Weekly Outlook

Weekly Outlook: January 29 – February 4, 2018

Who’s ready for some snow? Don’t worry, we’re not looking at a lot. In fact, parts of the region might not see any at all. We could see some more later in the week and possibly over the weekend too. Yes, we understand some of you have some plans next Sunday – something having to do with owls.

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The cold front that moved through on Sunday stalled out offshore, and low pressure will ride up along it later today into early Tuesday. This will result in some light snow across the region, mainly south and east of I-495. With the storm passing far enough to the south and east, most of the accumulating snow will be from Boston southward, and most snow across Cape Cod and nearby southeastern Massachusetts. Even in these locations, we’re talking about a few inches, possibly as much as 5 or 6 inches on the Cape.

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The GFS model is the closest to our thinking in terms of snowfall for late Monday into early Tuesday. Image provided by Pivotal Weather.

The snow ends Tuesday morning, but skies don’t start to clear out until Tuesday night when high pressure starts to build in. This results in a sunny but cold Wednesday. Clouds come right back in Wednesday night as a cold front starts to approach from the west. This will produce some showers on Thursday. The front will move through Thursday night, but the precipitation may linger into Friday morning. As the cold air moves in behind the front, the rain showers may change to snow showers before ending. Some models have tried to slow the front down and have a low pressure area ride along it. This would result in accumulating snow on Friday. While this is possible, most of the models have been trending away from this scenario, so it does not seem likely right now. Obviously, we’ll monitor this over the next few days.

High pressure returns later Friday into Saturday with dry and cold conditions once again. This brings us to Superb Owl Sunday. Another weak system will move across the region during the day. This will likely spread some light snow or rain into the area. Obviously it’s way too early to give amounts, but some accumulations are possible. If this becomes a threat, we’ll let you know later in the week.

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Heading outside after the Super Bowl Sunday night? The GFS is forecasting wind chills ranging from 0 to 20 below. Whether or not this verifies remains to be seen. Image provided by weathermodels.com

Monday: Cloudy and breezy, especially along the coast. Light snow developing late in the day, mainly south of Boston. High 33-40.

Monday night: Periods of light snow and snow showers, mainly south and east of Route 495. Accumulations range from a dusting outside of 128, to an inch or so from Boston to Providence, to 1-3 inches across southeastern Massachusetts and southern Rhode Island, and 3-5 inches across Cape Cod. Low 18-25.

Tuesday: Cloudy, snow showers ending by midday. High 27-34.

Tuesday night: Clearing and turning colder. Low 11-18.

Wednesday: Mostly sunny and chilly, clouds move back in late in the day and at night. High 25-32.

Thursday: Cloudy with some showers likely, changing to snow showers at night. High 38-45.

Friday: Snow showers ending early, some clearing late in the day. High 28-35 early, dropping in the afternoon.

Saturday: Partly to mostly sunny. High 20-27.

Sunday: Cloudy with a chance for some light snow or rain. High 33-40.

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The G.O.A.T. has already tamed a Ram, Panther, Eagle, Seahawk, and Falcon to put them in his zoo. Expect a second Eagle to be there next week. Image provided by CBSBoston.

As for that game on Sunday, there’s an old saying – “Eagles may soar, but weasels don’t get sucked into jet engines.” Since most of the nation thinks that the Patriots are weasels, this quote actually applies to the game. The dynasty continues as Brady will hoist Lombardi Trophy #6 after a 27-23 victory over Philadelphia.

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Weekly Outlook

Weekly Outlook: January 22-28, 2018

Never in doubt, right? We all knew that the Patriots would come back to win that game, right? You know what is in doubt? What type of precipitation may fall across the interior during the day today.

A backdoor cold front will drop down across the region today, bringing much cooler conditions in. at the same time, moisture and warmer air will stream in aloft. This means we’ll be looking at some occasional showers and drizzle across the region today and tonight. Across interior portions of eastern Massachusetts into southern New Hampshire, temperatures will be near or a little below freezing through the morning, so anything that falls will be freezing drizzle or possibly some sleet. So, if you’ve got to go anywhere in the morning, like work or school, use some caution, as things could be a little slippery. Temperatures will rise into the middle to upper 30s this afternoon, changing everything to plain rain. However, by this evening, temperatures may drop back close to freezing from the Merrimack Valley northward, meaning we could be looking at some more freezing drizzle in spots.

