We have a lot to discuss and a busy few days ahead of ourselves, as of this morning we continue to have all major forecast models showing a significant storm system along the east coast on Tuesday. The models have continued to be somewhat consistent on this solution for a few days with all agreeing on a storm but less agreement on its development and final track up the coast. What we can agree on is that there will be a storm on Tuesday, over the next two days we will begin to zero in on two different track scenarios, one closer to the coast and one further east, the guidance will continue to dance with each other and even trade sides on their depiction of this scenario. The reason for this is there are multiple pieces of energy at play, as these pieces of energy begin to get better sampled (info from weather balloons and air force flight recon) this data will be fed into the models and they will zero in on the downstream impacts along the east coast. The two major players on the table, are the low pressure itself forming off the Carolina Coast and an upper level low dropping down the Ohio valley, these two pieces will phase and cause explosive development of the low pressure as it heads up the coast, the timing of this phase will have impacts on the track, and earlier phase will deepen the storm earlier, cause the jet stream to enter a negative tilt and track the storm closer to the coast; a later phase means a track further east, and later development.
In this timeframe we are typically very cautious with our forecast, but given the high impact potential of this storm, and the incredible model consensus it is important for us to highlight the best and worst case scenarios while also allowing you all to factor these scenarios into your plans and preparations. ** Keep in mind… these are just projections at this point, but need to be discussed **. With that said, lets talk about possibilities,
First Scenario (Possible 25%): Inland Track
This is a track closer to the coast, this is a scenario that the GFS had been showing but in its latest morning run has shifted east, this track would bring the heaviest axis of snow north and west of I95 with heavy snow fall amounts and very strong winds across our region thanks to a closer track the strongest wind fields are further inland, snowfall amounts in this scenario would likely exceed 12-18 inches, although a closer track may mean warmer air of the ocean infiltrating the upper atmosphere and keeping snow ratios closer the their 10-1 average, while no current data supports this track, here is an old GFS model snow map image from Thursday. Notice the lower snowfall amounts over eastern New England, due to the changeover to rain.
Second Scenario (Favored 50%): The Benchmark
This is a track just west of “the benchmark”, or a track near or just inside of the 40N/70W. It’s called the “benchmark” because it indicates a track the favors heavy snow across our region, and historically is a spot that most major nor easters have tracked over or near. This track would still bring wind gusts in excess of 30MPH causing substantial blowing and drifting snow, and heavy snowfall amounts of 1-2 feet, this track allows even colder air into our region which will raise snowfall ratios to 15-1 or higher, this lighter snow also will increase the probabilities of blizzard conditions across most of the region. Here are a few images from the European and GFS model supporting the potential out come of this track and a graphic showing the “Benchmark”
European projecting the most impressive snowfall and winds, again these details will continue to flip flop over the next few days.
Here are some graphics from the GFS model this morning….
Third Scenario (Possible 25%): Further East
This would be a track east of the benchmark or a later or weaker phased system, this would shift all of the worst impacts east of our region, while we would likely still see snow, the amounts would be lower 6-12 inches, with the strongest winds across the coast and eastern New England. The closest projection of this scenario is the canadian model which brings the storm further east and ofcourse weaker, below are some images.
To bring this all to a conclusion, this is our FIRST in depth update on this storm, meaning that by the 4th the forecast can look different, as explained above this is our opinion based on all current data and historical analogs. You can see that we have currently eliminated the chance of the storm having zero impact on our region, that doesn’t mean that scenario may not creep back into the probabilities but as of now it is unlikely.
We are leaning towards a storm impact for our region beginning as early as Monday Night or after midnight Tuesday morning, peaking on Tuesday, and ending as late as Wednesday afternoon. IF the storm reaches its full potential, we will be looking at a multi day impact, with lingering effects even after the storm ends, very cold air, blowing and drifting snow, reduced visibilities and heavy snowfall amounts are possible with this system.
Nor’easters can be notoriously difficult to forecast, we have seen storms disappear in under 24 hours, but unfortunately you can not wait till that time frame to get ahead of possibilities when a storm may be of such high impact, so this is the best way to highlight those potentials. Nothing will occur verbatim when we are still more that 72 hours from our first impacts, so we ask that you simply stay tuned and factor this potential into your plans, as always we will be all over every step of this, see you all again soon…