A Chilly Weekend is Coming, a Little Snow too?

By now, you’ve heard the TV meteorologists talking about how it’s going to snow, or you’ve read the headlines about an “historic May snowstorm” that’s coming. As usual, we at Storm HQ will avoid the hype and just give you the facts. Yes, there will be some snowflakes around here and no, it won’t be a big deal at all.

A cold front is moving across the Great Lakes this afternoon, and it move across our area tonight, with plenty of clouds and possibly a few showers. Behind that front, much colder air will start to move into the region. This is an anomalously cold airmass for early May, and in fact, is more representative of early March. That front is expected to stall out near the South Coast, and then a wave of low pressure will develop along the front and ride along it, crossing southern New England Friday night and early Saturday.

The ECMWF model shows the progression of the system for Friday into Saturday. Loop provided by Pivotal Weather.

We’ll have some rain moving in Friday afternoon and evening, but as the sun sets and temperatures drop, some wet snow will start to mix in. The most likely spots for snow are in the hilly terrain from northern Rhode Island across Worcester County and into the Monadnocks of southwestern New Hampshire, as well as out in the Berkshires. However, we wouldn’t be surprised if there was some wet snow mixed in with the rain even into the suburbs of Boston.

As we mentioned with the last few storms, it’s awfully tough to get accumulating snow into early May for a variety of reasons. For one, the ground is fairly mild. Any accumulations will be mainly on grassy surfaces, as pavement temperatures are much too warm now. Secondly, temperatures may not even drop to freezing, but could stay in the middle to upper 30s. Third, the intensity of the precipitation will be key. Heavier precipitation will bring down colder air from aloft, resulting in the change to snow, whereas light precipitation will tend towards more rain.

As far as accumulations, as we said, we’re not expecting this to be a big deal for most of us. You may wake up Saturday morning, if you’re up early enough, to see a little bit of a coating on grassy surfaces, decks, and car roofs/windshields. As we mentioned, most of the accumulations will be confined to the hilly terrain, where a few inches could fall.

Snow is fairly rare once you get into May. Using data for Lowell, snow has been recorded 5 times during the month of May over the past 92 years, and measurable snow only twice.

5/11/1945 – Trace
5/1/1953 – Trace
5/10/1977 – 2.6″
5/6/1996 – Trace
5/18/2002 – 1.0″

The ECMWF model is closest to our thinking for snowfall with this storm. Image provided by WeatherBell.

The snow is only part of the story though, and in fact, a minor part. As the storm intensifies while pulling away on Saturday, gusty winds are expected across the area. West winds of 15-25 mph with gusts of 40-50 mph are expected, especially along the coast. At the same time, an upper-level low pressure area will be moving into the region, bringing in very cold weather. That upper low may trigger a few rain or snow showers in the afternoon, but the cold temperatures will be the story. High temperatures likely will stay in the 40s, which may set records for the lowest high temperatures for the date in many locations.

Record low high temperatures are possible across parts of the region on Saturday. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

The really cold weather will be short-lived, as we will start to moderate on Mother’s Day as high pressure builds in. However, if you’re hoping for some sustained warmth, it’s not coming anytime soon. There are some hints that we may get out of the pattern that’s kept us quite chilly for most of April and early May in another 10 days or so, but a “warm” pattern is still a ways off.

Temperature forecast for the next 45 days for Bedford, Massachusetts based on the 51 members of the ECMWF Ensemble forecast. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

The image above is the high and low temperature forecast for Bedford for the next 45 days, based on the ECMWF Ensemble, which has 51 separate members. The solid red and blue lines in the middle of each graph are the “normal” highs/lows for each day. The green dot is the average of the 51 members for each day (which is also represented numerically in the middle of the 2 charts), and the shaded gray area is the area that between 1/4 and 3/4 of the members fall. The horizontal blue lines above and below that are the extreme on each day. As you can see, this model is forecasting temperatures to remain well below normal through May 14-15. After that, temperatures generally average near or a little below normal until June 9. Granted, “normal” for those dates is upper 60s to near 70 for high temperatures, so it’ll be milder, but still a little cooler than we should be. Finally, we get to near or a little above normal for a sustained period around June 10. Now this is just one model, so take it with a grain of salt, but it’s done fairly well diagnosing the general details of our weather pattern for several weeks now. There is hope that you can finally take your summer clothes out of storage, perhaps as early as next weekend.

