Snowiest October on Record?

It won’t take much. Measurable snow has only occurred in the greater Hartford area 3 times since 1905. 1.7″ in 1979, 0.4″ in 1972, and 0.1″ in 1925. In Bridgeport measurable snow occurred only once, 0.5″ in 1979.

The first snowstorm >6″ in the greater Hartford area occurred November 11-12, 1987 when 7.6″ of snow fell during the Veteran’s Day storm.

Our computer models still indicate the possibility for a slushy inch of snow this evening in the higher elevations. In the lower elevations it’s conceivable someone picks up a coating on grassy surfaces but it doesn’t look like a big deal. That said temperatures will drop below freezing statewide which could mean pockets of black ice later tonight.

As I’ve been thinking the storm that some wrote off as one going out to sea is heading back toward the coast for the weekend. The reliable Euro model plus a consensus in our ensembles have shown a westerly track was much more likely than some models were showing.
The operational GFS has jumped on the winter storm bandwagon for the weekend and we’re going to have to watch this storm like a hawk. Even with 6″ of snow we could be talking about damage to trees and power lines with leaves still on the trees.

It’s too early to get into specifics but it’s possible this could turn into a freak winter storm that hasn’t occurred in recent memory. If the storm tracks too far northwest rain would be more likely than snow and if it’s too far southeast precipitation would be light.

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Weekend Storm Threat

72 Hour 18z GFS Forecast (Valid 18z Friday)

Here we go again. Another week and another threat for snow. This threat appears to be a bit less than the previous two.  The big question with this storm is where does a big upper level low track. See the big low (closed black circle) near Buffalo?  That low’s position will determine how much snow we see. If the low winds up south of Connecticut then there’s the potential for a major snowstorm. Yesterday some of our computer models said this was a distinct possibility. Now, however, most models indicate that the low will remain west or even just over us which would prevent a big storm from dumping snow on us.

At this point it appears a couple inches of snow is a good possibility as weak low pressure forms offshore. The big storm will remain east and north of us and spare us from a major nor’easter. We’re still over 72 hours out from the main event so things could change but the odds of a blockbuster (>12″) storm are pretty low at this point. A light to moderate event is more likely. Don’t be surprised if some parts of Connecticut see a 3″-6″ or 4″-8″ kind of event Friday into Saturday.

Snow? Maybe? Finally?

With a monsoon drenching New England this evening and a snowbowl on TV in Chicago I’ve got snow on the mind. The European computer model has been insisting on developing a major nor’easter next Saturday and Sunday. The GFS model shows virtually no storm next weekend. The GFS and Euro ensembles are all over the place but in general are in between the 2 operational models.

12z Euro 500mb Forecast Valid 12z Saturday

The Euro has 2 features worth watching. #1 is a disturbance in the jet stream moving across Texas and Louisiana. Feature #2 is a closed low (the same one that will be over the northeast all week long) splitting up with an intense secondary low developing over the western Great Lakes.

12z Euro Surface Forecast Valid 12z Sunday

The 12z Euro phases features 1 and 2 and results in a major nor’easter or blizzard for New England and the Mid Atlantic.  If this model verified 12″-20″ of snow would be likely along with storm force winds near the coast. This is, by far, the most extreme solution the models have been printing out over the last couple days.

On the other end of the spectrum are recent runs of the GFS. It’s important to note the GFS is not as good of a model as the Euro. Still the disparity in solutions is so substantial it’s hard to run with one over the other. As is the case most of the time the truth probably lies in the middle.

12z GFS 500mb Forecast Valid 12z Saturday

The GFS keeps the closed low strong and in tact over New England and acts as a giant block keeping any storminess way south and east. In addition the southern stream disturbance (labeled #1 in the first image) is extremely weak on the GFS. It’s barely noticeable and not enough to phase especially given the setup over the Great Lakes.

What’s going to happen? It’s really hard to say. The GFS and Euro ensembles are definitely closer to the op Euro than the op GFS run. They do have a storm developing off the coast but not nearly as close to us as the Euro. The pattern does look much more favorable than we’ve seen in recent weeks to get a storm to develop. The issue is going to be getting a strong enough southern stream disturbance and getting the closed low over New England to “spread out” enough to allow something to phase and come north.

Snowy By Friday?

It’s going to be a cold week. No doubt about that.  The high today at Bradley Airport was 35 degrees which was the coldest day since February 16, 2010! Temperatures will remain below normal for the next 7 days – that’s the easy part of the forecast.

The current weather pattern, though cold, is pretty quiet and stagnant. By Friday things get more interesting with a more stormy pattern developing. Late Friday or Saturday our computer models are showing an Alberta Clipper diving through the Great Lakes and approaching New England. As is typically the case there won’t be much moisture for the storm to work with so precipitation will be light. A couple inches of snow isn’t out of the question for parts of New England depending on where the storm tracks and if it starts to redevelop off the coast.

Beyond Friday a more important storm develops by Sunday.  Some models have an intense storm developing west of us and rushing warm air and rain into New England while others develop the storm into a classic nor’easter. Here’s the 12z GFS which would drop over a foot of snow for many of us while the 12z Euro is hundreds of miles west and a big rainstorm. A storm signal is certainly here we just need to figure out where exactly the storm tracks (over the Appalachians or off the coast?). The strength and location of the -NAO block, the track and intensity of Friday’s clipper system, and the strength and location of Pacific energy that helps form this storm are all variables that need to be ironed out. The odds, however, do favor something wintry by next Sunday or Monday and it could be significant.

Stay tuned!