Quiet Weather Continues Today Ahead Of Nor’easter Set to Begin Tomorrow Night

Hello everyone!

We have another storm on the horizon as low pressure over the Ohio Valley prepares to pass its energy off to a new storm developing off the coast of North Carolina.

We can see the original swirl over the Ohio Valley clearly on Water Vapor satellite imagery this morning. The new swirl offshore will appear sometime tomorrow morning.

Ahead of the swirl and the cloud cover it’s producing, we have clear and calm conditions in place across the region this morning. That means that nighttime cooling has been able to do an exceptionally good job turning down the thermostat. Temps right now range from around 20 below up north to around zero near the coast. With clear skies and light winds, this bitter cold shouldn’t last long but be sure to bundle up if you’re headed outside in the next few hours. High temps this afternoon will range from the upper 10s up north to the mid 20s in the south.

Skies should remain mostly sunny until the mid/late afternoon when mid/high clouds will start filtering in from the southwest.

The storm itself will take its sweet time getting up to our latitude. The first phase of the system, associated with the swirl over the Ohio Valley, is bringing snow to much of the Mid Atlantic this morning. The northeastward advance of the snow will pause for most of today as the first swirl passes its energy to a new swirl offshore.

By tomorrow morning, snow will be moving north once again as the coastal storm gets going.

Out ahead of the main precipitation shield, cold air moving over the relatively-warmer Gulf of Maine will support some ocean effect snow along the immediate coast. With winds mostly from the east, the best shot at a dusting to an inch will be from Casco Bay on south. This snow shouldn’t be heavy nor will it pile up very much, but it will make roads slick in spots so watch out if you’re headed somewhere south of Brunswick and east of the Turnpike starting midmorning tomorrow.

The main push of snow will arrive from south to north during the afternoon and evening hours tomorrow. Snow will become heavy at times especially in the south and especially after dark.

The atmospheric setup tomorrow night is best depicted with some information about what’s happening around 10,000 feet above our heads at what meteorologists call the “700mb level”.

At this altitude, the storm will be centered over New Jersey tomorrow night with a warm front extending into southern New England and out into the Gulf of Maine. That warm front will be strengthening over time, a process known as “frontogenesis”. Why is that important? Where frontogenesis goes, so goes a band of (very) heavy snow. Around midnight tomorrow, that frontogenesis band will be pushing up through southern Maine and central New Hampshire. This is the window to watch for 1-3″ per hour snowfall rates.

After the big heavy snow band driven by frontogenesis, all eyes will turn to the location of the actual warm front at 700mb. Northwest of this boundary, deep moisture and strong lift will continue to produce moderate-heavy snow, even if it isn’t as intense as the big frontogenesis band. Southeast of this boundary, dry air will be moving in aloft and will cut down significantly on precipitation rates and snowfall ratios. This feature may even introduce some mixed precipitation over the Midcoast.

Most guidance this morning indicates that the dry slot will push through most of the area by Tuesday afternoon, leaving only the mountains under the influence of the initial frontogenesis band.

During this time, expect generally light snow mixed with sleet and freezing rain at times east of I-95/I-295. Around this time, all eyes will turn to the third phase of the system which will be rapidly developing southeast of Cape Cod. On the map above, we can see this third low has its own pocket of moisture and another batch of extremely strong frontogenesis. This means that wherever it goes, it will bring a second round of heavy snow. The question of course is its track. Some guidance indicates this low might move northwest towards Rockland, in which case most of western Maine would get another round of heavy snow. Another possibility is that it heads more north towards Machias and brings the heavy snow to Bangor and the rest of northern/eastern Maine.

Right now, I’m leaning more towards the latter scenario mostly because of how unusual it would be to see a low move from southeast to northwest like that. But I’ll be keeping a close eye on trends over the next day or so in case that changes.

So how much snow are we talking?

Here’s my best guess at the moment. Most of the region is likely to see between 8 and 16″ of snow, with higher amounts possible in the pink shaded area and lower amounts expected along the Midcoast and in far western/northwestern areas.

