Mar 2, 2014 Storm Updates

A few updates will be posted below on the minor snow event affecting the area today and tonight. Radar images are from the National Weather Service.

Links: This morning’s forecast | Twitter | Facebook


Final storm snow totals in NYC: (Updated 8am)

Central Park – 0.1″ | LaGuardia – 0.4″ | JFK Airport – 0.6″



8:40 AM: Snow Tapering Off

nerad25As of 8am, the frontal boundary remains stalled near northern North Carolina. This boundary will continue to progress further southeast later today as the broad wave of low pressure over the southeast US shifts offshore.

Light snow did spread into the area during the middle overnight hours with the front end of the second wave of precipitation, but with the strong southward push of dry arctic air forcing the snow to continue sliding south of the area as heavy snow sets up over Virginia and even begin to extend into North Carolina later today, which is well to the south of the forecast as recently as 2-3 days ago. Clearing skies are expected across the area later today with unseasonably cold temperatures peaking in the low-mid 20s, before falling into the low 10s near NYC and the coast and the single digits elsewhere.

Focusing on the longer range, temperatures will remain well below average through Wednesday, with increasing cloud cover followed by a coastal low pressure staying mostly, if not entirely to the southeast on Thursday with a slight risk of isolated rain/snow showers. The next possibility of precipitation is towards next Sunday-Monday, with temperatures mostly remaining near to below average into next week. A more detailed outlook will be posted later today, and a post-storm analysis will be posted on Tuesday.


11:25 PM: Less Than 1″ Tonight

nerad25As of 11pm, the frontal boundary has shifted to the North Carolina/Virginia border. The front continues to slowly shift ESE as the influence from the polar vortex continues to suppress the system.

According to the latest radar posted to the left from the Pennsylvania State University e-Wall, the latest precipitation shield is setting up even further south than the model guidance indicated as recently as this morning. The south trend has continued right up until the last minute, even more so than yesterday’s guidance has indicated. Occasional snow showers are expected during the early-mid portion of the overnight hours before ending, with snow totals below 1 inch. The heavier snow will remain well to the south of the area.

This is the final storm update for tonight. The next update will be posted on Monday morning.


7:50 PM: Second Wave Approaching, To Mostly Remain South

0028As of 7pm, the cold front is near southern Virginia; a weak, barely defined wave of low pressure is centered near northern Louisiana.

The previous wave has moved out, producing little to no measurable precipitation across the area.The second wave is now organizing over the south-central Ohio Valley, but with the polar vortex over southeast Canada suppressing heights over the region, further shearing out the shortwave trough and ultimately keeping the entire second wave during the day on Monday south of the area. The only additional snow expected to fall in the area is from the front end of this wave of precipitation before it slides to the south, which will occur during the early-middle portion of the overnight hours before ending by the early morning; snow totals up to 1 inch are generally expected.

There is no doubt that this storm has been a major forecast bust, ranging from the handling of the model guidance which continuously depicted a major snowstorm affecting the area, to the forecasters which have not lowered snow forecasts significantly enough. This has been a very difficult forecast over the last few days, which was made clear by the delay in the preliminary snow outlook and constant notes about a bust risk which would lead to less snow than forecast. There were constant indications hinting at a more suppressed and drier scenario, but a trend south to this magnitude appeared unlikely. The last time such a significant low-end bust in snow totals occurred in the short range was last March, when a storm system on March 25, 2013 was forecast to produce at least 2-5″ of snow across the area as recently as the day before the storm, but ended up producing little to no measurable snowfall. In this case, my main forecast error was not placing enough emphasis on the bust potential regarding a south trend in the days leading up to the storm and taking too long to lower snow totals. As with every notable storm system to affect the region, a post-storm analysis reviewing the development and outcome of the system, and especially focusing on the forecasts leading up to the storm and what went wrong, will be posted on Monday or Tuesday.


5:20 PM: Light Snow Falling; Less Than 1-2″ Expected

2158As of 5pm, the cold front extends from about southern NJ to central Virginia. The frontal boundary will continue to slide south as the polar vortex continues to aid in lowering heights aloft in the region with an arctic air mass to the north gradually pushing south; while temperatures in the area are still in the mid 30s-low 40s, the Hudson Vally has already dropped into the mid-upper 20s.

The first wave of precipitation is currently moving through the area, producing light rain, snow, and sleet showers with minimal accumulations, if any expected. Following this wave, a period of drier conditions is expected this evening, with heavier precipitation organizing in the Ohio Valley but which will remain mostly south of the area, with occasional snow showers expected after the late evening, mostly ending by 7-9am across the area as the heavier snow slides well to the south of the area.

As noted earlier, even this morning’s snow outlook is most likely too high based on current observations. Barring any unexpected developments, the entire area is expected to remain below 2-3 inches, with the highest probability for totals closer to 2″ near coastal Long Island and the I-78 corridor in NJ, while locations along and north of I-80 are expected to end up with near or below 1 inch.


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