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Some locally heavy rainfall amounts are possible on Tuesday. This combined with melting snow could result in some flooding in some areas, especially ice jam flooding along some rivers. Image provided by WeatherModels.com

That backdoor cold front heads back northward as a warm front late tonight into Tuesday morning, but it will take its time. Temperatures will rise overnight fairly quickly from Boston southward, but points north and west will see temperatures slowly creep up until the front moves through later Tuesday morning. Once it moves through, temperatures will rise into the 40s north and west of Boston, lower to perhaps middle 50s from Boston southward. However, the warmer air will be accompanied by a batch of rain, some which could be locally heavy. Low pressure moving into southeastern Canada will drag a cold front across the region late in the day. This front produced severe weather across parts of the Southern Plains on Sunday. While we’re not expecting severe weather around here, it’s not out of the question that you may see a flash of lightning or hear a rumble of thunder Tuesday afternoon, mainly south of Boston.

That front moves through Tuesday evening, then high pressure builds in for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday with sunshine along with windy and colder conditions. We’ll start to warm up again on Saturday, but clouds will also stream in ahead of the next storm system. That system will bring us some more rain and mild temperatures Saturday night into Sunday.

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Wind chills will be back into the single numbers Friday morning when you head out the door, so dress appropriately. Image provided by WeatherBell.

Monday: Some freezing rain/drizzle north and west of Boston in the morning, otherwise cloudy with periodic showers and drizzle. High 34-41.

Monday night: Freezing drizzle may return north and west of Boston in the evening, otherwise, occasional showers and drizzle continue. Low 30-37 in the evening, then temperatures slowly rise overnight.

Tuesday: Showers becoming steady rain, possibly heavy at times from late morning into late afternoon. A rumble of thunder can’t be ruled out, mainly south of Boston. Becoming windy, especially in eastern Massachusetts. High 48-55.

Tuesday night: Showers end in the evening, followed by clearing skies. Low 28-35.

Wednesday: Partly to mostly sunny, breezy, and colder. High 34-41.

Thursday: Sunshine and a few clouds, still breezy. High 23-30.

Friday: Mostly sunny, breezy, and chilly. High 27-34.

Saturday: Increasing clouds, breezy, and milder, with showers likely at night. High 41-48.

Sunday:  Showers ending early, followed by clearing. High 46-53.

Finally, just for entertainment purposes, you may recall that right after the Patriots won the Super Bowl in 2015, we had a fairly sizable snowstorm around here the next day. In 2017, right after the Patriots won the Super Bowl, we had another, smaller in scale, snowstorm 2 days later. Well, someone must have let the GFS know that the Patriots won today, because it suddenly has a snowstorm around here the day after the Super Bowl. Given that it’s 2 weeks away, we put absolutely zero stock in this forecast, but we thought you’d find it humorous.

 

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Weekly Outlook

Weekly Outlook: January 8-14, 2017

So, has the past week been cold enough for ya? Don’t worry, the cold air is finally departing, and we’ve even got some actual mild air in the forecast. We’ve also got the potential for a wintry mess too, so let’s get to the details.

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The first week of January has seen temperatures average 15-25 degrees below normal across most of the Northeast. Image provided by the Northeast Regional Climate Center.

The week starts off with clouds and some snow showers (rain showers across Cape Cod) ahead of a cold front. Don’t worry, we’re not expecting much (if any) accumulation, but the bigger story will be temperatures actually getting into the 30s across the area. It’s going to feel downright balmy compared to the past week. The front moves through tonight, and the snow or rain showers end. High pressure builds in for Tuesday and Wednesday with drier conditions, but temperatures will remain close to where they should be in early January. After that, we jump on a bit of a rollercoaster.

Low pressure will head into the Great Lakes on Thursday while high pressure moves offshore. This means southwest winds will bring unseasonably mild air into the region. Temperatures will get well into the 40s in many locations. We’ll have plenty of clouds, but will anyone care with those temperatures? We didn’t think so. Friday looks to be even warmer, with upper 40s and 50s for much of the region, possibly even close to 60 if you believe one model (see below). It’ll be accompanied by rain and gusty winds, but again, is anyone going to care? It’s going to be mild!

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Yes, this is really the GFS forecast for Friday’s high temperatures. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

Saturday is where we get to the real problems. As that initial system moves by, a cold front trailing it will move towards the region while another system moves towards the Northeast from the Tennessee Valley. The question is, and it’s a fairly important one, when does that cold front move through the area?  One model says that it waits until Sunday morning, so Saturday would be another warm, but wet day. Another model brings the front through on Saturday, with cold air rapidly moving in, which means that we could have some freezing rain or a cold rain to deal with across much of the area.  So we could be in the 50s and raining, in the 20s with freezing rain, or somewhere in between. That’s a wide variety of options, and at this point, we’re not sure which way to go. Complicating matters is the fact that the Patriots play the Titans in a playoff game in Foxboro that evening, so the weather could impact the game. Things should start to get a little more clear as the week goes on. Conditions should improve on Sunday, behind the system.

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The various members of the GFS Ensemble show a wide range of possibilities around here Saturday night. Everything is on the table – snow, sleet, freezing rain, rain, or nothing at all. Image provided by WeatherBell.