At the moment, my biggest question is regarding the areal extent of 12″+ reports. I have a fairly wide swath of the area in the 12-18″ range but it wouldn’t take much to end up with a lot of 10″ reports in that area instead of a lot of 14″ reports. Farther east, I’m a bit bearish on snow in the Midcoast due to the challenges associated with dry slotting and the shorter duration of heavier snow rates tomorrow night. That said, if the third system ends up tracking farther northwest, I may have to bump up totals especially north of Route 1.

I’ll have another update on the storm tomorrow morning or perhaps this evening if warranted.

-Jack

Seasonably Chilly Today

Hello everyone!

A seasonably cool airmass has moved into the region this morning and temps are a few degrees on either side of zero as I write this just before sunrise. NW breezes continue to push cooler air into the region, and the result will be low clouds stuck up in the mountains, sunshine elsewhere, and another day of relatively cool weather. Highs will range from the mid/high single digits north to around 20 in the south.

-Jack

Colder and Unsettled Today

Hello everyone!

Another day of unsettled weather is on the agenda for today, this time with the added excitement of Arctic air and a powerful Norlun trough.

Temps this morning are on the cooler side of normal, though well within the range of what’s typical for New England in January. Readings are right around zero in the mountains and near 10 along the coast. These cold temps are the result of Arctic air that poured into the region overnight on the back of gusty NW winds which will continue today. That means that wind chills will remain near or below zero for most of the area for most of the day, so bundle up if you’re headed outside!

Farther to our east, maritime air is pushing west from the Canadian Maritimes. The boundary between this cool/moist maritime airmass and the cold/dry Arctic airmass most of the region is experiencing this morning is known as a Norlun trough. These features are known for producing narrow bands of extremely heavy snow. Sure enough, radar imagery this morning shows a nice band of snow extending from Penobscot Bay south into the Gulf of Maine. The big forecast question today is how far inland can this band push as it pivots southwest and eventually south towards Cape Cod.

At the moment, it looks like most of the coastal plain will see at least some snow from this trough today. Parts of the midcoast, especially closer to Penobscot Bay, could pick up a few inches of fluff. Coastal areas farther SW could see up to 1-2″ of snow as the band rotates through this afternoon. Dustings will be more common as you move towards the foothills, while any snow up in the mountains will be driven more by upsloping than this trough feature.

Even those only expecting a dusting to an inch today should use extra caution on the roads as this morning’s cold airmass means that snow will stick immediately and gusty NW winds will easily blow the fluffy snow around. Snow will pivot south of the area by late this afternoon. The heaviest snow will likely fall mid-late morning along the Midcoast and early this afternoon in the Portland area.

Behind this trough, we’ll actually tap into that relatively milder maritime air so high temps will make it all the way up into the 20s along the coast and parts of the foothills closer to Farmington/Augusta. Points farther SW will be a bit cooler in the upper 10s while the mountains stay locked in the high single digits to low 10s.

-Jack

Unsettled and Cooler Today

Hello everyone!

Today will feature cooler temps and continued unsettled weather as yesterday’s weak storm system continues to linger in the Gulf of Maine. Radar imagery this morning suggests that snow is focused mostly along and near the coastline with some precip extending back west into the foothills. Precip may fall as a mix of snow and freezing drizzle depending on exactly how much energy the atmosphere can devote to making snowflakes at any given place at any given time.

Additional accumulations today should be on the light side, but may add up to an inch or so in the most favored spots between Portland, Lewiston, Augusta, and Bath.

Even for those who see little to no snow today, the influence of this disturbance will be felt in the form of persistent cloud cover. Later this afternoon, Arctic air will begin to pour in from the NW on increasingly strong breezes. At that point, downsloping might just be enough to clear out some sunny spots along the coastal plain.

High temps will occur relatively early in the day and will range from the low 20s up in the mountains to the low 30s along the coast.

Much colder air will move in overnight and will set the stage for a quick but potent snow event tomorrow along the coast.

-Jack

Milder and Unsettled Today

Hello everyone!

