Say Uncle! Dangerous Cold to Major Winter Storm…

By Meteorologist Joe Joyce, WBZ-TV

No Way! Things are just starting to get interesting aren’t they?! Exciting times to be a lover of weather. I feel sorry for those who feel the need to complain about the weather all the time…instead of enjoying the beauty of it all..good and bad. 

Seriously…some people need to pick a season to complain about. Complaining about the weather all year any time it is not perfect is  just ridiculous!  Do you know people like this? I guess that is what makes some people different. I am usually pretty laid back with weather. I love it all. But after a 24 hour shift of forecasting and reporting in the weather, then to have to go dig out my car, then my driveway…well…Let me tell you what…Sometime I reaaaaally hate winter! 

I have lived in Syracuse, NY,  Bangor,ME and Boston, MA for my adult life. I have seen my share of snowfall and cold to last me a lifetime. I have earned my stripes to where I feel entitled to curse the season. I love skiing, sledding, forecasting Nor’easters…but winter is just the pits. Maybe because snow has just become work to me now.  When I hear people romanticizing snow in the fall…I cringe. The season is too damn long! Despite all this, I still love the extremes this winter is bringing and this pattern is ready to deliver again! 

I do not really have too much more to offer from what has already been said on these boards. We know it is going to be really cold, then we know a major storm is moving through during the midweek. Ptype and track still remain in question, but it is safe to say where this does remain all snow there is the potential for over a foot of snow easily. Let’s go over the details again shall we?

Arctic air is on the move today. The Arctic front currently in Northern New England will push off the coast this afternoon. Ocean effect snowshowers for the Outer Cape could provide some minor accumulations…D-2″. Significant cold air will settle into the region overnight with clear skies and diminishing wind. Lows drop to 0 at the coast to -20 to -25 in NW sheltered valleys. Many suburbs outside Boston drop down to -5 to -15 by dawn tomorrow. A wind chill watch is up through tomorrow morning for these NW valleys where the slightest breeze could make these temps feel -25 to -35 below zero.  This becomes a dangerous cold if  you are exposed to it for too long. Important to bring your pets in and limit outdoor exposure for too long Monday.

The record in Boston Monday is -13 set in 1882. We will not break that, but we will come close in Worcester early tomorrow. The record is -14 (1948). I expect lows around -11 to -13  at the airport. Monday will be a frigid day with Arctic sunshine and highs in the single digits with teens south of Boston and towards the coast.

Now where the Arctic high goes after it is through with us will be key in determining how our next storm is going to pan out. The classic winter storm set up is a High to the North over eastern Canada where it continues to feed cold into a deepening Low south of New England. I do not see that “classic” set up occurring which is one of the few reasons which leads me to believe there will precipitation type issues with this storm.

As we know this storm is coming out of the Gulf. It will be loaded with energy and moisture. There will be plenty of cold air ahead of the storm. That a lone is reason to be concerned.

A track along or just inland off the coast would bring rain over the eastern Carolinas and even a wintry mix/rain into the I-95 corridor of the mid-Atlantic. This track would dump heavy snow, on the order of 1 to 2 feet, over the Appalachians, Catskills, Berkshires, Southern Greens, New Hampshire into Maine. Snowfall rates would be intense with perhaps 1 to 2+ inches per hour. A track just off the coast would bring the heaviest snow to the I-95 cities all the way to the coast. The US GFS has this eastern outlier….and is likely too far east with it’s track as the foreign models are trending further west…I favor these solutions for now. ..still several days away to fine tune. The stakes are high as usual.

With the high pushing off the coast and heading towards Georges Bank and Newfoundland…this is not the best setup for heavy snow in Southern New England. Also the NAO has gone slightly positive and that is more favorable for more western tracks and mixed events as well. Make no mistake about it, this storm will be powerful and may even reach near blizzard conditions again for some inland areas, NW of Boston. A period of strong onshore winds could lead to some minor coastal flooding too.

The storm has the potential to slow or shut down some major highways for a time and ground flights to create delays at most of the major this storm could have a major impact from the Mid-Atlantic to New England. I still think this low will hug the coast and track into southern New England…likely over Block Island and Buzzards Bay. The Heaviest snow will likely be found outside NW of the 1-95 corridor. I think Cape Cod will see the least snow, with a Mix of snow/sleet inland south with rain at the coast to snow again as the storm departs. Hard to say how much snow Boston, Providence to Worcester will get because of mixing concerns.. I feel good about the dumping where it remains all snow. Time will tell.

Lingering snow is possible into Thursday morning if the storm deepens or slows down any further.  I hope I have made my thoughts clear…plenty of time to adjust and adapt thinking as the energy is just entering North America…currently sitting over British Columbia. Our models will now start to get a better handle on this now that it is over land. Extreme!  Did I say I love winter? It’s a love hate relationship.