Weekly Outlook: May 4-10, 2020

The weather really was fantastic this weekend, wasn’t it? Spring has finally arrived! Hope you enjoyed it, because you won’t see it again for a while, certainly not this week.

Temperatures reached the 70s away from the South Coast on Sunday, with a few spots reaching 80 for the 1st time this year. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

We’ll start the week off with what will probably be the best day of the week, certainly the warmest. It won’t be as warm as the weekend, but temperatures will still be close to normal for early May. The problem is, we’ll have a cold front moving through, with some clouds, and maybe a shower or two. Gusty northwest winds behind the front will usher some cooler air into the region. Winds will start to die down on Tuesday as high pressure builds in, but temperatures will be noticeably cooler.

Clouds return on Wednesday as another system moves into the Mid-Atlantic states. This system will pass south of the region Wednesday night into early Thursday, likely producing some showers. Another shot of colder air settles in behind that system as an upper-level low pressure area drops southward from Canada. This sets us up for a very chilly end of the week and weekend.

Some frost is possible in the suburbs Saturday morning. Keep that in mind if you’ve got some things planted outside already. Image provided by WeatherBell.

As the upper-level low settles in, a weak disturbance rotating around it will move in on Friday, with plenty of clouds, a few showers, and unseasonably chilly temperatures. Another low pressure area will then move off the Mid-Atlantic coast and head northeastward, passing south and east of the region late Saturday into early Sunday. This will bring in some more rain, but that might not be all. The airmass moving in for the weekend is one that is more typical of early March than early May. Daytime highs may not reach 50, and the rain will make it feel that much worse. At night, as temperatures drop, there’s even a chance that some wet snow could mix in, especially across the hills of Worcester County and Northern Rhode Island. While this is highly unusual, it is not unprecedented. On May 9, 1977, a late-season storm produced snow across a large portion of southern New England, away from the coastline, with 1-2 feet in the hills of Worcester County. We also had up to 1″ of snow in some of the northwestern suburbs of Boston on May 18, 2002.

A late-season storm brought heavy snow to the region on May 9, 1977. Image provided by Tomer Burg.

The system pulls away early Sunday, then high pressure builds back in with clearing and chilly conditions for Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, it looks like the cool pattern will continue into the following week. In fact, we may not see any sustained warmth until we get past the middle of May. We know that’s not what you want to hear, but it’s how we see things right now.

Monday: Intervals of clouds and sunshine, breezy, chance for a few showers, favoring the South Coast in the morning. High 60-67.

Monday night: Clearing, breezy. Low 34-41.

Tuesday: Sunshine and a few clouds. High 52-59.

Tuesday night: Clear to partly cloudy. Low 34-41.

Wednesday: Partly to mostly cloudy, showers develop at night. High 53-60, coolest along the coast.

Thursday: Plenty of clouds with showers likely, especially during the morning. High 50-57, coolest along the coast.

Friday: Early sun, then some afternoon clouds, breezy. High 52-59.

Saturday: Mostly cloudy with showers likely, possibly mixed with some wet snow across the hills of Worcester County and northern Rhode Island. High 45-52.

Sunday: Partly sunny and breezy. High 46-53.

Weekly Outlook: April 27-May 3, 2020

Here we are in the final days of April, and we’re still talking about snow. Don’t worry, it won’t cause any problems but the fact remains that it’s still in the forecast. Much of the rest of the week won’t be a lot better.

The week starts off with an absolutely miserable day on Monday. Low pressure will be meandering around south of New England, keeping us cloudy, cool, and rather wet, with occasional showers. Across the hills from Worcester County into the Monadnocks, there will likely be some flakes flying, especially in the morning and again late in the day. Temperatures will likely stay in the upper 30s and 40s all day today, which is 20-25 degrees below normal for late April. By Monday night the storm will start to slowly pull away, but things won’t improve that quickly. In fact, Monday night will be even more miserable, as the lingering showers may mix with or change over to wet snow across much of southern New Hampshire and eastern Massachusetts. There may be enough to coat the grass in some spots, but this shouldn’t be a big deal.

