trough Hope & Change

We sit sit here today in awe watching a storm delivering snow to Texas and Arkansas and eventually to the Carolinas.  Most importantly, it is is the first storm to stay south and miss New England since December! At one point,  it seemed virtually every storm took a track that brought snow and moisture from the south  into much of the Northeast. But lately there has been slight changes in the track, just enough to create rain at times, and now cold dry high pressure in conjunction with a strong northern jetstream is helping to direct a storm south of us finally!

It has actually become kind of some of our delights! Seriously, we were starting to reach a tipping point. Horrible to hear of the roof collapses. Peoples homes were starting to leak. It was getting to be too much. Mercifully, nature has put on the brakes just in time and this is just what we needed to avoid any big problems…a long spell of quiet storm free weather.

 Our extreme snowy weather pattern happened because a big upper level block was in place over northeastern Canada, which helped to turn the surface lows up the coast,  causing the upper level lows to strengthen,  resulting in numerous significant snowfalls in a very short amount of time. 

Looking down the road we have been talking about a pattern change. But there still is some cold, a few clippers and a trough in place across the Northeast through next Tuesday which will help to keep New England in the Cool…but how cold will it be?

map Hope & Change

500 mb Vort Map Monday Feb 14th

Warmer Pacific air will push in and up over the ridge and then into the base of the trough. Cold arctic air will be locked further up into Canada.  A more of a zonal, west to east flow will be in place over the lower 48 heading into next week. Thanks to a negative PNA, and positive AO and NAO , this should enable a surge of warmth coming out of the southern states and heading east.

So even though the trough will keep us watching from the sidelines while the rest of the nation warms up…it will only be a matter of time before the trough lifts out with the upper level ridge shifts east to provide a wonderfully mild February thaw by next Thurs and beyond into the weekend of the 19th. This pattern should hold through the 24th. Below is the Canadian Ensemble from the period of February 15th-23rd. You can see that much of the nation is expected to warm up, including the northeast with above normal temperatures.

2011 02 08 canada Hope & Change

Warm Up Ahead!

Does the trough stay in the West through the end of the season? Yeah right! Or will it return in some form to the eastern U.S? Much more likely.

The end of February into March will likely start to resemble the la Nina pattern we have become used to. While we warm, Western areas from the Cascades to the Rockies will have a skiers paradise with the potential for several feet of snow.

Despite all the hope and change being talked about, we still have to remember our latitude and proximity to the Canadian cold. So even though temperatures will not be excessively cold for a while, just enough cool air could be able around at times to create a boundary of differing airmasses which a short wave could ride and form periodic clippers.

The trough that sets up in the West next week will start to move east and re-establish itself in the East by late in February.  Looking back in history, March can sometimes be the snowiest month in a La Nina winter. So there still is the potential for a few sizeable events before we are totally out of the woods by spring. 

La Ninas are famous for their late-season high jinx. New England is likely to become the battle ground in a pattern where cold is trying to push back  against the warmth in the South. This could mean a few more clippers or even another coastal storm? I remember last year calling winter over in February. Some thought I was silly for saying that. Well March and April were nothing but warm. I am surely not going to say that this year! Even though I think we have seen the worst of winter already….especially once south of New England.  Putting the month of February behind us will help the cause for sure! This March and April should not be anything like last year…This may be a case of stating the obvious in this out of control La Nina year.

Comments (52)
  1. Meerlin says:

    Thanks for the detailed forcast Joe, I’m feeling better already!

    1. Merlin says:

      Merlin is the word, somedays it does not pay to get up!

  2. southshoretom says:

    The environmental Canada temp anomoly sight is one I have watched all winter. They have been extremely accurate all winter in their temp forecasts.

  3. smack says:

    Thanks, Joe. I love your detailed blogs and explanations. Looking back through the winter I think you were spot on with your forecasts!

  4. Charlie says:

    I c a 3-5 or 4-6 widespread event Tue/Tue night, it looks like alot of models r showing this or at least hinting at it, then it’s quiet, anybody seeing that?

