Weekly Outlook: January 28 – February 3, 2019

The winter of little snow rolls on this week, with just a little bit of snow and more cold weather. Don’t worry, it won’t last too long, and it could be a LOT worse.

The week starts off with high pressure building in, giving us sunshine and seasonably cold conditions. Clouds will start to move in during the evening as low pressure heads towards the Midwest. As this system moves across the Great Lakes on Tuesday, snow will develop across the region Tuesday afternoon. A secondary area of low pressure will develop across the Mid-Atlantic states during the afternoon. This will help bring milder air into the region, changing to snow to rain during the afternoon and evening hours. Whether or not this changeover makes it into southern and central NH is still a question mark. Either way, this doesn’t look like a big snow producer, with a few inches across central and southern NH, and an inch or less elsewhere.

This storm is not expected to be a big snow-producer across the area. Image provided by Pivotal Weather.

Once that secondary low pressure area moves past the area, colder air will quickly move back in, changing any rain back to snow before it ends towards daybreak. That’s not the end of the story though. We could see some sunshine develop in the afternoon, but an arctic front will move through late in the day. This front may produce some snow showers or squalls, which could impact the Wednesday evening commute, but they may hold off until a little later. These squalls may briefly lower visibility, and could drop a quick half inch or so, but the bigger story is what comes in behind the front.

Wind chills will be well below zero when most of you are heading out to work or school Thursday morning. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

Skies clear out Wednesday night as high pressure builds in, ushering in much colder air. While it won’t be quite as cold as last Monday when most of the area had high temperatures around 5 degrees, we’ll have more wind this time, so wind chills will be well below zero on Thursday. So, how could it be worse? When this airmass moves into the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest later Tuesday into Wednesday, temperatures will be a LOT colder. Across parts of the Dakotas and Minnesota, low temperatures will drop near or below -40 Thursday morning, with afternoon highs not reaching -30 in some areas. This is actual air temperature, not wind chill. So what will the wind chills be? How does -60 to -65 sound? We’re not quite sure why people voluntarily live in this area, but they do.

Yes, wind chills could be lower than -60 in parts of the Upper Midwest and Northern Plains Wednesday morning. That is beyond ridiculously cold to us. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

Getting back to our weather, Thursday night will be chilly, but we’ll start to moderate on Friday as high pressure shifts to the east. Oh, it’ll still be cold, just not as cold as Thursday. The gradual warmup will continue on Saturday as high pressure moves offshore and then a warm front moves through on Sunday with milder weather moving in.

Monday: Mostly sunny and chilly. High 24-31.

Monday night: Increasing clouds. Low 15-22.

Tuesday: Cloudy with light snow developing in the afternoon, quickly changing to rain south of Boston. High 30-37.

Tuesday night: Light snow likely across central and southern NH, changing to rain from the MA/NH border southward during the evening. Rain changes back to snow everywhere after midnight, ending towards daybreak. Temperatures may rise a bit through midnight, then drop back to 22-29 by daybreak.

Wednesday: Breezy with any snow showers ending early, then skies become partly to mostly sunny. Snow showers or squalls are possible in the evening. High 26-33, but temperatures will quickly plunge at night.

Thursday: Partly to mostly sunny, breezy, and much colder. High 7-14.

Friday: Sunshine and afternoon clouds, still cold. High 17-24.

Saturday: A mix of sun and clouds, still chilly. High 22-29.

Sunday: Partly sunny and milder. High 34-41.

Weekly Outlook: January 21-27, 2019

We’ll be riding a rollercoaster for temperatures again this week, but today will leave no doubt that winter has finally arrived.

Some of the coldest air of the season will settle into the region today on gusty north to northwest winds in the wake of the storm system that brought us a mess over the weekend. We’ll have partly sunny skies on average, with some snow showers possible over the Outer Cape. High pressure builds in tonight with light winds, resulting in a bitterly cold night. As the high moves offshore, we’ll start to moderate on Tuesday, but it will remain quite chilly.

Wind chills will be 10 to 20 below zero this afternoon and that’s the warmest that they’ll be. Yeah, it’s gonna be cold out. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

The moderating trend will continue on Wednesday as a storm system approaches the region. While we may see a little snow or a wintry mix in the afternoon, this system will mainly produce some rain showers. The system will drag a cold front through, but the cold air will lag a bit. As the front stalls out offshore, a wave of low pressure will ride up the front, bringing in more rain on Thursday. Some of this rain could be heavy, especially south of Boston. The rain may mix with some wet snow before ending Thursday evening.