High temperatures are in the lower 60s on average at the end of April around here. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

The low finally pulls away on Tuesday, but with an upper-level low crossing the Northeast, we’ll still have plenty of clouds, a few showers, and some cool temperatures. We’ll finally see some clearing Tuesday night, and then as Wednesday begins, the sun should make a return. It won’t last too long, as clouds will start to stream back in during the afternoon as yet another storm system heads toward the region.

Even though April has been fairly wet, precipitation is still below normal since the start of the year across much of the Northeast. Image provided by the Northeast Regional Climate Center.

Thursday is looking like a very wet day as low pressure heads into the Great Lakes. It’s also looking quite breezy, but it’s not looking as cold as today. We could be looking at wind gusts of 40-50 mph once again. A southerly flow ahead of the storm will bring plenty of moisture up from the Gulf of Mexico and the Bahamas, so we could be looking at quite a bit of rain later on Thursday into Thursday night. This isn’t a bad thing, as we still need more rain, despite the already wet month of April. Rain should taper off late Thursday night, but another upper-level low moves through on Friday, so we’re looking at more clouds, and likely some more showers.

We could be looking at some very heavy rainfall totals for Thursday into Friday. Image provided by WeatherBell.

This brings us to next weekend. Finally, we’ll see some improvement. High pressure builds in on Saturday, so we’ll see sunshine and milder temperatures. We’ll still be under the influence of the upper-level low, so some clouds will pop up, and there’s a slight chance for another shower. Sunday is the tricky day. We’ll have a cold front approaching the region, likely producing some showers. However, ahead of the front, if we can get some sunshine, temperatures could make a run at 70 degrees.

70 on Sunday? It’s a possibility. We’ll see what changes as the week goes on. Image provided by WeatherBell.

Monday: Cloudy and breezy with occasional showers, possibly mixed with some wet snowflakes across the hills early in the day and again late in the day. High 37-44.

Monday night: Cloudy with a few rain or snow showers possible. Low 31-38.

Tuesday: Mostly cloudy with a few lingering showers along the coastline early, a few sunny breaks are possible late in the day. High 45-52.

Tuesday night: Clearing. Low 31-38.

Wednesday: Sunny in the morning, clouds start to filter back in during the afternoon. High 50-57, a little cooler along the coast.

Thursday: Cloudy and windy with rain developing, possibly heavy at times late in the day and at night. High 49-56.

Friday: Mostly cloudy and breezy with steady rain ending early, but a few showers may pop up in the afternoon, a few sunny breaks are also possible. High 58-65.

Saturday: A mix of sun and clouds, slight chance for a shower. High 59-66.

Sunday: More clouds than sun, showers possible during the afternoon. High 62-69, cooler right along the coast.

If you’re curious as to when the warmer weather will be here to stay, it looks like this pattern will continue through the 1st 2 weeks of May. Beyond that, things should start to improve, with a pattern change possibly bringing us temperatures that are near to above normal for the latter half of May.

Weekly Outlook: April 20-26, 2020

Today was supposed to be our unofficial start to Spring. Patriots Day is when we finally feel like Spring has arrived. Thousands of runners heading from Hopkinton to Boston. Sox fans having hot dogs and beer for breakfast with first pitch at 11:05am for the only morning game in the major leagues all season. Re-enactments of Paul Revere’s ride and the Battles of Lexington and Concord. Instead, it’s just another day with people stuck in their houses, but the weather wasn’t going to be that great to be outside anyway.

As far as we’re concerned, Patriots Day is the best day of the year. Image provided by the New York Times.

The week starts of with low pressure passing well south and east of New England. In fact, it’ll be far enough offshore that aside from a few showers across the Cape and the Islands, most of us will just have clouds and cool temperatures. Tuesday will be a different story. We’ll have some sunshine to start, but low pressure moving across southern Canada will drag a strong cold front across the region. As that front moves into the region showers and some thunderstorms are expected during the afternoon and into the evening. We’re not expecting widespread severe weather like they had along the Gulf Coast, but a few storms could become strong, with gusty winds, heavy downpours, and possibly some small hail.

There is a marginal risk for some severe weather on Tuesday across most of the region. Image provided by the Storm Prediction Center.

Behind the front, skies quickly clear out Tuesday night, but strong northwest winds will usher much cooler air into the region. It will remain breezy and chilly on Wednesday as an upper-level low crosses the region, with a few sprinkles possible. High pressure then builds in for Thursday with milder conditions, but clouds will start to move as another storm system heads toward the region.

