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.

  • WeatherWizard

    Thank you Joe. You do a great job as the storm reporter,blogger and meteorologist!

  • MaryMack

    Good lord! another 1 to 2 feet of snow north of the pike? Honey Joe you did a great job last storm and I dont see any of these bloggers giving you credit sweetie. Barry was kinda like opposite of you so you won that one. So if you are saying we get over a foot again? what are we going to do with it all Joe? I live in Wormtown Worcester and we have 28 in on my lawn now. Would we break the snow fall record for snow on the ground if we get another big amount here Joe?

    How much for Worcester Joe and how many more school cancellations will my kids get. 42 working mom who did love snow but nuff is enough! HELP!

  • James

    mary dear lol if this is all snow in worcester with at least 12 to 1 ratios ya sorry to say 2 feet more is not out of the question. read it and weep

  • metking

    Joe, good stuff once again…we’ve all had our missteps this yr but overall you have been sound. I think youve done a good job laying out the dynamics days in advance and agree with you once again on the duration of the storm. Converse to the last few, accelerators are largely absent at the differnt levels.

  • joejoycewbz

    Thanks for the support Mary Mack! Another foot of snow will not break snowfall amount records, but it will surely keep us on the pace to do so if this keeps up. I am not going to get into accumulations now…but I think you can expect over a foot of snow from this. As mentioned…moisiture loaded, plenty of cold…but still all depends on the overall track…To be determined..

    • minercat

      Joe…what are the chances of a miss on this one?

    • Margo

      What about North of Boston (like Saugus, Wakefiled, Peabody areas?).

  • Dave H

    A very entertaining and informative blog Joe, thanks. I keep thinking about how glad I am that I removed the Christmas lights from the front of the house during the mild break on New Years Weekend. If I hadn’t, they’d still be there today.

  • pinnacle06

    So Pete B throws out numbers last Sunday and gets torn up here… and now Melissa threw out numbers yesterday and Joe with even higher numbers today… do they get bashed?? ;-)

  • JimmyJames

    Great blog Joe. It would be a good idea to remove the snow from your roofs. I got a guy coming over to do just that because I don’t want to have a collapse roof to deal with and clear those fire hygrents out in case of fire.

  • WeatherWizard

    Tim Kelley/NECN just said it will be a long duration storm-starting Tu and lasting until Th; he says ice inland, rain along the coast and snow North

  • Scott

    Thanks Joe for the detailed analyze.
    5 days out, hard to say where the mixing will take place, but where it all stays snow, as you mentioned, it will pile up.
    this storm has no chance of missing us.
    the 12z EURO should be interesting, even though it has been inconsistent.

  • David White

    Good work Joe, and thanks! But do we really have to wait until late February to warm up? Actually those forecasting into the second week of February seem to be predicting a quick recovery from the clod outbreak this Friday, to temps getting to at least seasonal norms, with the snow events becoming more rain events. How can we not warm up if we have in place by sometime next week, the combo of positive NAO and AO, and negative PNA, unless those are going to be very short lived?

  • manowx

    I sense Joe loves being the bearer of bad news!

    As a former idiot president once said “bring it on”

    The joy of a colonial type winter!…in modern times

    It’s reassuring that our ghgs have not obviated snowy winters in the northeast…not yet anyway.

    • jim

      He most certainly likes to predict and hope for the worst. He did it during hurricane season and posted how disappointed he was when whatever storm it was missed us and he was on Nantucket whining that he didn’t have devastation cuz that’s what he loves.

  • manowx

    I just realized something It appears my winter outlook is a total bust. WBZ weather team deserves props for theirs

    Stop global warming now!…seriously

  • brianhackett

    Mark it down. This one will be a big rainmaker Worcester to the coast. Temps will get up into the 40s to near 50. A big rainmaker. Lots of flooding. And the pattern will change afterward. Snow to Rain fairly quickly in this one. No coastal development as it rides up through Hudson Bay.

    • NOGAPS

      Sorry brianhackett – not happening as you suggest.
      I had this same argument with the last storm by Rexryan and a couple of other bloggers. I have a pretty good track record and I only will note when someones forecast is simply in fantasyland, which is where yours is.
      Obviously you are entitled to your opinion and we welcome divergent opinions – I’m just telling you that, in my humble opinion, your absolutely wrong! : )
      I’ll be sure to mark it down though and we can compare notes later inthe week when we have added to the snow totals and perhaps some ice.

      • snowman

        brianhackett is a snowhater dont pay any attention to him…he was only off bya mile on the last storm.

  • Willy 13

    Good question David, especially with the neg PNA in which the positive phase I think has been causing all the trouble last few weeks. Now that is forecast negative so would think pattern change on the way. We’d better hope so, this winter unprecedented as in 95-96 we had periodic warmups and rain to clear the snow. If thiis continues another 2-3 weeks this area is going to be declared a disaster area, especially considering the flooding that is inevitably following. A lot different around here than in colonial times……

    • David White

      Thanks Willy: We shall see what we shall see. A gradual meltdown would be better. Also if nightime highs get above freezing, wouldn’t the snow evaporate, and not contribute to flooding? Under those conditions the maple sap runs, so farmers are putting out their sugaring tapping lines.

