Updates Below (most recent 3:30pm Saturday)
Good Friday morning everyone!
It's good that this historic storm is happening on a Friday afternoon/Saturday in the New England area, because most folks will be home anyway-- but there's always that Friday evening commute that could be scary (ie., if you find yourself on the road at night, you might find yourself there still in the morning). Yes, it's that big of a deal-- but not for everyone over there.
We're going to primarily concentrate on this storm itself, but I might as well get a little bit out of the way as far as how it relates to us...
I talked about this on the blog yesterday, but it bears re-showing for how cool it is (meteorologically speaking). The NAM has some great grid resolution, so its products for our area can often be quite illuminating. Once again we revisit the wind streamlines product to show how our advancing area of low pressure from the west simply becomes absorbed into the intensifying low pressure headed up the coast:
|NAM - Wind Streamlines - Friday AM||NAM - Wind Streamlines - Friday PM||NAM - Wind Streamlines - Saturday AM|
This morning we'll see the trailing cold front approach from the west (note the convergent wind pattern oriented in a line on that left-hand image). But, almost simultaneously as it moves through West Virginia, that storm energy transitions instead into this developing low pressure center off the Jersey coastline (center image), acting like a black hole of sorts for any available moisture in the whole region. By Saturday morning, we've got quite a Nor'easter on our hands near the Boston area.
The breakdown for us:
Friday AM: Showers approach and move into the tri-state...
Friday PM: As the coastal storm intensifies, so will the windflow out of the Northwest (instead of the southeast as indicated in the first image), this will drag clouds back into the mountains and cold air right with it. On the one hand, cloud breaks are possible in our western counties while in the WV mountains a strengthening cloud pack and snow showers developing.
Saturday AM: The moisture gets hogged by our coastal storm, and that means drier air here. Snow showers wind down in the WV Ski resorts, and sunshine works in from the west.
I expect a sharp drop-off in snowfall once we get west of the WV mountains. Places up near Canaan Valley can be looking at 3-6" of snow, but Beckley more like 1-2" if that.
I like how the NAM is representing it:
Traveling on the turnpike south doesn't appear to be a problem, but you probably want to avoid I-68 at night Friday and early Saturday.
Okay, so now let's focus in on New England (because I know a bunch of you happen to like a good snowstorm. The hype is huge up there, and the TV stations have been going crazy with it since Tuesday. Now that we're getting close to the zero-hour, let's see what we're dealing with. Here's a picture that makes things interesting:
|NAM - Clouds / SFC Pressure - Saturday AM|
Is that an "eye" on that huge storm that's dipping below 980mb? Don't be surprised at all to see something like that in reality when things get going. Hurricane-force winds are being warned about along Cape Cod and the eastern coast of the Bay State.
As far as the snowfall goes, there's an interesting spread developing in the models:
|NAM - Snowfall Forecast||GFS - Snowfall Forecast|
The NAM is calling for an all-time whallop! Seriously, the snowfall it's trying to spit out is bigger than the blizzard of 1978 and even involves New York City with a direct hit. This model is implying that 10-15% of the entire US population is going to get stranded. As far as models go, it's a bit too perfect for my taste. That's why I prefer the GFS model, because it understands the impacts of strong warm air wrapping in from the ocean, and the terrain impacts of shadowing along the Pioneer Valley of I-91 (yes, I admit my former experience forecasting New England weather is leaking out here). Also, I have a psychological policy some-what of putting more weight on the solution that brings the least snow. After all, the one in a million storm doesn't happen 999,999 times ;-)
However, even the GFS is predicting a pretty noteworthy storm that should shut down airports and snarl plans of millions. The Boston area is looking at 1 to 3 FEET of snow, but there should be a sharp drop-off as you get to Cape Cod and the south shoreline. I'd hate to be a forecaster in Rhode Island. Imagine seeing anywhere between 3" and 30" of snow in your area. [Oh, wait, Superstorm Sandy brought between 0" and 40" in my market... quite a tough message to communicate in 3 minutes on television ;-) ]
------------------------- Tracking The Storm
For this one, we need a few different maps than what we're used to, just to bring in the New England Area. So here are some :-)
|Southeast Coast Radar/Satellite||New England Radar Loop
|I-68 In Mountains||Dolly Sods (Near Canaan Valley)||New York City (Times Square) Live||Boston (WCVB Cam)|
|Providence, RI||Cranston, RI||Welfleet Beach, MA||I-90 East (Boston Area)|
I'll get some more up during the day today hopefully...
If you're interested in other maps/data, post in the comments below and I'll see if I have time to find them. More than likely I'll leave this post up through Saturday with updates.
Update (5:00pm) - I've put some more weather cameras up there... All of them should pop up to a larger image, or the website that hosts them for a better view.
Our two storms have now merged, so we should start to see the wind field begin to act in one accord, which will swing northwesterly breezes across the lakes and then hitting our favored upslope locations in the WV mountains. At present, it appears the Dolly Sods area and I-68 in the mountains are seeing some snow coming through. Travelers beware, skiiers delight :-)
Update (6:30pm) - I know that some of us couldn't care less about the snow going on in New England, historic storm or not... but if you want to see more live coverage of the event as it is done in that local area, check out this feed from WCVB in Boston... It's amazing that the worst is still hours away. (and those Boston accents are humming!)
Oh yeah, and the flakes are now expanding into the Northeastern WV mountains. We'll just have to see how far they spread. Remember, this one is a miss for most of us, so cold sunshine will be our eventual destination on Saturday.
Update (3:30pm) - This whole storm in the end was a marvelously well-modeled event (though I have to say the GFS did very poorly for the New England area and relatively decently for the local region Friday night). All the hype going on in the Northeast clearly looks warranted. Here's a look at some snow totals up north:
Tolland, CT 35"
Porland, ME 30"
Framingham, MA 30"
Worcester, MA 28"
Hartford, CT 27"
Boston, MA 22"
Providence, RI 20"
Springfield, MA 18"
We got some (much) lighter snows in our WV mountains yesterday night as well. Here are some of those totals...
Snowshoe, WV 3"
Davis, WV 2.5"
Terra Alta, WV 2"
Hacker Valley, WV 0.5"
...Further proving this is THE time to try to get out there and hit the slopes!
For now, we can sit back and enjoy the weekend! Warmer temperatures tomorrow, and then the rains return on Monday.
|Regional Radar/Satellite with Warnings Tracking||
From the Storm Prediction Center (below): Click For a Larger Image
|Activity Overview||Storm Outlook||Watches||Potential Watches||Storm Reports|
|Temperatures||HD Doppler Radar||Estimated Rainfall||Active Warnings|
|Click For Larger||Click For Interactive Radar||Click For Larger||Click For Larger|
Have a great day everyone!