30 miles SSE of Boston so I should see some pretty good snows for a while tonight!

  • Scott

    seems the GFS is having a hard time with the next storm, the 12z run was was awful

  • Jay_Jay

    Please, please, please return the local doppler WBZ radar from Worcester to the website; as well as the local weather station Weatherbug sites.

    Thank you.

  • BaileyMan

    By the way, just a point of thought based on analysis ..the noon GFS is way off !! its intitialization seems in error based on current synoptic and upper air real time dynamics and placement! so although it looks discouraging for snow! throw it out at the moment! i think its close to least that run!

    • Scott

      yea i threw it out aswell, lets see what the other 12z runs say.

  • Mazza
  • Scott

    hmm, seems like the band on the northshore is not making much progress north :)

    • Topkatt88

      It’s weakening. When it came through here it produced only about 0.1 inch of snow.

  • BaileyMan

    Case in point about the 12z GFS run being wrong?!!! look at current gfs at 0 hours intial placement of surface then look at this actual real time synoptic analysis! low tucked closer to shore so trajectory and path of low is not correct even with tonights low nevermind tomorrow! lol out for day..later..

  • Topkatt88

    Yeah the remains of the Norlun were FIERCE! I think my visibility dropped all the way down to … TWO MILES in light snow! ;-)

    I completely blew it on part 1 of this 2-part event. Sorry. :-) At least I was only off by an inch since the lower limit of my range for the first part of it was 1 inch. Small consolation. :-)

  • smack

    I was thinking about this time of the year when temps are usually the coldest and wondering where all the arctic air has been so far. Is it locked way up in Canada? I don’t think even the midwest has been that cold so far. Anyone have an answer? Despite the lack of cold air we are still managing to get snowfall. OK by me, I don’t need the high fuel bills!

  • Old Salty

    Take a look at this satellite lloop. Appear toe m that i may track closer to cast. Am I all wet?

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