Bright & Brisk

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Were you excited about the falling snowflakes yesterday? I was loving it because it was gentle, picturesque and there was no shoveling. It didn’t impact travelers too much although some roads were slippery early in the morning and again later in the evening. While it’s been another wonderfully benign winter for lots of folks, it’s been another dud of a season so far for us snow lovers including those that make a living on the white stuff such as people in winter sports businesses and the snow plow guys. Yesterday’s snow amounted to a trace at all locations ranging up from a heavy dusting through an inch in several areas to almost 2 inches in just a few spots. Check out this list of snowfall reports from the National Weather Service. At Logan Airport, Boston’s official amount was 0.6″ which brings the total to 9.4″ since the first measurable snowfall on November 7. That is 15″ below the average up to this point in the season! Another weak clipper should bypass us just to the south early tomorrow yielding only a slight risk of a few flakes on the South Coast around dawn. The followup clipper in the northern stream will release another tease of a dusting to a half-inch late tomorrow night and very early Wednesday. After that, there are many indicators that suggest that the southern branch of the jet stream will become more of a contributor in subsequent storms perhaps for the rest of this month! It will contain some energy and moisture captured from the Gulf of Mexico. The first system of this series should present a potential for us this coming Friday. More on that coming up.

In the meantime, this morning I am watching a storm blowing up bigtime way out over the Atlantic. It is destined to clobber eastern Nova Scotia and New Foundland in the next 12 hours. In its wake, the pressure gradient is tightening to produce a return of gusty winds to 25-35 mph today. That will definitely chill the air and make the highs of 29-33 feel like the teens. You’ll certainly need the sunshades today with the bright sunshine reflecting off the scanty snow cover. There will be some patches of clouds transiting eastward from the Berkshires later this morning and afternoon but the sun should win out much of the time. The wind will subside later this evening as the temperature declines to the teens under a clear to partly cloudy sky. Any cloudiness across extreme southern New England  tomorrow morning will vanish and the day will be bright for all as the temperatures top out in the range of 26-30 but the good news is the wind will be more docile thanks to a small bubble of high pressure passing through. The next clipper will crank out flurries to a spell of light snow later tomorrow night with clearing to follow Wednesday morning. Temperatures will rise to the middle 30s that day and again on Thursday as a ridge of high pressure builds eastward into the Northeast. There will be a chilly wind later Wednesday into Thursday morning.

In the suite of mathematical models that we study to formulate the forecasts, I place the most reliance on the European because it has an amazing track record. It is, however, not infallible. Noting that the Southern Oscillation Index values have plunged recently plus the ocean has turned warmer in the Central Pacific and colder in the Eastern Pacific and the potential for North Atlantic blocking is increasing, the stage is set for the southern branch of the jet stream to become active. The European model is starting to indicate that this week. The trick is to determine if the southern stream will phase with the northern stream to create a rapidly intensifying storm near New England on Friday. To me, it looks reasonable as this new pattern evolves so I will buy into the solution but remain cautious that it is still a few days away which means the confidence factor is not sky high just yet. So what does this mean right now? I think that it may be warm enough for rain at the start of this projected storm up to at least the MA Pike. Across northern New England, it should be all snow and perhaps lots of it especially in eastern NH and ME. As the storm really ramps up somewhere just off the coast, colder air will be drawn southeastward so a switch from rain to snow is very plausible into the Boston area and eventually into southeastern MA. The wind could become very strong with gales possible. Subsequent forecast cycles in the next few days should become more defining and give us a tighter grasp on the solution. Keep your chin up snow lovers and continue to THINK SNOW! Whatever happens, it will clear out early Saturday for a mainly sunny weekend with windy conditions and highs in the middle 30s on Saturday with less wind and milder conditions of 40-45 on Sunday.

Todd Gutner will deliver his latest blog early this evening.

Make it a great day!

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