Wednesday looks like it will be a frosty morning, so if you’ve got any tender vegetation outside, you may want to take care of it. Image provided by WeatherBell.

Low pressure will move out the Tennessee Valley then re-develop off the Mid-Atlantic coastline Thursday night, heading northeastward on Friday. This is where the uncertainty starts to increase. There are some models that show the system staying just a bit too far south, with most of the rain confined to the South Coast or offshore. Other models have showers move in Thursday night, with rain, possibly heavy at times through the day on Friday, ending late in the day. One model even has the rain change to snow before ending across parts of southern New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts. At this point, any of these solutions could be valid. For now, we’re going somewhere in the middle, with Friday being a rather wet day, with the heaviest rain south of the Mass Pike.

There is quite a bit of uncertainty among the models in regards to Friday’s forecast. Image provided by Pivotal Weather.

We’ll dry out a bit on Saturday, but another system quickly follows, but again, there’s questions about the timing and evolution of that system. It looks like we’ll have some showers come through Saturday night, then a stronger coastal storm may move in for somewhere around Sunday and/or Monday. Next Sunday could be a rainy and possibly windy day, but it’s still a little early to be sure. Then again, it’s not like most of us would have any outdoor plans anyway.

Monday: Plenty of clouds, chance for a few showers across the Outer Cape and Islands. High 48-55, coolest along the coast.

Monday night: Skies clear out. Low 30-37.

Tuesday: Sunny during the morning, then clouds return, showers and thunderstorms likely during the afternoon, becoming breezy. High 51-58.

Tuesday night: Showers and storms end in the evening, then clearing, windy, and colder. Low 27-34.

Wednesday: Sunshine and some afternoon clouds. High 41-48.

Thursday: Sunshine gradually fades behind increasing afternoon clouds. High 51-58.

Friday: Cloudy and breezy with rain likely, especially south of the Mass Pike where some heavier rain is possible. High 48-55, coolest along the coast.

Saturday: Some morning sun, then clouds return, breezy. High 54-61, cooler along the coast.

Sunday: Cloudy with more rain possible. High 48-55.

Snowy Saturday Morning

Yes, snow is still on the way, and this is an update to our forecast, but it really hasn’t changed that much.

Low pressure will move out of the Ohio Valley today, passing south of New England early on Saturday. We’ll have some cold air in place, so many of us will have some snow Saturday morning, but don’t worry, it won’t be a lot, and it won’t hang around for too long.

The precipitation will move in around midnight, and it will likely start as rain for most of us, with temperatures still in the upper 30s to lower 40s. However, it will quickly change over to snow as temperatures drop into the middle 30s. It looks like there may be a burst of moderate to heavy snow overnight, especially along and south of the Massachusetts Turnpike. A change back to rain is expected towards daybreak, except in the hills from northern Rhode Island into Worcester County and the Monadnocks in southwestern New Hampshire.

The GFS model shows the progression of snow and rain across the region. Loop provided by WeatherBell.

As we mentioned yesterday, it’s awfully tough to get accumulating snow in mid-April for a variety of reasons, but there are some things that will help this time. First of all, most of the snow will fall at night. Once the sun comes up, the sun angle is similar to late August, so once we get past about 7-8am, even if there are still flakes falling, there won’t be any more accumulation. Second of all, temperatures will be close to freezing. Third, the snow may come down at a decent clip, which will help bring down a little bit of colder air from aloft. Working against accumulating snow is the fact that the ground is warm. Any accumulations will be mainly confined to grassy surfaces, as the pavement is considerably warmer. There may be a little slush on paved surfaces, but not much. Also, we’re not going to have a large window of time for accumulating snow. As we said, the precipitation will start as rain around midnight before flipping to snow. Once it does start snowing, it will take a little time to start accumulating, due to the wet/warm ground. That will take until 1-2am, and by 7am, the daylight will help put an end to accumulations. So, we’ve really only got about 5-6 hours of accumulating snow out of this system.

Temperatures likely won’t drop below freezing across most of the region tonight. Image provided by WeatherBell.