  • Scott

    Joe, there will be a new area of high pressure moving over the great lakes, wouldn’t that force the storm offshore, while keeping the cold in place.

    • RexRyan

      Scott, there is no new area of high pressure to supply cold….the HP moves off shore allowing this storm to wrap plenty of warm air in, even if it crosses the Benchmark…….

      • alisonarod

        RexRyan. You are misunderstanding the placement of the low. Joe Joyce believes that the low will be an “inside runner” due to the placement of the high. Thus, this is why he feels more rain gets involved. Unlike you, he does not feel this will be a benchmark storm. Had the thought this low would be a benchmark storm, he would not be concerned about rain the way you do. Trust me, if this low travels over the benchmark in January, it will be mostly if not all snow. So you may be correct that rain gets involved but not because the storm goes over the benchmark, but rather due to the eastward placement of the high thus steering the storm through southern new england!

      • feldman

        I don’t believe anything joe joyce predicts. he is by far the worst at bz.

  • retrac


    Sticking to my guns of past couple days that Joe brings up. The location of that high is a big problem for people inside of 495. Hope I’m wrong.

    • Scott

      I’m not talking about the high moving out. I am not sure how that will play out, but with that high across the great lakes, would favor an offshore track.

      • Spaniel

        Scott a high moving east and one to the west in the GL will bring the strom riight up the coast into SNE. Start getting ready for the snow piles to shring esp east n se of Worcester.

  • philip

    Thanks for your thoughts Joe…what about the fact besides the very cold air slowly departing IN ADDITION TO the deep snow cover currently over SNE could shift the track more eastward?

    The 40+ degree ocean temp is not our friend either.

  • RexRyan

    Joe, I am in complete agreement for the most part……I think the big snows will be 50 or so miles north and west of boston……..

    • alisonarod

      see my comment above

    • Joshua Alexander

      Looks like Southern NH is in the sweet spot…

  • retrac

    if the easterly wind weren’t progged to be so strong, I’d say the storm might make it’s own cold air. I did notice on the latest NAM run 84 that the fetch was more easterly with a touch, just a touch of NE versus last nights awful run showing almost E/SE in advance of the storm.

    I should be okay out here in worcester area but anyone within 25-30 miles of the coast is going to see a real cruddy storm.

    and if it tracks east, it might be colder but much lower qpf

  • Uncover

    Thanks, Joe. Any bets happening in the wbz weather office between you and Barry, as you seem to have differing opinions, which is totally reasonable given the uncertainty. Where does Todd fall on this one?

  • Snowy

    This storm tracking will def be fun to watch as the new models are run!!
    Great post JJ–as always!!

  • RexRyan

    alisonarod, I disagree with your take……this storm as I have said will be a benchmark storm……but this storm is brining too much warm air with it……You heard in Joe’s analysis, this set-up favors a mix. I know he mentions a track inside the BM, but my opinion is a track over the BM still brings warm air……this storm is not a compact low, but a sprawling area that is flooded with warm air……again, my opinion, and you have yours…….we will see the outcome, but I feel very good about my analysis of the models…..usually a BM storm means all snow, but no hear…… curious if Joe Joyce would weigh in on this…..

    • alisonarod

      We shall see. Yet, I don’t recall many BM storms that caused rain to penetrate as far west as Worcester as you seem to be thinking. Joe Joyce does not mention a BM storm. He mentions an inside runner thus his analysis makes more sense. I, however, agree with you that it will be a BM storm unlike what Joe thinks. But, a BM storm means much more snow than rain for Boston. Time will tell.

  • coastal

    So what are the model tracks? Benchmark or inland? nam, gfs erou?

  • Scott

    Joe Joyce, Good morning! I have a question to you and everyone? Since BM has been right about virtually every storm this season do you think it is possible that he will once again be right? Just asking because I also respect you joe as well as Barry on any storm threat. Thank you I am also in the BM camp in thinking this storm will be so massive it will draw down its own cold air. What you say?
    here is a post by BM someone said I should copy and paste so i did………..