Monday: Cloudy and breezy at times with a few snow or rain showers possible. High 30-37.

Monday night: Mostly cloudy, some clearing takes place late at night. Low 22-29.

Tuesday: Becoming partly to mostly sunny and breezy. High 33-40.

Tuesday night: Clear skies. Low 10-17.

Wednesday: A sunny start, then skies cloud up in the afternoon. High 31-38.

Thursday: Mostly cloudy and milder with a chance for a few showers. High 44-51.

Friday: Breezy and mild with periods of rain likely. High 50-57.

Saturday: Mostly cloudy with a chance of……something. Quite frankly, that’s about the only thing we’re certain of at this point.

Sunday: Clearing, breezy, and colder. High 29-36.

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Extreme Temperatures, Heavy Rain/Snow, Winter Weather

Thursday Will Not Be a Fun Day

So, as you may have heard from the relentless media hype over the past few days, we’ve got a storm headed our way on Thursday. While this will be an extraordinary storm for places like Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas, up here, we’ve seen a lot worse.

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Snowfall accumulations of 2-5 inches from northern Florida into eastern North Carolina? That doesn’t happen too often. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

Snow and sleet have been falling today across portions of northern Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. Several inches are expected to fall today, especially along the coastline. Given how rarely this happens in some of these locations, it will probably bring the region to a halt, while those of us in the North point and laugh. Don’t worry, our time is coming tomorrow.

The storm that is producing the snow down South will move up the East Coast later today and Thursday, rapidly intensifying as it does so. You may have heard the terms “bombogenesis” or “weather bomb” used as part of the media hype in the last few days to describe this storm. These are terms that have been around for quite some time. Bombogenesis happens when the lowest pressure of a storm drops more than 24 millibar in a 24 hour period. This happens several times a year with storms off the East Coast. It is nothing out of the ordinary. The reason this storm is getting the attention, aside from the Southern snow, is that the pressures are much lower than a typical winter storm. This will be a strong storm system, but again, we’ve had powerful storms off the East Coast plenty of times before.

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Definition of “bombogenesis”. It’s a fairly common occurrence. Image provided by Weather.com

As the storm gets cranked up off the East Coast, it will generate strong winds,, especially along the coast. While we’re looking at wind gusts to 40-50 mph, possibly even higher, things could be a lot worse. We don’t have a large high pressure system to our north (more on that in a minute). If we had a high to our north, increasing the pressure gradient between the storm and the high, winds would be even stronger. The tighter the gradient, the stronger the winds. This is why we can have strong winds with weaker systems, if there is a large high in place to the north.

Along with the winds, coastal residents also have to worry about coastal flooding. Since we’re just past the full moon, tides remain astronomically high. Add in strong onshore winds, and residents along north to northeast facing beaches could experience some coastal flooding around the midday/early afternoon high tide on Thursday. By the time we get to the high tide Thursday night, winds will have shifted into the west or northwest, thus limiting the flooding potential.

Back to the high pressure, or lack thereof, to our north. High pressure has been sitting to our north or northwest all week, which is why we’ve been frigid since before New Year’s. That high has shifted offshore now, allowing somewhat milder air to settle in today. Normally, to get heavy snow, we need that high pressure area to stay to our north or northwest, to lock the cold air into place. With that not the case this time, we’re going to have to deal with a rain/snow line. That seems hard to believe given how cold the past week has been, but it is the case. Water temperatures are still in the lower 40s off our coast, so a strong onshore wind will warm up the lowest layers of the atmosphere enough for a change to rain. This seems like across Cape Cod, but the question becomes, how far inland does that rain/snow line penetrate? The models have varying ideas on this, but a portion of southeastern Massachusetts may see a changeover.

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Winter Storm Warning are in effect for virtually the entire East Coast, with Blizzard Warnings (in red) for parts of coastal New England. Image provided by NOAA.

So, we’ve talked about strong winds, coastal flooding, and a rain/snow line. Now, for the only part that most of you are interested in – snow. First, we’ll talk about the timing. Snow should develop from south to north across the region between about 3 and 6am. So, by the time most of you wake up, it will likely be snowing. The snow will end between 7 and 10pm for most of us. The worst of the storm will be between about 9am and 4pm. Snow will be moderate to heavy at times, which combined with strong winds, will create whiteout or blizzard conditions, especially along the coast. If you don’t have to be out tomorrow morning/afternoon, we’d recommend staying where you area. Blizzard warnings have been posted for parts of eastern and southeastern Massachusetts, the NH Seacoast, as well as coastal and Downeast Maine. Remember, the amount of snowfall has absolutely nothing to do with blizzard conditions. You can have a blizzard with no snow falling at all. By definition, you have a blizzard when visibility is 1/4 mile or less due to falling or blowing snow and you have sustained winds or gusts to 35 mph or more for 3 consecutive hours or more.

