Another Headlining Winter Storm For The Nation

By Meteorologist Joe Joyce, WBZ-TV

Can you believe this? I mean seriously? Another major storm? I am just in awe of this winter pattern. It always amazes me how much it takes for everything to come together just perfectly for a big storm to even happen…and they just keep coming down the pike like a donut factory!

The amount of energy being used and released in these storms has been awesome to witness. I have been lucky enough to be out in every one of these storms monitoring the conditions. When I was hired to be the storm reporter here at WBZ, little did I know what I was signing up for! What an adventure! Well guess what? It’s that time again…time to make the donuts!

I am not going to beat around the bush too much here…as the forecast is pretty straight forward for the next few days. An upper level short wave is crossing through the region today. A mix of sun and clouds will fade to increasing clouds as the disturbance moves through. Upper level winds are helping to shear this apart with snow weakening over PA and NY. This disturbance will try to provide a little light snow shower activity and flurries south of the Pike for the mid-late afternoon into the early evening. Not expecting much more than a coating to 1″ in places especially in CT, RI and Southeast MA…if at all as most of the snow will fall apart and stay away. 

Skies will clear after midnight behind the disturbance, with lows dropping down to the teens. Morning sunshine will fade to some PM clouds Sunday as another shortwave moves through with little fan fare. This will be the Arctic front which will open the door for much colder air to spill in Sunday Night and Monday with high barometer cold from Canada. Lows will drop down to near Zero Monday AM with highs struggling to get out of the teens and Lwr 20’s Monday & Tuesday.

OK…So plenty of cold air in place to start the week. We now turn our attention to the storm of the week upon which much nashing of teeth and discussion will be had.

This is storm which is going to have a major impact across the nation as a whole with a potent mix of snow, sleet, freezing rain and even severe thunderstorms. The the Low to watch is starting to arrive along the Northern Coast of California, so it is still a long ways away and our models will start to get better information or handle on the track of this storm in the coming days…but so far there does seem to be a fairly common consensus among the models of a low tracking south of New England loaded with moisture. So at this point, it does seem like a pretty good bet for another substantial snowfall.

Once this wave comes over the Rockies, it will start to get very interesting. A very warm moist feed will be coming out of the Gulf interacting with a cold dome of air in place across the Northern States supplied by Canadian High pressure. There will be a broad baroclinic zone which will span much of the nation, with warm air over riding the cold air. Snow will be spreading North and East well out ahead of the Low coming out of the Gulf of Mexico. Heavy snow will fall from Missouri, Illinois, Northern Ohio into New York State and eventually New England.

Severe Thunderstorms will break out on the warmer side of the low in the warmer Gulf states, but in between the snow and rain will be a transition Ice/sleet line which could create just as many news making headlines as the snow. Southern Indian to the Ohio Valley to the mid-Atlantic will likely have to deal with some icing issues. Even here in New England there will be some mixing…mostly south of the Mass Pike the way it appears now…but this is all track dependent!

Snow will likely start as early as Tuesday afternoon along with a warm front. The Main Low will track from Texas through the Ohio Valley. By Wednesday morning, energy will be transferred towards the coast, where a secondary low will develop and track south of New England.  Depending upon the track of this low, a more southerly wind may try to develop at the surface to bring in some warmer air which could make for an icy mix in CT, RI, Western Valleys..with a rainy mix for the cape & islands…but where the snow rain line winds up this far out is pure speculation at this point.

What I see is a lot of cold in place, a moisture laden low coming out of the Gulf which will likely track south of New England. This has the ingredients  for another substantial snowfall across many areas of New England. Today, it looks like along and North of the Mass Pike will have the best chance for a foot or more of snow. I would not be surprised with some areas seeing 15-18″.  Of course a slight shift to the south, will bring it all down with less mixing and more snow like we saw this week. So still plenty of time to adjust, analyze and discuss all the possibilities between now and then.

The storm will be exiting, but still lingering accumulating snow  into Thursday morning. This has the potential to be a bit more of a stretched out prolonged event compared to our recent quick hitting powerful storms. This slower duration will help the snow pile up inland.

Cold arctic air will follow in behind the storm. There is Plenty of cold air left in this pattern for the next 2-3 weeks of February with a persistent trough in the Northeast and the potential for more storm development in the battle of warmth in the south and cold in the north. Instead of a blocking pattern keeping the cold in place, it is the Polar jet stream and Polar vortex in Canada which are back on the scene which will steer in pieces of energy and reinforcing cold shots into the Northeast to keep things very interesting.  A break from the relentless cold of this winter will likely have to wait until the final week or two of February. For real? For real. If this keeps up we may be heading towards record snowfall for a winter. 60.3″ at Logan and Counting.


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