The models are showing the potential for heavy rain on Thursday, especially south of Boston. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

Another weak system will quickly follow for late Friday into early Saturday. This one will likely produce some light snow or snow showers, but it does not look like a big deal at this time. Another shot of arctic air moves in for Saturday night. Next Sunday is a bit of a question mark once again. As we’ve mentioned a few times, the models have not been that good beyond a few days. There are some indications that another storm could impact us at some point in the Sunday/Monday time frame next week. Frankly, we’re not sure what to expect at this point, so we’re not going to go into too much detail. Could be snow. Could be rain. Could be more sleet and ice. Could be all of the above. Could be a complete miss. Right now, it’s impossible to pin down. Just keep in mind, that it *could* be another stormy Sunday.

The 51 members of the ECMWF Ensemble show the potential for low pressure next Sunday night to be anywhere from well south of us, to right off the coast, to well east of us, with a few member showing it inland west of us. In other words, it could be anywhere. Image provided by WeatherBell.

Monday: Partly sunny and breezy, chance for some snow showers across parts of Cape Cod. High 4-11 above.

Monday night: Clear and quite cold. Low 2 below to 5 above.

Tuesday: Mostly sunny, though some clouds will start to move in during the afternoon. High 20-27.

Tuesday night: Becoming mostly cloudy. Low 11-18.

Wednesday: Mostly cloudy and breezy with showers likely, possibly starting as a little snow or a wintry mix. High 38-45.

Thursday: Mostly cloudy and windy with rain likely, possibly heavy at times. High 43-50, possibly warmer across Cape Cod and southeastern Massachusetts.

Friday: Becoming partly to mostly sunny and breezy. Clouds return at night. High 30-37.

Saturday: Mostly cloudy, chance for a few snow showers early. High 18-25.

Sunday: Mostly cloudy with a chance of……something. High 30-37.

Storm Update – Less Snow, More Problems

In our forecast yesterday, we told you that some of the biggest questions were the track of the storm system and related to that, how far north the change to sleet/freezing rain would take place. Well, we’ve got some more clarity on that now.

Some of you are already seeing some snow falling this afternoon, but this is not related to the storm. Some ocean-effect snow has pushed into Cape Cod and Plymouth County, and will continue to push inland this afternoon. This will be light, with less than an inch in most spots. The steadier snow will move in late this afternoon and evening from the west, reaching southern NH and the Merrimack Valley first, then the rest of Eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island. It’s after midnight where the changes start to take place.

The NAM model shows the progression of the storm with the changeover to sleet. freezing rain, and plain rain gradually spreading northward early Sunday. Loop provided by Tropical Tidbits.

The storm system looks like it will track a bit farther north, passing very close to Boston on Sunday. This will not only allow milder air to move into most of southeastern Massachusetts, but the milder air aloft will also move much farther north than we had anticipated yesterday. Snow will fall heavy at times overnight, especially north of the Mass Pike, but as the warmer air starts to move in, we’ll see a change to sleet and eventually freezing rain move into the South Coast towards Midnight. A change to plain rain is likely before daybreak across southern Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts, as temperatures may break into the 40s Sunday morning. Some of the rain could be heavy, which may wash away most of the snow that does fall. Farther north, snow will gradually change to sleet and freezing rain north and west of Boston towards daybreak, with the changeover likely getting into southern NH as well. This will significantly cut down on snow amounts, but could make travel quite hazardous if there’s enough freezing rain.

The NAM model is forecasting up to 1/4 inch of freezing rain in parts of southern NH and the Merrimack Valley. Image provided by Pivotal Weather.

By midday, the storm passes by and moves offshore, with winds shifting into the north. This will bring much colder air back in, and rather quickly. Temperatures may get close to or a little above freezing during the morning from southern NH into the Merrimack Valley and the northern and western suburbs of Boston, but by afternoon they’ll quickly drop into the 20s during the afternoon and teens by evening. That will result in a flash freeze, and any untreated surfaces will quickly freeze up, resulting in very hazardous travel. It will also mean that anything you haven’t cleaned off of your car, driveway, sidewalk, etc. will quickly turn into cement. The bitterly cold air will continue to flow in, and temperatures on Monday may struggle to reach the lower teens, with wind chills below zero thanks to gusty northwest winds. These gusty winds may also produce some ocean effect snow across parts of Cape Cod, especially the Outer Cape.