  • hopeimwrong

    what are you looking at? models are trending colder . no chance west of the
    cape code bridges . i say at lest a foot Boston , 15 inches north and west

    • hopeimwrong

      i meant no chance of rain west of the Cape

  • Chris

    Although most of the time, leading indicators are good to look for future pattern changes, such as a warm up/thaw, this time is just a bit different. The snow pack is just so profound this year that any airmass that would give us a significant warm up, is extremely reduced/ moderated

    • David White

      This would be especially true in January Chris, but the days are getting longer and the sun is getting higher in the sky. So more time for daytime hdeating and melting if the air mass is above freezing. Some melting today already in Cambridge as the temps are just above freezing.

      A flooding episode could happen if we still had the snowpiles in later March or early April and temperature decided to soar into the seventies or even eighties. Nudged ninety last year on April 3-4. There can be brief surges into the sixties in late February and March. The question this year, how much will the snowpack moderate such temps if the air mass was conducive to well above normal temps?

      • Chris

        I think we’ll see after this next storm. If some places have a 4 ft snowpack after this storm, I would say any warmup would be short lived. And if its not, many places are going to be in trouble. Putting all that aside..the next time is barely on the west coast…

  • leo

    I think models are a little warm now with the storm. Storm will be forced south of our area to keep most areas snow.

  • mark

    Sorry but not buying into Joe’s forecast. He is known for being a bit over the top in his forecasts and over hyping almost every event. I find that he forecasts what he wants to happen and not always what MIGHT happen. It’s a long way off for him to start predicting amounts, but that is what he is all about. Predicting the worst case scenario. Other mets are talking a storm, but not like he is. Just one reason I never liked him on NECN and refuse to watch him on WBZ. Worst of the bunch on this station.

    • RexRyan

      Mark, you have no clue what you are talking about. Joe gives the best blogs on WBZ, up there with Barry and he is very good at what he does. He is not predicting, he is giving what the potential with this storm is. He gives good insight, and what you are saying is completely offbase. If you don’t like him, why read his blog? you dont’ belong here if you are going to bash like that. what you said is so foolish and wrong, that it’s a wonder they let people like you even have your post able to be read

      • Bahstan11

        Well said.

      • mark

        And he is usually wrong. I have every right to be here and voice my opinion just as you do. Seems when someone doesn’t agree they are not wanted. Now if I said I was in 100% agreement with him, then you’d be happy. I have an opinion so get over it.

    • JOE

      Ditto to Rexryan’s reply. In addition, what your missing is the fact that he is not giving his forecast he is giving his analysis of the current storm potential. Pretty much his gut feeling as of now. As he clearly stated, it depends on the track and things can change. He did the same thing last weekend for this past weeks storm and guess what? He was pretty darn close to what happened. Honestly, it is refreshing to have a met have a ‘discussion’ with the rest of us on what he ‘thinks’ will happen 4 days from now. Just so you know, that is the point of a blog such as this and it is nice to see him turn his met cap backwards and freely discuss storm POTENTIAL on here where on tv he has to be more conservative this far out. I’D say your opinion, though you have the right to express it, is in the VAST minority.

  • joe

    Dave H; Lol, you should see my house! I plow snow so let’s just say my own house is like the cobblers shoe! Christmas lights still on. My front lawn looks like santas village got bombed with deflated inflatable santas, frosty, Rudolph etc and my walkways have a shovel wide path from my wife doing her best. Then i come home and sleep for a day, then go fix stuff that broke the last storm then do it again. I just broke my record this storm by going 58 hours without sleep. Though I did get 2 hours in my truck one night. I ain’t complaining, keep it coming Joe!Joe

  • JimmyJames

    Were going to get something midweek and the question what the precipitation type is going to be.

  • leo

    12z euro looks a bit warmer that 00z! Oh well still early in the game.

  • philip

    At this point, I really doubt there will be any significiant miixing north of Plymouth and even at that, only south of the CC Canal will there be any real mixing. Interesting that the ocean temps just will not go down…they are still at 40 degrees at Boston and most east coastal locations. Usually by now those temps should be approaching their absolute lowest (mid-30s or a bit above).

    • philip

      I also just want to say that late last night there was very light snow falling at the same time stars were very visible.

  • Scott

    the 12z EURO looks so messed up i dont know how to comprehend it.

  • joe joyce

    You are soooo right Mark…I am way off base with this one. You have me pegged…always looking for the worst case and hype. lol.

    Never am I simply looking at what I see I trying to give the best forecast that I think may happen right? Well, considering this is a blog for weather discussion, I feel pretty good about what I have said and I stand by it. Take it for what it is…an early analysis.

    Mark, it is fine if you do not like me and my forecasting. It saddens me, but also inspires me to work harder at what I do to hopefully one day change your mind at least a little. I may have lost you as a viewer, but hopefully through more hard work I will gain many more viewers than the few I may have lost along the way. This storm will have the juice and like all the rest should deliver like all the rest have…at least where it remains all snow which should be a large portion of the viewing area. I know…more hype. I just can’t stop. My apologies. All the best.

    • RexRyan

      Joe, don’t even give this guy Mark energy. You are clearly a great forecaster, and seriously one of my favorites to listen to. You give an indepth forecast which is great for us weather enthusiasts. Keep doing what your doing, and ignore the people that like to create a stir for the sake of it. Keep up the great blogs and TV forecasts. You, Matt Noyes, and harvey are my 3 favorites in Boston. I like most of the boston meteo’s, but you 3 i put the most stock in what you say….Of course barry is up there as well

    • mark

      At least you agree…lol

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