So, how much snow are we looking at? There isn’t really one model that we completely agree with, so we’re going with a blend of the ideas. Because the storm will be moving along fairly quickly, we’re not looking at any blockbuster amounts. The trickiest part is where the rain/snow line sets up.  Right now, we’re thinking somewhere close to the Cape Cod Canal. As for amounts, here’s the breakdown:

Outer Cape Cod/Islands: 3-5″
Upper Cape Cod: 4-8″
Southeastern Massachusetts (south and east of I95): 8-14″
Northern RI/Interior Eastern Massachusetts/North Shore: 6-12″
Central Massachusetts/Merrimack Valley/Southern NH/Seacoast: 5-9″

The biggest wild card is Southeastern Massachusetts, especially the closer to Cape Cod you get. The farther the rain/snow line moves inland, the less accumulations will be. This is the area of biggest “bust potential”.

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The Canadian HRDPS model is probably closest to our thinking, but not exactly the same. Image provided by WeatherBell.

Once the storm moves by, we’ll slowly clear out on Friday, but gusty northwest to west winds will usher another arctic blast into the region. Saturday may be even colder than any of the days we’ve had over the past week. Especially with fresh snowcover, temperatures will plunge again, with the worst of it on Saturday, when high temperatures likely stay in the single digits. Sub-zero lows are likely across much of the region Saturday morning and especially Sunday morning.

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Weekly Outlook

Weekly Outlook: January 1-7, 2018

Well, 2018 is certainly starting on a rather chilly note. Believe it or not, before the week is out, it could get worse. We also may be dealing with a storm that could impact part of the region later in the week, but as we went into detail with last week, the models have not been very reliable with forecasts beyond 72 hours, so don’t believe the hype yet.

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Wind chills will be brutally cold if you’re out and about first thing in the morning on New Year’s Day. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

 

The week (and year) starts off the way the last one ended – with arctic high pressure keeping temperatures well below normal. Since we’ll still have a little bit of wind, wind chills will range from 10 to 25 below zero Monday morning. A weak disturbance may bring in a few clouds tonight, but then temperatures will start to moderate a bit for Tuesday and Wednesday. Oh, it’ll still be cold, just not ridiculously cold.

After that, we turn our attention to the potential for an ocean storm on Thursday. Many of the models are forecasting a rather powerful storm to develop off the East Coast and head north-northeastward, passing offshore, possibly well offshore. Obviously, the track will be critical in determining what impacts this system may have on the region.

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There’s still a fairly wide range in solutions for the track of our mid-week storm system, as shown by the various members of the GFS Ensemble. Image provided by WeatherBell.

 

A track fairly close to the coast could result in heavy snow, possibly even changing to rain along the shoreline. A track well offshore could result in a miss entirely, or possibly just some snow right along the coast. Just as we said last week, we just can’t answer these questions yet. The upper-level energy that will help produce this system is still out over the Pacific Ocean, where observations are sparse. We do know this – because the storm is expected to be large, we will almost certainly be dealing with gusty winds, no matter how close the storm gets. Also, the middle of the week will feature some of the highest astronomical tides of the month, so some coastal flooding will be a possibility, especially along northeast and north-facing shorelines. As things come into sharper focus over the next few days, we’ll have a special blog post if there is a threat of the storm having a significant impact on the region.

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Even among the 21 members of the GFS Ensemble, there is a wide range in snowfall potential from the late-week storm system, ranging from zero in many cases, up to a foot or more in at least 1 or 2 of the solutions. Until these start to converge on a solution, any of them could be right. Image provided by WeatherBell.

 

Once the system pulls away, strong north to northwest winds behind it will usher another arctic blast into the region. This blast has the potential to be even colder than the current one, especially if we have fresh snow cover after Thursday.

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Subzero lows are possible across much of the region again next weekend. Image provided by Weather.us

 

New Year’s Day: Mostly sunny and cold. High 6-13.

Monday night: Variably cloudy. Low -3 to +4.

Tuesday: A mix of sun and clouds. High 12-19.

Tuesday night: Clear to partly cloudy. Low 6-13.

Wednesday: Partly sunny. High 24-31.

Thursday: Cloudy and breezy with a chance of snow. High 26-33.

Friday: Partly sunny and breezy, and frigid again. High 6-13.

Saturday: Mostly sunny, breezy, and bitterly cold. High 1-8.

Sunday: Mostly sunny, breezy, and frigid. High 8-15.

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Longer-range models, including the CFS (pictured), show the month of January having well below normal temperatures across the eastern two-thirds of the nation. Image provided by WeatherBell.

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