Average 20 year old weather nerd. Plymouth State University Meteorology, Class of 2018. NOAA Hollings scholar. Summer 2016 intern at NWS Boston.
By: MAweatherboy1, 12:09 AM GMT on November 23, 2013
Good evening. It's been a while since my last blog, with little Atlantic tropical activity to blog about. Now that hurricane season is basically over, my focus is turning to the winter storm season. I plan to try to keep my blog updated with potential storm threats (mostly Nor'easters) for the Northeast, especially focusing on Southern New England. It looks like our first potential storm is coming this week. It's a pretty typical Nor'easter setup, as a storm system will be organizing over the next few days. It'll start out by bringing some significant wintry weather to parts of the South and Southwest during the next couple of days. A low pressure area will then develop in or near the Gulf of Mexico, possibly bringing some severe weather to the northern Gulf coast. As per usual, the system will begin to strengthen in the Southeast and pick up moisture from the Gulf. That's where things start to get interesting for us in New England. Based on most of the model data we have, it looks like this storm will turn north and strengthen, moving up the East Coast. The question then becomes what exactly the track of the low will be. Below are a few model solutions, all the latest available runs.
As you can see, differences exist among the models on the exact track of the low, though this is no more than a normal model spread for this range and really is actually a pretty tight spread. There are similarities between the 12z ECMWF and UKMET solutions in terms of track, with those two models being east of more western CMC and the slightly more eastward GFS. This lends some confidence towards their solution. I disagree with the 12z ECMWF's idea of a second low pressure moving up the coast more in the Thursday time frame. This looks like a Tuesday night-Wednesday storm, which is clearly bad timing as Wednesday is one of the year's busiest travel days, as several big East Coast cities are likely to see impacts. The big question, of course, is what will precipitation type be, and how much are we looking at? Type (and total) depends on track. A western solution like the 12z CMC shows would push the rain snow line far west, out of New England and into upstate New York and Pennsylvania. A farther east storm is a colder solution, which a few GFS runs have shown, though the latest 18z run was a little further west and warmer. A more eastward track would bring the rain/snow line farther east, closer to the coast. If I were making a forecast based on the current model data, I would favor a situation in which low pressure passed close to or just over the eastern tip of Long Island and then though southeast Massachusetts, similar to the ECMWF and UKMET, east of the GFS. Notice the 18z GFS ensembles are west of the operational GFS, more in line with the ECMWF and UKMET.
Right now, I would tend to favor a solution of rain for the coasts and quite a ways inland, but the possibility of snow for ski areas in Northern New England. This snow map from the 12z ECMWF looks pretty close to what I would be thinking in terms of where the snow falls, though I'm not willing to talk snow amounts at this point.
It's even early to start pinning this number down, but at least for southern New England, the total QPF from this storm looks to be on the order of about 1.5-2", so it's gonna have some moisture. This would be much needed, as drought conditions continue to worsen across the region.
That's all I'm going to do for speculation for now. The bottom line is that a storm system is likely to be impacting the East Coast towards the middle of next week, which means the situation bears close watching for the millions who will be traveling during that time. There's a lot of time to watch this unfold, so we'll just have to keep an eye on it.
Thank you for reading. Keep checking back because I will be sure to keep the comments section updated this weekend and hopefully into next week. Enjoy the weekend!
The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.