    1. JOHN says:

      Please give us some more information on what you see.

      1. Charlie says:

        I think that storm as soon as it gets it’s feet wet sort of speak will throw back a little snow, I’ll be watching to c if it trends, just my opinion, :)

  5. Spaniel says:

    Charlie I can see how u are going to be wrong. My own thoughts. I think we are done with snow for a while now.

  6. Hadi says:

    Thanks Joe!! Great analysis as always.

    As far as I am concerned if snow is done then bring on the nice weather!! I hate the transition period of late March and April. Even though I do not think we are done with snow just yet!

  7. Spaniel says:

    Even if it does snow I think 50s and maybe even 60 will be doing a number on the snowpiles by the end of next week.

  8. Hadi says:

    Spaniel what you think of the GGEM and GFS for Tuesday? Event the EURO is showing something

  9. Spaniel says:

    Hadi when I say a while, I don’t think next December. I think this winter has an awesome closing act lining up.

  10. Leo says:

    Hadi, what are you seeing for the tuesday timeframe? Thanks

  11. Sailfish says:

    Just a reminder that today’s date is Feb 9th. Why all the talk of winter being over? Some years we have had some of the biggest storms in March and even April (i.e Superstorm March 15, 1993 and April fools 1997). Winter is far from over and I think the models are overdoing the warmup and will change course by the weekend. Enjoy the break while it lasts.

  12. manowx says:

    good blog JJ but the current “arctic cold”is rather tepid I still say global cooling is a farce unti proven otherwisei

    Those snow squalls of yesterday were a no-show! Global warming?

    1. weather_nut says:

      Manowx……….Because you didn’t see snow squalls yesterday, you are blaming that on global warming. You already had 0 credibility with me with your silly global waming rants, but this just takes the cake. By the way, up my way in SW NH we had several squalls which added up to 1 -2″. (Must be the ICE AGE Coming) LOL

  13. Spaniel says:

    I will have to study them more when I get out of work. It is hard to keep up with all of that while in the office. I know that what it shows from now may not be what the outcome will be. Just like last week when I thought we would be in line for a big storm tomorrow. It looked good on paper or on a pc screen but its not happening. But I will look at post later tonight.

  14. Scott says:

    still more than a week away from this potential thaw, so it’s hard to tell how potent it will be, as in how high those temps will be. i’m hoping they don’t get well into the 50’s, would cause flooding problems.
    and if this March does follow previous la nina winters, we would be in for the top 5 snowiest winters.
    WINTER isn’t over untill the buds start peeping.

  15. JimmyJames says:

    Winter is not over but I don’t see a snowstorm to the magnitude of the post Christmas Blizzard and the record snowfall of the 95-96 winter to me looks safe.

    1. JOHN says:

      You never know. We could get hit realy hard in March. I do not think it snowed last March, a slight mix I think. I hope we have seen the end. I am ready to open up my pool.

    2. Sailfish says:

      Jimmy James don’t count your chickens before they are hatched. 95-96 is at a high risk of going down. Remember a single storm in March can dump 2 feet or more alone and I do think it will happen. Stay tuned.

  16. Spaniel says:

    HUM I guess the NWS did not see the models advertising the snow for Mon nt/Tue. They have 30% chance of snowshowers for some others just cloudy. They have low 40s for Wednesday so let the melt down begin. Lets get rid of the old dirty snow to get ready for the new. JJ I think we can get some pretty big storms in March with the winter/vs spring temps fighting it out.

  17. rainshine says:

    Joe, thanks for the great blog. It is informative and interesting. I don’t believe winter is anywhere over and I don’t see a warm March like last year, either. I am looking forward to the spring, ‘though – just a gradual process, ‘though – don’t want to see any major flooding.

    Question: is the real reason for this stormy winter La Nina?

