The morning runs of the computer models are in… and we’re now roughly 36 hours away from the event, so it’s time to issue a preliminary storm forecast. Please keep in mind… these are preliminary figures, subject to change. The exact track could have major implications for snowfall totals.
Preliminary Storm Timeline
- Light snow begins Monday, between 6am and 10am from southwest to northeast
- Light snow falls periodically thru the day on Monday… accumulating up to 2 inches.
- Snow becomes steadier Monday night, heavy at times after midnight, with increasing wind
- Heavy snow Tuesday morning, with blowing snow and howling winds
- Periods of moderate to heavy snow continue thru Tuesday afternoon and into Tuesday night
- Snow tapers off early Wednesday
Preliminary Snow Accumulation
- Zones 1: 5 to 8 inches
- Zones 2: 8 to 14 inches
- Zones 3, 5 & 6: 10 to 20 inches (locally higher amounts)
- Zone 4, 7, 8 9: 12 to 24 inches (locally higher amounts)
In the past 12 hours… every major model continues to show a major nor’easter. The GFS model, the NAM model and the Canadian model continue to be slightly further east of the track shown by the European model. Even if the storm takes the more easterly track, parts of the Hudson Valley will see a foot of snow.
However… the European model’s track record speaks for itself. It is widely regarded as the superior weather computer forecasting tool. With that said, for 3 straight runs (36 hours), it has generated a solution that would result in an historic snowfall for the Hudson Valley (between 20 and 40 inches). Due to licensing issues with the European model, here is a graphical recreation of what the European model is currently projecting:
We share that information, not to scare or hype… but so you can make an informed decision. If we simply tell you to prepare for 12″, and then we get 30″….. that could be a life and death situation for some people. Instead… we want to tell you all of the options that exist… so we’re not pulling the rug out from under you Monday afternoon, and doubling or tripling the snowfall total.
There is a LOT of bust potential with this system… simply because of the magnitude of snowfall accumulations we’re talking about. You can see by the graphics above… the idea is very similar, the European is just about 50 miles further west than the other models. So 50 miles could mean the difference between 1 foot… and 3 feet.
Into this forecast there are really 4 things that could either push snowfall totals up… or bring them down:
- Storm Track – as discussed 50 miles can make a world of difference in the weather world, especially when pertaining to nor’easters… and even more so when we’re talking about storms of this magnitude. We’ll need to keep close watch, and fine tune the track in the next 24 hours.
- Snow Ratio – normally, for every 1″ of liquid that falls from the sky, you get 10″ of snow. However, when the air temperatures are colder, that ratio changes. It’s the same principle why you get a heavy wet snow… or a fluffy powder. With temperatures in the teens on Monday and Tuesday, this will be a fluffy powder snowstorm. That is going to change the snow ratio to where for every 1″ of liquid, we get nearly 20″ of snow. The computer models are based on a ratio of 1″ liquid to 10″ of snow.
- Snow Banding – In every snowstorm, snow bands set up. Areas where heavier snow is located as the storm wraps up and intensifies, and pulls moisture into the area. Where these bands set up is impossible to forecast in advance, and can lead to surprise snow totals
- Storm Stalling – This is easily the biggest wildcard as far as we are concerned. The European model stalls the storm out just east of Long Island, and actually backs it in toward the coast for about 12 hours. None of the other models currently have this solution… and it’s really the primary difference between the European model, and the other models. Which idea is correct… we’ll have to wait and see.
We hope to have another update later this evening… after some more data rolls in. There is still a lot of time for details to change, but we’ll share everything we get with you, both here and on the Facebook page.