The weak storm system that brought snow to the region last night is in no hurry to depart the area this morning. As a result, we’ll be left with ENE winds, a maritime airmass, overcast skies, and light snow. As the morning goes on, snow should become lighter and spottier so additional accumulations seem unlikely to exceed a half inch to an inch. The ENE winds on the north side of this system will keep low-level moisture high today, so expect periods of mist/drizzle/light snow/light rain depending on exactly how much lift the atmosphere can generate at any given time and what your temperature is. Speaking of temps, they’ll be on the milder side today thanks to the marine influence of partially-onshore flow. Look for highs in the upper 20s north to upper 30s in SE NH. With some melting this afternoon along the coast followed by subfreezing temps tonight, watch for patchy black ice if you’re headed out and about after sunset this evening or tomorrow morning.

-Jack

Next Weak Storm Approaches Today

Hello everyone!

Another weak and disorganized storm system is on the way tonight which means that calm weather is in store for today. Morning sunshine will gradually give way to afternoon cloudiness as the system approaches, but snow should hold off until after dark except perhaps for a few flakes in far SW NH. High temps look to range from the mid 20s up north to the mid 30s along the NH/MA border.

Snow will move into the area from SW to NE this evening, but will struggle to really get going in the relatively dry airmass over Maine. While almost everyone should see at least a dusting, amounts over 2″ should be limited to central/southern NH and perhaps far SW ME.

Snow will continue to fall lightly tomorrow morning before tapering off. tomorrow afternoon.

-Jack

Calmer and A Bit Warmer Today

Hello everyone!

High pressure will move across the area today which means that yesterday’s gusty NW winds are mostly behind us and temps will start to moderate a bit. Expect highs ranging from the mid 20s north to right around freezing in the south. Though NW winds won’t be nearly as strong as they were yesterday, we do still have a bit of NW flow which means that low clouds are hanging tough up in the mountains while clear skies prevail along the coastal plain. Enjoy the nice weather!

-Jack

Feeling More Like January Today

Hello everyone!

After a disastrously warm first three weeks of January, cold air has finally returned to the region overnight thanks to some gusty NW winds moving in from Canada. We are, believe it or not, right around where we “should” be this time of year as far as temps are concerned. Highs will range from the low 10s up north to the mid 20s in the south. Gusty NW winds will gradually subside as we move into the afternoon which means wind chill values will creep up from -10 in the south and -20 in the north to about +5-10 in the south and -5-10 in the north. Bundle up if you’re headed outside!

Skies will range from overcast NW of the mountains with a few flurries possible to mostly sunny along the coast.

-Jack

Cold and Breezy Today

Hello everyone!

For only the second time this winter season, a blast of Arctic air is headed our direction today. Expect NW winds to pick up throughout the day, becoming quite gusty by this afternoon. High temps will be reached relatively early in the day and will range from the mid 10s north to the upper 20s south. That means that by this afternoon/evening, wind chill values will be falling below zero area-wide. Our incoming airmass is not only cold, but also quite dry. That means that morning snow showers and flurries in southern NH and up in the mountains will fade away this morning leaving dry conditions by this afternoon. Cloud cover should follow the usual upslope/downslope pattern of overcast skies up in the mountains and generally sunny skies closer to the coast.

-Jack

Another Round of Snow Showers Today

Hello everyone!

Yet another cold front is crossing the region today which means yet another round of snow showers and squalls, especially up in the mountains. This afternoon’s round of snow showers follows another batch of light snow that has mostly departed the region but may still produce a few flurries east of I-95 and I-295 this morning. Skies will be mostly cloudy today with the possible exception of some bright spots closer to the coast midday and early in the afternoon.

The main round of squalls will arrive later this afternoon into this evening and could be quite potent. Though short-lived, squalls will produce heavy snow, strong winds, and greatly-reduced visibility. If you encounter a squall while driving, the best plan of action is to pull over and wait for it to pass. Usually these don’t linger over any given area for more than 5-15 minutes.

Snow accumulations today will range from 1-3″ up in the mountains to a dusting elsewhere. It is possible that squalls manage to linger for a little longer over portions of the coast between Saco and Bath due to a weak inverted trough. If this ends up happening, a few spots in this area may manage an inch or even two. Just like summertime thunderstorms, the impacts felt from these squalls in one town may be very different than those felt in the next town over.

High temps today will range from the upper 20s north to the upper 30s in southern NH.

-Jack