    1. matt says:

      rainshine it is due to the la nina but also a green land block an area of high pressure over eastern canada made a dip and had us on the cold side of storms
      greenland high has weakened some what and has an anrea of high pressure over us to keep storms out currently.

  18. frogger says:

    Man, can’t you all just let us “regular” people enjoy the small break we have without CONSTANTLY reminding us winter isn’t over and more storms are inevitable? We know you love constant storms for some sick reason, but the 99.99999999999% of the rest of the people in this state are more than fine with no snow for a while, as short as it may be.

    1. smitty says:

      yet you came here by choice knowing that alot of regular bloggers like snow, just to ask them not to post their own thoughts as usual?? who is stopping you from enjoying the break?? enjoy it already!!

    2. JOHN says:

      Hey Frogger- Relax. this site is for people who like to talk about the weather and figure out the storm tracs. The people on this site are regular people, tracking the weather is a hobby, like golf if you will. And all those storms we have had this year have helped alot of people get a paycheck. The plowers and the contractors.

    3. matt says:

      some want snow to stay on the ground till middle or late march . the only here are the questions do you really want a whole month of brown dirt mud and rain or would you want a blanket of snow to cover it . april i say is when i want green grass with 50s to 70s

  19. weather_nut says:

    Spaniel……Where do you see 50″s to near 60 for next week??? The best I can see is 40’s to perhaps 50 (in Boston) by Saturday and even that high, I have my doubts. Too much snowcover and too much cold just to our north. I do see those temps perhaps as far north as NYC for a day or two.

  20. Hadi says:

    Leo the problem with clippers is that they develop pretty late most of the time for us to get decent snow, the further it develops off the our coast the better. I think a decent chance of some light to moderate snow, but nothing to go crazy about.

  21. Scott2 says:

    not seeing baileyman on lately is not a good sign for snow lovers since he seems only present during snowy times. and really have not heard him say anything about snowstorms in the future. when he has we get them most of the time

  22. phillip says:

    i agree scot2 but baileyman and topkatt have a competition i thought? so maybe he be back plus someone says he predicted a storm sometime next week i thought maybe im wrong but we see

  23. Sailfish says:

    I have lived in the Boston area all of my life and have never seen this much snow on the ground. And yes, that includes the blizzard of 78, 95-96, and the Aprils fools storm which dumped 33 inches in my yard. The snowpack is between 3 and 5 feet and my kids and I spent the weekend jumping off the roof. Great suff! but we may not see this again for 50 years so enjoy!

    Here is how I owuld rank them in terms of deepest snowpack:

    #1 2011
    #2 1995-1996
    #3 tied; Bilzzard of 78 and April fools

  24. MattOx says:

    why does everyone admire baileymen so much?

    what has he done?
    in my opinion nothin!
    has he predicted anything right this year.
    im kind of new to this blog but I think he predicted 3 to 5 inches of snow where i live in oxford ma which is near worcester yesterday we only got 2 to 4 inches instead
    so he was wrong
    so why does everyone keep saying his name he dont know nothing about weather!

    1. Scottf says:

      Listen to yourself….. he was off by ONE inch, and he’s wrong? Give me a break. He’s been dead on all winter…….oh, but you’re new so you wouldn’t know that. Duh….