The High Resolution NAM model shows the rollercaster that our temperatures will be on over the next couple of days. Loop provided by Weathermodels.com

So, how much snow are we expecting now? Here’s our current thinking:

Cape Cod/South Coast: 1-3 inches
Southeastern Massachusetts/I-95 corridor: 2-4 inches
MetroWest/North Shore: 3-5 inches
Merrimack Valley/NH Seacoast: 3-6 inches
Southern NH: 4-7 inches
Central NH/Southern Maine: 8-14 inches, with higher amounts the farther north you go.

While there isn’t any one model that matches our current thoughts on accumulations, the High Resolution NAM model is closest to our current thinking. Image provided by the College of DuPage.

Temperatures will slowly start to moderate on Tuesday, then another system may move in on Wednesday, but this one, believe it or not, may be mostly rain. We’ll see how that evolves over the next few days.

The Party’s Over – Here Comes the Snow

We haven’t had a decent-sized snowstorm around here since late November. Well, that is about to end, much to the dismay of most of you. We’ve got several different concerns with this system, so we’ll try and touch on all of them.

Winter Storm Watches and Warnings are in effect for most of the Northeast with a Coastal Flood Watch for parts of the Massachusetts coastline. Image provided by Pivotal Weather.

We’ll start with what’s going on now. High pressure is building into Quebec, and this will bring cold air into the region. Tonight will be chilly, with lows in the teens, maybe even some single numbers. Meanwhile, low pressure is moving out of the Southern Plains. This low will move towards the Appalachians on Saturday, then off the Mid-Atlantic coastline Saturday night. This brings us to forecast problem number 1. Where does the low track from there? This is a critical point, as it will help determine what type of precipitation falls across the area. Some models keep the storm offshore, south of the Cape and Islands, while others bring it right across southeastern New England. We’re thinking it tracks pretty close to the Islands, but stays just to the south. By Sunday, it moves into the Gulf of Maine, and takes all of the precipitation away.

As for the timing of that precipitation, there’s not much disagreement among the models. Snow should move in during the evening hours (7-9pm) from west to east, and end during the afternoon (3-5pm) on Sunday, except across Cape Cod and parts of southeastern Massachusetts, where it may linger into Sunday night. The heaviest precipitation will likely fall between about 11pm Saturday and 8am Sunday, so if you don’t have to be out then, we’d recommend that you stay where you are.

The High-Resolution NAM model shows the progression of the precipitation across the region. Blue is snow, orange is sleet, purple is freezing rain, and green/yellow is rain. Loop provided by Weathermodels.com

What type of precipitation is going to fall? Well, that is a BIG question, that is still in doubt for a large portion of the region. It should start as snow for everyone. It will likely change to rain across Cape Cod and the South Coast, and parts of southeastern Massachusetts. In between? That’s where things get really complicated. As we usually see during storms, we’re going to have a “coastal front” set up. Basically, the milder air from the ocean will push inland a bit. If you are south and east of this coastal front, temperatures will be near or just above freezing. If you are on the other side of the front, temperatures will be in the teens. Eventually, this front will collapse to the coast on Sunday, bringing the cold air in everywhere (more on that later). But the surface is only part of the equation. Warmer air will also move in aloft. How far inland it moves is something that that models disagree on right now. With warm air aloft and cold air at the surface, the precipitation will change to sleet or freezing rain, depending on how thick the layer of warm air is above the surface. Obviously, this will have a significant impact on snowfall amounts. Everything should go back to all snow Sunday afternoon as the coastal front collapses toward the coastline.

The high-resolution NAM model shows a well-defined coastal front setting up in the Merrimack Valley and the I-495 belt Sunday morning. Image provided by WeatherBell.

We’ve got more concerns than just what falls from the sky though. The full moon is Sunday night, which means that tides will be astronomically high. That is usually enough for some minor coastal flooding in a few spots. However, when you add in east to northeast winds of 15-25 mph and gusts to 40-50 mph (or more), then you get coastal flooding in a much wider area, possibly even some moderate flooding in the more vulnerable locations. This is mainly a concern for the high tide that occurs Sunday morning. The winds will also be a concern inland, as it will create blowing and drifting snow, making driving even more hazardous.

We mentioned earlier that the coastal front would collapse to the coastline during the afternoon, bringing cold air back in everywhere. As that cold air comes rushing in, we expect everything to quickly freeze up Sunday afternoon and evening. This will create black ice on the roads, but more importantly, any snow still on your driveway, cars, roads, etc, will quickly turn into cement. You’ll want to get outside and quickly clear everything off, because the longer you wait, the more difficult it will become. Temperatures will continue to drop Sunday night, and as high pressure builds in, skies will clear out, which may allow for viewing of the total lunar eclipse Sunday night. On Monday, temperatures won’t rise that much, with many places likely staying in the single numbers or lower teens. It will still be breezy, so wind chills may stay below zero all day long. Temperatures will start to moderate on Tuesday, but longer-range indications are that we are in a colder (and stormier) pattern now, so winter has finally arrived.