So, how much do we expect now? Our thinking really hasn’t changed too much from yesterday. The jackpot is still going to be in the Worcester Hills and the Monadnocks, where 3-5″ is expected, possibly some heavier amounts. For the rest of us, a general 1-3″ from southern New Hampshire into the Merrimack Valley and Metro West, as well as the Seacoast of New Hampshire. The immediate Boston area will probably see around 1 inch. The biggest question mark for us is the area south of the Mass Pike into northern Connecticut, northern Rhode Island, and parts of southeastern Massachusetts. There will be some heavier precipitation here, but temperatures may also be a bit milder. Right now, we’re thinking 1-2″ for places like Woonsocket, Brockton, and Taunton, but it could end up a bit more if there is that heavier burst of snowfall. It also could end up less if temperatures stay in the upper 30s instead of dropping into the middle 30s.

The GFS model remains closest to our thinking for snowfall amounts. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

The rest of Saturday will feature rain showers and temperatures in the upper 30s to lower 40s, which will help melt away some of the snow from the morning. Skies will clear out at night, but clouds will come back in Sunday afternoon ahead of the next storm system. The good news is that Sunday will see temperatures well into the 50s and lower 60s, so that should take care of the rest of the snow. That next system? It’ll stay well offshore, but may produce a few rain showers on Monday. Is this the last time we’ll see snow until the fall/winter? Possibly. History says it can snow as late as mid-May here, so we can’t completely rule it out. In yesterday’s blog, we mentioned the possibility of flakes around April 28-29, based on the ECMWF Ensemble and its 51 members. Well, the newest run of that model no longer has that threat, but a significant portion of the ensemble members have at least a trace of snow for parts of the area around May 2, with a little bit of wet snow mixed in during a rainstorm. So, there’s a good chance tonight is our last accumulating snow for several months, but it might not be the last time we see some snowflakes. That same model also shows high temperatures near or above 70 on a regular basis starting around the middle of May.

Snow? Really?

After a winter where we didn’t really have much snow, it does look like there is some more coming, for at least part of the region.

Snowfall was well below normal across most of the region this winter. Image provided by the Northeast Regional Climate Center.

Some of you woke up to the ground being white this morning after a disturbance moved through with some snow and rain showers. Well, a similar occurrence is possible Saturday morning. A weak storm system will pass south of the region Friday night and Saturday. We’ll have some cold air (relative to mid-April) in place, with temperatures generally in the lower to middle 30s, especially north and west of Boston. As the system moves in, precipitation will develop late Friday night, and it will likely be in the form of snow north of the Massachusetts Turnpike. Light snow will fall through the early morning hours changing to rain across most of eastern Massachusetts, but possibly staying all snow from the Worcester Hills into the Monadnocks and maybe even southern New Hampshire before it ends during the afternoon.

A weak storm will bring in some light snow and rain Friday night and Saturday. Loop provided by Pivotal Weather.

It’s awfully tough to get accumulating snow in mid-April for a variety of reasons, but there are some things that will help this time. First of all, a lot of the snow will fall at night. Once the sun comes up, the sun angle is similar to late August, so it’s awfully tough to accumulate in the daytime. Second of all, temperatures will be close to freezing. Third, the snow may come down at a decent clip, which will help bring down a little bit of colder air from aloft. Working against accumulating snow is the fact that the ground is warm. There aren’t many sources for ground temperatures, and the nearest station is in Bennington County, Vermont, but even there, the latest reading shows a soil temperature of 37, which is 3 degrees above normal. On pavement, it will have an even tougher time accumulating, if it at all. Despite air temperatures in the 40s and lower 50s this afternoon, pavement temperatures are in the 60s and 70s, thanks to the sunshine. They’ll drop at night, but with air temperatures staying above freezing, the pavement temperatures will as well. Any snow that does accumulate should quickly melt Saturday afternoon and evening, as rain and milder temperatures eat away at it.

It’s also fairly rare to get accumulating snow in late April. The last time that Boston or Providence had 1″ or more in late April or May was on April 28, 1987! In Lowell, 1″ or more has been recorded after April 16 only 6 times in the past 92 years, and the last one was on May 18, 2002. This is why we never declare winter to be “over” in March or even early April. Having said that, we’re not convince this is the last time we’ll see any flakes this season either. Many members of the ECMWF Ensemble are signalling the potential for some flakes around April 28-29. Will it happen? We’ll see. For now, it’s something to keep in the back of our mind and pay attention to.

