Blowing & Drifting Snow
Meteorological spring is just 12 days away but it feels like we’re really in the grips of old man winter tonight following today’s sideswiping by a gorilla at sea. Just 24 hours ago, that storm was born just off the North Carolina coast and bombogenesis transformed the system into a beast over the ocean. Afternoon satellite imagery revealed a stunning portrait of a powerful mature storm already up on the central cost of Nova Scotia. If you’re a barometer watcher, the central pressure of this nasty storm is 28.3″ which is much lower than in many hurricanes. If the storm had passed 50-100 miles closer, we would be digging out of another 1-2 feet minimum. Instead, our predicted snowfall totals from the previous 24-48 hours verified nicely at most locations. I had projected 4″ or so in Boston and the official amount at Logan Airport was 5.1″ This brings the February total to 32.0″ which is almost 24″ above the average at this day of the month and boosts the seasonal total to 40.8″ which is above the average number of 29.8″. Worcester’s snow stats are 2.2″ today, 33.9″ for February and 67.5″ for the season so far. Interestingly, comparing the Blizzard of 1978 to last weekend’s Blizzard of 2013, there was virtually no snow for the rest of the season in 1978! I suspect we have more snow threats in the next month with the first low risk coming up next Saturday.
In the wake of today’s passing storm, the wind has been frequently howling and gusting to 40-60 mph across the region. Much to my delight, it has produced significant blowing and drifting of the fluffy snow despite the meager amounts. This will continue through the night and into tomorrow as the wind continues to be harsh but a bit less vicious than today. Speeds of 20-40 mph are in store tomorrow as a 100% of the possible sunshine occurs just about everywhere even up in the northern mountains. Temperatures will rise from the early morning lows of 15-20 up to the mid-afternoon highs of 29-34. The wind will subside tomorrow night and become south-southwesterly which will result in a warmup to 41-46 on Tuesday. As a ridge of high pressure exits eastward, it will open the gates for a frontal boundary to approach from the west. The warm segment will arrive in the afternoon to be swiftly followed by a cold frontal passage Tuesday night. With some upper level support, the system is destined to release a swath of rain into western New England by early afternoon with arrival in the Boston area near or just after 4pm. The potential exists for a third perhaps up to a half inch of rain in many areas. Across at least the northern half of VT and NH and into ME, there will be mainly snow going to a brief period of mix in spots. This ribbon of precipitation will shift offshore by midnight with clearing to follow before dawn. Colder air will rush into the Northeast on Wednesday and linger through Thursday with a mix of sunshine and clouds and more gusty winds both of those days. High temperatures will dip back to 35-39 Wednesday and 30-34 Thursday.
Looking ahead, a rather robust system crashing into CA late Tuesday will transit the nation with the primary system charging into the Midwest and Great Lakes while a secondary forms over eastern North Carolina Friday night into Saturday morning. It is too premature to be confident about the path of this system. It could track more northeastward and produce some meaningful rain or wet snow in southern New England on Saturday or pass south and only release sprinkles or flurries. I am more highly convinced that the active weather pattern will continue into at least the first week of March so we’ll definitely be watching several possible storm events.
For the skiers, shredders, snowmobilers and snowshoers, trail conditions are in great shape for the most part. Some spells of snow have freshened the slopes and cooperative cold weather has enabled the resorts to make snow. The northern mountains missed out on last weekend’s snow bonanza over the southern areas so they are looking for the big one to open up some of the steeper glades from place to place. It appears that a few to perhaps several inches will fall up there late Tuesday and Tuesday night with batches of snow and snow showers from time to time Wednesday and Thursday over the far northern mountains as impulses rotate around an upper level circulation in southern Quebec. Nightly grooming provides the smoothest runs in the mornings. Plan on plenty of company on the trails this week thanks to the school vacation week. Please be cautious and courteous on the trails and have a safe and enjoyable time.
Have a happy week!