Feb 3, 2011: Another Storm Potential Next Week?

After the major ice storm that affected the area, with freezing rain amounts between 0.2 inch to as much as 0.7 inch, today brought a return to colder and drier weather as high temperatures were in the upper 20s to mid 30s, which is colder than yesterday but warmer than originally expected.

The next storm is coming up for Saturday, however this should produce rain for New York City and further east, with at least 3-5 inches of a wintry mix for the western parts of the area. Mild temperatures will briefly follow along with some light rain or snow for Monday night which will help melt the 12+ inch snow pack that is covering a large part of the area, however by late next week there is the potential for another storm, which as I will discuss in more details with tomorrow’s updated February Outlook, may be the storm to finally bring at least a temporary end to the consistently cold and snow pattern we have been in.

Tomorrow’s Outlook:

Tomorrow will be a mostly sunny day across the area. After tonight’s temperatures which will be cold, in the mid to upper 0s inland and upper 0s to mid 10s for the rest of the area, temperatures will warm up into the lower to mid 30s across the area, and even a few upper 30s cannot be ruled out in the immediate NYC area. A WSW wind is expected.

As a storm from the Southeast approaches the region, cloud cover will increase by the afternoon and evening hours, however no precipitation is expected until the overnight hours.

Saturday: Storm Brings Rain, Mix To NYC Tri-State Area

Over the last several days, I mentioned the potential for a storm to affect the area with rain and snow during this time frame, but that the set up would not be favorable for a plain snowstorm. We are missing a high pressure to the north of the storm, and the storm pushes warm air along with it as it moves up the coast. There is still some uncertainty, as some models take the storm east to only bring light snow to the area while others have it far west enough to bring rain as far as the western parts of the area, though at this time I am leaning towards the solution in between, or a track just off the coast.

We are likely looking at a light snow or mix entering the area late on Friday night, with more steady precipitation falling as rain in the eastern parts of the area, a rain/snow mix in the immediate NYC area, and snow inland by Saturday morning. It appears that the storm may draw in enough warm air to result in a mix of snow and sleet as well as potentially freezing rain for the western parts of the area by the afternoon, with the immediate NYC area and southern Connecticut/Long Island seeing plain rain. By the evening and early overnight hours, as the storm exits, the precipitation type will change over to snow in the western and central parts of the area.

While accumulations are uncertain, there is the potential for 3 to 5 inches of snow/sleet in the western parts of the area, with less than 2 inches of snow in the immediate NYC area and less than 1 inch in the eastern parts of the area. It is possible that the storm could be weaker and further east, with less snow for the western parts of the area, or the storm could bring more mixing to the western parts of the area and change the forecast snow totals. Stay tuned for more information on this storm.

Sunday – Tuesday: Warming Up

After the storm exits, instead of cooling down, the temperatures will actually warm up from where they were, with temperatures on Sunday expected to be in the mid 30s to lower 40s across the area, and especially with overnight lows not too far below freezing, this will help lead to the snow pack melting.

As a weak low pressure moves into the Northeast on Monday, it will bring light snow to the Northeast but even warmer temperatures for the area, potentially as warm as the mid 40s in New York City! Most of the immediate NYC area and the western parts of the area have failed to see temperatures reach the 40 degree mark since early January, showing how unusually strong and consistent the cold has been over the last month, and a good part of the area will likely reach or pass the 40 degree mark on Monday.

Overnight, there is some uncertainty as to what the storm does, with the storm either simply moving out of the region or becoming a coastal low like the 18z GFS is showing, however temperatures will stay mild on Monday night, staying just above freezing for the central and eastern parts of the area, with the storm bringing scattered rain and snow showers to the area. Any precipitation that does fall in the Monday-Tuesday time frame should be light and likely won’t amount up to anything significant.

Longer Range: Another Storm, Extreme Cold Returns?

Behind Monday night’s weak storm, another cold air mass returns by Tuesday night to the region, with high temperatures expected to return into the 20s and low temperatures back into the 10s. This dry period, however, will be short lasting, as a storm is expected to follow, and has the potential to be a big one.

Yesterday’s models still had a large spread as this is still in the longer range, however today’s models began trending towards a major event, especially the GFS, which showed a significant snowstorm for the area with its 12z run and a 12+ inch snowstorm with its 18z run west of NYC. The ECMWF is also showing a major storm with rain and snow, and the GGEM is also showing a storm for this time frame. It appears likely that we should see a storm in this time frame, but the question is how it will affect us.

The pattern appears to be favorable for a storm, along with a -NAO and a west coast ridge. There is also a large supply of cold air to the north in Canada, which will likely drop into the United States and later on to affect the region with the potential for very cold temperatures. As can be expected with a storm in the longer range, there is a wide range of solutions at this time, with the track ranging from one west of the area with mix/rain, to a major snowstorm, to a storm well east of the area.

The storm track ideas are still early possibilities, and while they will change over the next several days, there is the potential for a storm, which could be a major one. Behind this storm, there could be strong cold air, with temperatures that may reach levels similar to those of the late January arctic air blast. Stay tuned for more information on this time frame and what it may bring to the area.

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