So, how much snow are we expecting? Not much. For those of you inside I-495, you’ll see some flakes, but there will be little to no accumulation. From the Merrimack Valley into Southern New Hampshire, a coating to an inch, mainly on grassy surfaces. As you get into the hills of Worcester County and the Monadnocks, some places could see 2-4 inches of accumulation.

The GFS model is probably closest to our thinking for snowfall. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

We’re aware that many models are forecasting more snow than this, and over a wider area. However, the models are just tools, and knowledge an experience are a big factor in our forecasts. We explained why it’s tough to get accumulating snow at this time of year, and many of the models don’t factor that in. This is why you should always follow a trusted source for your forecasts. There are plenty of “Facebook Forecasters” out there who will just regurgitate the models, and gleefully tell you that 2-4″ or more is expected. Sure, it’s possible, but in reality, it’s not likely.

Another storm will pass south and east of New England on Monday, likely too far offshore to have much of an impact on us, but we’ll keep an eye on it anways. After that, as we mentioned earlier, we’ll keeping an eye on the period around April 28-29. Hopefully that doesn’t pan out and winter is truly over. However, this is New England, so who knows. For now, stay safe, and watch the snow fall Saturday morning.

Weekly Outlook: April 13-19, 2020

We’ve got quite the storm coming in to start the week, but it’s not the only one that may impact us before the week is out.

The high-resolution NAM model depicts the progression of rain across the region with some embedded thunderstorms during the afternoon. Loop provided by Tropical Tidbits.

Low pressure will head through the Great Lakes and into Ontario today, bringing some very adverse weather into the region. We’ll have periods of rain, possibly heavy at times throughout the day, with some thunderstorms possible as well. The biggest threat will be the wind. High Wind Warnings have been posted for nearly all of Southern New England, with Wind Advisories for southern portions of New Hampshire and Maine. Sustained southerly winds of 25-35 mph are likely, with gusts to 50 mph or more common, especially in southern New England. This would be enough to take down some trees and power lines, but it could end up being worse. Not far above the surface, winds will be screaming out of the south at 90-100 mph. We’ll have some relatively stable air below that, keeping those winds aloft from getting down to the surface for the most part. However, some of the heavier downpours, especially in thunderstorms, will help bring some of those strong winds down during the afternoon, which could result in wind gusts of 60-70 mph or more, especially across southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Wind gusts could exceed 60 mph across much of the region this afternoon. Image provided by WeatherBell.

A cold front moves through during the evening, bringing an end to the rain, and allowing winds to rapidly diminish at night as they shift into the west. High pressure then builds in for Tuesday with some sunshine, but it will remain breezy as Monday’s storm moves into northern Quebec. Clouds come right back in Tuesday night as low pressure rides along a front stalled out south of New England. It looks like this system will remain fairly far to the south, with the best chance for any shower activity across the South Coast, Cape Cod, and the Islands. Another weak disturbance may bring in a few showers on Thursday. High pressure then builds in for Friday and the weekend, but we’ll have to keep our eyes on a couple of systems that look like they’ll stay south of the region right now.

Monday: Windy with rain, heavy at times, possibly some thunderstorms. High 56-63.

Monday night: Rain ending in the evening, then becoming partly cloudy with diminishing winds. Low 37-44.

Tuesday: A mix of sun and clouds, breezy. High 51-58.

Tuesday night: Partly to mostly cloudy. Low 35-42.

Wednesday: Plenty of clouds with a few showers possible along the South Coast and across Cape Cod. High 45-52.

Thursday: More clouds than sunshine, breezy, slight chance for a few showers. High 43-50.

Friday: Sunshine and some afternoon clouds, breezy. High 45-52.

Saturday: Partly to mostly sunny. High 48-55.

Sunday: A mix of sun and clouds. High 52-59.

More Strong Winds and Rain for Monday

A rather strong storm system will wreak all sorts of havoc on a large swath of the nation through the weekend and into Monday.

Low pressure will move out of the Plains states today and into the Great Lakes later Sunday into early Monday. Loop provided by Tropical Tidbits.