This is the forecast high temperatures for Monday based on the GFS model. It’s going to be cold. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

OK, finally, the part you’ve all been wondering – how much are we getting? As we’ve said, the amount of sleet and freezing rain will have a significant impact on snow accumulations, so we’re going to keep our ranges somewhat wide for now, and if need be, we’ll put out an update on Saturday.

Cape Cod: 2-4″
Southeastern Massachusetts/Southern Rhode Island: 3-6″
I-95 corridor (including Boston and Providence): 4-8″
MetroWest/North Shore: 6-12″
Merrimack Valley/NH Seacoast: 8-14″
Southern NH/Southern ME (Nashua/Manchester/Portland): 10-16″
Central NH (Concord): 12-18″

The NAM model is probably closest to our thinking right now, though some of these numbers may be a bit higher than our thoughts. Image provided by the College of DuPage.

If time allows, and/or there is a significant change in the forecast, we’ll update this on Saturday.

Weekly Outlook: January 14-20, 2019

The hype train is already leaving the station – that’s right, there’s a “chance” for some snow next weekend. Since we haven’t had much snow yet this winter (haven’t heard many complaints about that), much of the media is going nuts, salivating at the prospect of a week of trying to outdo each other in the stupidity department. You’ll find none of that here, so let’s just get to the forecast.

We really haven’t that much snowfall so far this winter. Will that change? We’ll see. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

We will start the week off with a little bit of snow for some of you, mainly along the coast and south of Boston. Northeast winds blowing over the still relatively mild Atlantic will produce a little ocean-effect snow across Cape Cod and parts of Plymouth County. We’re not talking about much more than a dusting, though a few localized spots could see an inch or even two. Otherwise, high pressure keeps us dry and seasonably cold right through Thursday.

On Friday, low pressure will approach from the west. We’ll see some light snow or rain with this system, with the best chance for any snow mainly north of the Mass Pike. Obviously, this will depend on exact track of the system, but temperatures won’t be that cold, the system won’t be that strong, and it’ll be moving along fairly quickly. So, not that big of a deal. High pressure builds in late Friday into Saturday while another storm system moves into the Southeast. This brings us to Sunday.

A little bit of snow is expected on Friday, mainly north and west of Boston. Image provided by Pivotal Weather.

Many of the forecast models are showing the potential for this system to head up the East Coast Saturday night into Sunday while high pressure moves into Quebec. This is the setup for a classic Nor’easter, and most of the models are showing this. They mainly show that Sunday will feature heavy snow, strong winds, and likely some coastal flooding due to the astronomical high tides. Some of the models are showing snowfall amounts in feet, not inches. Of course, many in the media have seen this, and are gleefully hyping it up already, while throwing in words like “possible” as an afterthought, after showing maps with model snowfall amounts, meaning that nobody hears the word “possible”. Here’s the thing, this is still 6-7 days away, and as we’ve mentioned more than a few times, the models have been absolutely horrible beyond about 2-3 days. So, why would we suddenly take a 7-day forecast and believe it now? Remember, the storm that hit Washington, DC yesterday was forecast by the models a week ago to bury New England instead. In short, yes, there is a “chance” for a storm next weekend, but we’re not buying what the models are selling just yet. If they are still forecasting this as we get towards Thursday or Friday, then maybe we’ll jump on board and have a blog post about it. Until then? Nope, not gonna do it.

One thing we are certain about for next Sunday is that the Patriots season will continue, with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line against the Kansas City Chiefs. Right now, it looks like we’ll have clear skies for the game which kicks off at 6:40pm EST on Sunday, with a game-time temperature around 10 degrees. Obviously, this is subject to change for the reasons we outlined above in reference to the models. As for the game itself, the Patriots will make a 3rd straight trip to the Super Bowl after they knock off the Chefs Chiefs by a score of 34-31.

Monday: Morning flurries along the coast south of Boston, otherwise becoming partly to mostly sunny. High 27-34.

Monday night: Clear to partly cloudy. Low 15-22.

Tuesday: Sunshine and a few clouds. High 30-37.

Tuesday night: Clear to partly cloudy. Low 18-25.