    Hey morning all
    Well just looked at model runs and see that nogaps and gfs last runs are ots. However, the ggem, ukmet and Euro say benchmark or nantucket track! So I guess it is indeed pick your sides this am too! But its fun is it not? Read the “national weather service” discussion< and yes I still refer to them that way. And loved their analysis it pretty much perfectly outlines my less technical synopsis of how I see this storm tracking and evolving the next several days. Feeling it will become stacked south of SNE too! The Euro has been very consistent wavering just a tad in its track as I stated yesterday representing the middle road solution. Note yesterday I said the western track progs with the warm model solutions would start to shift east. And they have in line with the Euro this morning! I also said, that the gfs and nogaps eastern runs would or ots solution would shift west more in line with the Euro. Started to see hints of that yesterday with the Gfs but its back off shore! so is nogaps. I still think by tomorrow these runs too might shift shift west again! We shall see on that. But im sticking to my guns and calling for a MAJOR STORM here Wed/Thur with alot of snow mix rain parts of cape and Wind!! Going against my favorite and the best TV met as well as Topkatt88 (Barry B& Topkatt88) Ah? now that is a tough combination of minds to go against!!! Normally I would not consider it . But in this case I am going to go with my inclination that this storm has the makings of being a Big One for us! Is my Record in jeapardy now? Perhaps? But I am of course betting against all the while realizing the future is never a certainty rather, usually the outcome of past and current trends taking place each moment in time. Now isn't that PROFOUND?!! Clearly we ALL CANT BE RIGHT! So if I prove wrong? So be it and congratulations to the other train of thought!! Good Morning stay safe and warm! later all!

    January 23, 2011 at 7:17 am | Reply | Report comment

  • retrac


    I agree R.R. I smelled a rat when I read last nights comments from NWS about rising heights ahead of the storm. That is not the language you want to hear.

  • joejoycewbz

    At this point, all options and minds must remain open to all possibilities. Everything remains on the table. I am just telling you my current thoughts on how I think this will pan out from what I see TODAY. Tomorrow or Tuesday may be a different story all together. I feel good about where I stand and how this is going to go. Despite the sloppy mixing issues…495 South and East….This is should be a nasty storm and will wallop areas which remain all snow.

    • retrac


      do you see more of a defined rain/snow line versus freezing rain area?

  • metking

    Im with joe here, that high to the north keeps trending east which is part of the reason this looks mighty sloppy inside 95 atleast. Any westward jog in the euro and I think you’ll see greater clarity as to what I mean

  • retrac


    I’m a B.M. fan. I’m feeling good about snow for me and B.M. out here in worcester. My commentary is for you guys near the shore and inside 495. I think you’re in marblehead right?

  • Topkatt88

    I skipped reading the previous blog for the most part because there was so much bickering there it resembled an orchestra of scorched cats!

    I’d like to site the discussion between RexRyan and alisonarod here this morning as a PERFECT example of how we can disagree on this blog and still be CIVIL! I hope more people an act this way. Thanks guys!

    I’ll be looking over stuff and commenting about the upcoming storm in a while. Have a great day everyone. :-)

  • alisonarod

    Agree metking. The eastward placement of the high steers these types of storms inside the benchmark which would then make Rex’s theory correct, but only if it travels inside 40/70.

  • Janmar

    Joe- my sentiments exactly about the love/hate relationship with the snow. Pretty to look at and anticipate……. but I am sooooo done with shoveling it :>))

  • joejoycewbz

    It’s a brand new day! Ding Ding..Let’s get ready to rumble!!!!
    Just kidding. I know… It’s only the weather… but I like it!

    • Topkatt88

      I’m concerned about the ability of the northern and southern streams to phase properly on this one.

  • joejoycewbz

    “Oh…but the snow is so pretty isn’t it?”
    – My wife…who has never picked up a shovel in her life!

    • shotime


  • MaryMack

    Joe what about out here in central ma? And after reading Baileymans blog not sure if he even said where he thought the snow vs rain line would set up? did he? could someone answer me? But at least joe joyce? what about central ma? snow or mix? love to hear an update from baileyman or topkatt

    • shotime

      Mary, this is what Baileyman said in his earlier post regarding snow/rain/mix…”But im sticking to my guns and calling for a MAJOR STORM here Wed/Thur with alot of snow mix rain parts of cape and Wind!!”

  • Hadi

    Great discussion today. Like Joe said that’s what he’s thinking now but it could be a different story come Tuesday.

    Topkatt great point!!

  • Martzstks007

    joe do you think people are to much in love with that BM guy? does that bm guy even know what the heck he is saying joe joyce?

    • Hadi

      He does know what he’s talking about. He just does it in a fun way.

  • retrac


    I think we’re going to be okay here in central mass. Maybe some sleet pellets at height. If the storm goes over the canal or even closer, all bets are off.

  • Steve-O

    Regardless of the outcome…i guess expecting a warmer solution at this time is a wise move…especially if you’re a snow-lover. Otherwise, you could be setting yourself up for a big disappointment. In any case, i am looking forward to the 12z run of the GFS which is running now.

  • Hadi

    12Z gfs is running. Will be interesting to see if we have a westward shift or does it stay it’s course.

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