Low pressure is moving into the Plains states today, producing some strong to severe thunderstorms from Texas into the Southern Plains. That’s just the start of what will be a busy few days. As the storm moves into the southern Plains tonight, showers and thunderstorms, some strong to severe, will spread from Texas into the Mississippi Valley. To the north, snow is expected across the Central Plains. Some locations could pick up 6-12 inches this weekend in a swath from Nebraska and South Dakota into parts of Iowa, southern Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

A severe weather outbreak is possible across a large portion of the South on Easter Sunday. Image provided by the Storm Prediction Center.

Easter Sunday is the day that will likely grab most of the headlines away from the pandemic for a day. As the system moves into the Ohio Valley, warm, moist air will be drawn northward from the Gulf of Mexico, and as this clashes with the cold air advancing southward behind the storm, the ingredients will be in place for a severe weather outbreak. Severe weather may be ongoing as Easter Sunday dawns across the Lower Mississippi Valley, but activity will spread eastward during the day across the Deep South and the Tennessee Valley. Some of the stronger storms may produce damaging winds, large hail, torrential downpours, and likely numerous tornadoes. The risk will continue well into the overnight hours, especially in Georgia, eastern Tennessee and western portions of the Carolinas.

The severe weather threat shifts to the East Coast on Monday. Image provided by the Storm Prediction Center.

By Monday, the system will move into Ontario, dragging a strong cold front across the Eastern United States. Warm, humid air will continue to flow northward ahead of this front, triggering more showers and thunderstorms during the morning and early afternoon from northern Florida into the Mid-Atlantic states. Some of these storms could produce hail, strong winds, heavy downpours, and some tornadoes, especially from the Carolinas to the Delmarva Peninsula.

Heavy snow is likely from Wisconsin in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan Sunday into early Tuesday. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

To the north, heavy snow will continue behind the storm from northern Wisconsin into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and Ontario. Snowfall totals of 10-20 inches or more are likely. Winds gusting to 40-50 mph will create significant blowing and drifting of the snow, with blizzard conditions at times.

Precipitation has been below normal across much of the Northeast during the first 100 days of 2020. Image provided by the Northeast Regional Climate Center.

Here in the Northeast, the big story will be the wind. Rain will be a secondary concern, with rainfall totals of 1-2 inches possible across much of the region. Some embedded thunderstorms may produce heavier downpours, especially in western New England and eastern New York, but flooding isn’t much of a concern. Precipitation has been below normal across much of the area through a good chunk of the winter and early Spring, so we need all the rain we can get, though maybe not quite this much at once. There will be some ponding on the roadways, and some of the smaller streams may overflow, but widespread flooding shouldn’t be a problem. The wind, on the other hand, will be a major problem.

High Wind Watches are in effect for parts of the Northeast, and these will likely expand over the next 12-24 hours. Image provided by Pivotal Weather.

As the system gets cranked up in Ontario, strong southerly winds will develop across the region. These will bring milder air into the region. We won’t quite reach the 90s that will set records across Florida on Monday, but 50s and 60s are still a bit above normal for mid-April around here. Southerly winds will increase Monday morning, with sustained winds of 25-35 mph expected during the afternoon. Wind gusts of 60-70 mph or higher are expected as well. This will likely result in power outages as they take down trees that are starting to show their leaves, along with power lines. Winds should start to diminish during the evening as a cold front moves through, bringing an end to the rain and shifting the winds into the west.

Wind gusts of 60-70 mph or higher could be widespread Monday afternoon. Image provided by WeatherBell.

Conditions should improve on Tuesday as high pressure builds in with some sunshine developing, but it will still be breezy as the now-powerful storm moves into northern Quebec, where heavy snow will likely continue.

A Little Bit of Everything on Thursday

An approaching storm system will make for quite the interesting Thursday across New England.

The low pressure system that will generate severe weather across parts of the Mississippi and Ohio Valleys this afternoon and evening will head northeastward tonight, and pass right over New England on Thursday. It will produce a variety of weather across our six-state region, depending on where you’re located. Across southern New England, we’ll have heavy rain, possibly some thunderstorms, and strong winds. Across northern New England, this could turn out to be quite a snowstorm.

The High-Resolution NAM model shows the progression of the system over the next couple of days. Loop provided by Tropical Tidbits.