  25. WeatherWizard says:

    I knew when I was making my winter prediction that we were going to have to pay the La Nina winter piper at some time and we are paying for it right now.
    When I put my forecasts together I’m looking at the signals first (LA NINA, AO, NAO, PNA, MJO etc.) These signals are a good indicator of where the weather will be heading the next 2-6 weeks.
    NAO…The Quarterback to this winter. The NAO was in the pocket and was making one winter storm pass after another. The Quarterback has been sidelined for the game for 2 weeks so we have to use the Running game via the AO (Arctic Oscillation) for some cold air and timing with the southern and northern stream jet.
    We will be heading back down to the Negative Side after February 20th. This is the first step to back to winter. This NAO sliding downward does not guarantee a snowstorm in Feb or even March but it makes the chances a little better on this signal.
    The AO or Arctic Oscillation…
    This is the running back of winter…running in cold weather week after week from Mid December to Early February. The AO is still playing in the game but only a running attack the other players (northern/southern jet) can not perform as well.
    The AO showed a rare stretch of time never going above neutral. This was from Mid November to late January. That is rare for not only that long of a period but for how low the number reaches in December. The cold air usually takes sometime to settle in but it got here pretty fast to start this winter.
    The projection the next 14 days looks to keep the AO slightly above normal at times. So this tells me that we’ll get a little cold but it will not be super cold and last all that long the next 2-3 week. So we get somewhat good news with the NAO but ok news from the AO.
    This signal was on the Positive side for a good portion of the core of winter but now is headed to the negative side. You want this signal to be positive…It’s kind of like your two wide receivers. We may still have one receiver with this -PNA but it’s nice to have two esp if the QB..the NAO is only playing part of the time or hurt in the next few weeks.
    Climate indicators of ENSO continue to indicate a strong, mature La Niña, although there are clear signs the event has passed its peak. Pacific Ocean temperatures have increased, especially below the surface, while atmospheric indicators such as the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), trade winds and cloud patterns have eased from their peaks reached about a month ago.
    These observations are consistent with long-range forecast models surveyed by the Bureau which show the Pacific gradually warming during the southern autumn. Given that March to June is the ENSO transition period, there is a spread among the model predictions for the middle of 2011. The most likely outcome is for a return to neutral conditions, but there is a chance of La Niña persisting for the rest of the year.
    The Signals are not as good as they were in December and January but this is not a total lost because if you still want more winter and even a few more shots of snow. We have to have perfect timing on these systems to get to all work out just right. The NAO says I got a little more Winter left in me..The AO is on a break from the full blown cold and the PNA is relaxing the storm track a little the next few weeks. La Nina has peaked and is slowly starting to fade.
    The one thing to remember is the NAO AO and PNA only go out 2 weeks and that would be Feb 23 at this point. Just by looking at the signals I see a few small events from now through Feb 21st…and a better shot at something after Feb 23rd.
    I would not put away the shovels just yet.

    1. Topkatt88 says:

      We’ve shoveled as late as April 28 & once in May here in the NW suburbs, so the shovels stay handy well into spring around here…

      Nice job WeatherWizard. Thanks.

    2. northshore says:

      like anyone knows what will happen 2 weeks out.

      1. Topkatt88 says:

        Teleconnections may not be perfect but they work very well. I used them myself for years with good success in 10-15 day energy forecasts.

    3. shotime says:

      Thanks WeatherWizard for taking the time to post such an informative comment.

  26. JOHN says:

    Hey weatherwizard. That was a detailed blog, I thought that was great. keep up the great work and thank’s.

  27. philip says:

    So far Boston’s total snowfall for 2010-11 is 71.2″ which is ranked at #11. The #10 slot is 71.3′ set i n 2002-03 the same winter as the Presidents’ Day Storm.

    Unless we get something late Monday-early Tuesday of next week, we remain out of the top ten snowfalls and will have to wait until the end of the month or March.

    1. philip says:

      Also regarding the big warm up that is expected down the road next week, I believe the temps will be well into the 40s to near 50 but not much higher. For now I really doubt we will see super duper rapid snowmelt, but we will see.

      However, don’t forget the sun angle gets a bit higher every day. :-)

    2. Longshot says:

      philip, I think #10 is 72.3″

  28. T says:

    Love you Joe, Competition is amazing….just say……..

  29. Rsquared44 says:

    I agree Weather Wizard, thank you very much. Love the info

  30. southshoretom says:

    thanks WeatherWizard, great information and well presented.

  31. northshore says:

    I don’t believe anything he writes or predicts.

  32. Hadi says:

    Thanks weather wizard!! Appreciate the time put in to keep us updated on teleconnections. Great stuff.

  33. torridSteve says:

    weatherwizard is ridiculous another fool who is never right

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