Wednesday: Partly sunny. High 34-41.

Thursday: Sunshine gives way to increasing clouds. High 23-30.

Friday: Cloudy with a chance for snow north of the Mass Pike, rain or snow south of the Pike. High 33-40.

Saturday: Some early sun, otherwise partly to mostly cloudy. High 24-31.

Sunday: Cloudy and windy with a chance of snow. Highs ranging from the teens north and west of Boston, to the lower 30s across southeastern Massachusetts.

Weekly Outlook: January 7-13, 2019

Since we’re into January, how about we change things up and get some snow in here? Whaddyathink? Good idea? Bad idea? Don’t worry, we’re not looking at much, well at least not in in the next few days.

The week starts off on a sunny, but chilly note with high pressure in control. Both the sunshine and cold temperatures won’t last long though as low pressure starts to approach the region. Clouds move in late in the day with some light snow developing at night. However, milder air will move in, so we’ll see a fairly quick change to rain south of the Mass Pike, with the change taking place farther north during the morning. Everything winds down by early afternoon, with accumulations of an inch or two possible, mainly in southern New Hampshire.

The Bears got a double-doink on Sunday, we get a double-whammy Tuesday into Wednesday, but ours won’t be that tough to take. Loop provided by Tropical Tidbits.

The story doesn’t end there, as another system will quickly follow for Tuesday night and Wednesday. This one will start off as rain everywhere Tuesday night, but as the system moves into the Gulf of Maine, it will bring some cold air in, possibly changing the rain back to snow before ending Wednesday afternoon or evening. Again, we’re not looking at much accumulation, so this is not a big deal. High pressure builds in with much colder weather behind that system for Thursday through Saturday. When we say cold, we mean COLD. As in, the type of weather we haven’t had since Thanksgiving. This brings us to next Sunday.

Highs in the upper teens to middle 20s on Friday? You’d think it was January or something. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

Before we get to our thoughts on Sunday, let us say that most of the forecast models have been utter crap (note: technical term) this winter beyond about 2-3 days. This seems to happen every winter, but it doesn’t stop some of the morons that don’t know better from posting maps for a “potential” snowstorm that is a week or more away. As you’ve probably figured out by now, one of those “potential” storms is being shown by at least one of the models for the timeframe of next Sunday/Monday. In fact, over the past 2-3 days, nearly all of the models have shown this storm in one form or another, but never all at the same time. Some of them show the storm staying well south of us, with nothing happening. Some show it cutting right across New England, with rain to the south and snow to the north. Some show it clipping us with snow along the coast and nothing inland. Some show it not developing at all. And finally, some show a crippling blizzard. Of course, it’s the last one that gets the attention of the amateurs, because that’s the best way to generate clicks on their websites. It’s also the least likely scenario.

Of course, Sunday is also an important day because the Patriots host the Chargers at Gillette Stadium that afternoon. The Patriots excel in cold weather and snow, so this wouldn’t be a bad thing, unless you have tickets. The Patriots are 45-10 when the game-time temperature is 34 or colder, 13-2 in the postseason. They are 11-0 in Foxboro, when it snows.

There have been some memorable games played in the snow at Gillette Stadium. Is another one on the way? Image provided by ESPN

As for the forecast for Sunday? We wouldn’t be surprised if there was some snow, but probably not during the game. Obviously we’ll keep an eye on things, and if it does look like a storm is headed our way, we’ll have a special blog post once things become clearer. As for the game itself – Patriots 27 Chargers 23, and a trip to the AFC Championship game for the 8th year in a row.

Monday: Plenty of sunshine, though clouds will start to move in late in the day. High 25-32.

Monday night: Cloudy with snow developing after midnight. Low 20-27 in the evening, then temperatures rise after midnight.

Tuesday: Cloudy with snow changing to rain from south to north, ending by early afternoon. Snow accumulation an inch or so from the Merrimack Valley into southern NH, less than an inch elsewhere. High 38-45.

Tuesday night: Cloudy and breezy with rain likely, possibly a little freezing rain or snow across central NH. Low 32-39.

Wednesday: Mostly cloudy and breezy with showers gradually changing to snow showers before ending in the evening. Little snow accumulation expected. High 37-44.

Thursday: A mix of sun and clouds, breezy, and colder. High 30-37.

Friday: Mostly sunny and cold. High 18-25.

Saturday: A sunny start, clouds move in during the afternoon. High 21-28.

Sunday: Mostly cloudy with a chance for snow. High 23-30.