Starting with southern New England, we’ll see showes developing during the morning, becoming a steady rain during the afternoon. With warmer air moving at the surface, thunderstorms may develop as the system moves in. Some of these storms may produce gusty winds, and hail, as there will be plenty of cold air aloft with an upper-level low pressure system moving into the Northeast.

The Storm Prediction Center has placed most of Southern New England under a marginal risk for severe weather on Thursday. Image provided by the Storm Prediction Center.

The rain and thunderstorms should come to an end by late afternoon, but that’s only half of the threat. A cold front will cross the region, with strong winds likely behind it. Sustained winds of 20-30 mph, with gusts of 40-50 mph or higher are likely. These winds may diminish a bit overnight, but will likely pick back up on Friday as the storm continues to intensify across eastern Canada. That upper-level low pressure area will also be overhead, so we’ll have plenty of clouds and a few showers popping up. With the cold air aloft, some of those showers could produce some small hail or graupel.

Wind gusts could exceed 50 mph in places Friday afternoon. Image provided by WeatherBell.

While we are dealing with strong winds and thunderstorms, it’ll be a completely different story across northern New England. Temperatures will be much cooler across Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, with much of the precipitation falling in the form of snow, especially in the mountains. Some of the snow will be quite heavy, with a foot or more possible, especially across Maine and northern New Hampshire. Winter Storm Watches are in effect for parts of the region. The snow will also be accompanied by strong winds, gusts to 40 mph or more, which may create blizzard conditions at times. There’s already little travel going on due to the pandemic, but there should be even less over the next few days.

Parts of northern New England, especially Maine and northern New Hampshire, could pick up more than a foot of snow Thursday into Friday. Image provided by WeatherBell.

The snow should wind down on Friday, but with the upper-level low in place, snow showers may continue. Some of those snow showers may spread into the Berkshires as colder air works its way in. Some wet snow is even possible into the Worcester Hills and Monadnocks.

High pressure will build in for the weekend with drier weather, but our next system looks to move in on Monday. That one looks like a rain-maker right now, and it might produce a decent amount of rainfall. We’ve been a bit dry this winter, so we need all the rain we can get right now to avoid slipping into a drought.

Weekly Outlook: April 6-12, 2020

Another week when you’re stuck in the house, and for at least a few days this week, that might not be a bad thing.

The week starts off with high pressure in control, which will result in a pair of very nice days for Monday and Tuesday. Monday will feature sunshine, mild temperatures and gusty winds, while Tuesday will feature less wind, but a little more cloud cover in the afternoon, as well as a seabreeze along the coast. The clouds will be streaming in ahead of a low pressure system moving out of the Great Lakes. A backdoor cold front will slip down the coastline Tuesday night and that low pressure area will ride along it. It will bring in some rain Wednesday morning, along with some cooler weather.

Temperatures could be quite mild this afternoon. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

While the rain will end Wednesday morning as low pressure pulls away, Wednesday will remain cloudy and chilly thanks to a northeast flow off the Atlantic. Another system quickly follows on Thursday, with more rain likely, possibly even a few wet snowflakes, especially across southern New Hampshire and some of the hilly terrain in central Massachusetts. The rain ends as the system pulls away Thursday night, but an upper-level low pressure area will remain nearby, keeping the region rather cool for the weekend. It will also keep clouds around, and possibly a few showers, especially on Friday. A storm system may bring in some rain on Sunday, but at this time, it looks like it may hold off until Monday, so we’ll keep the forecast dry for now (not that you can really go out and do anything right now).

Thursday’s storm system may produce some gusty winds across much of the region. I age provided by WeatherBell.

Monday: Sunshine and some high clouds, breezy. High 56-63.

Monday night: Partly to mostly cloudy. Low 35-42.

Tuesday: A mix of sun and clouds. High 57-64.

Tuesday night: Mostly cloudy with showers developing after midnight. Low 35-42.

Wednesday: Plenty of clouds, showers ending in the morning. High 44-51.

Thursday: Cloudy and becoming windy with rain likely, ending in the evening. Some wet snow may mix in across some of the hilly terrain. High 45-52.

Friday: Some morning sun, then becoming partly to mostly cloudy and breezy with a few showers possible. High 45-52.

Saturday: A mix of sun and clouds, breezy. High 45-52.

Sunday: Morning sunshine, clouds start to move in during the afternoon. High 47-54.