Wednesday, October 14, 2009

First snow of the season?

Yeah, that's right. It's going to snow across the higher terrain of Northwest Jersey in October yet again! The issue is that the area is right on the edge of the rain/snow line so I don't expect any accumulation at the lower elevations, as of right now that is. Sorry Newton, Branchville, Vernon Valley, Sussex, and the rest of the central valley in Sussex County it's not your storm. If you live along the High Point ridge then expect accumulating snowfall and that goes for the highlands from Mount Olive, Hopatcong, Jefferson, and up to West Milford.

As of right now it's hard to tell how much snow will pile up, and that reason is because if it's 31.5 and snowing then your in good shape, but if it's 32.5 then you may have some issues. That's just how early season snowfall works. Places like Mountain Creek will be snow capped and that could lead to downed trees if the worst case scenario happens. And after last years ice storm, that is the last thing they want.

This is what the latest NAM is showing for the surface for Friday at 2:00 A.M:

Saturday, 8:00 AM

Now let's move to my smoking gun of the storm. The atmospheric soundings. Now imagine this as a vertical model of the atmosphere, the surface is 1000mb and then pressure decreases with height. Now look at the two white lines. The one on the left is dew point and the other is temperature. The first thing you see is how the two lines seem to merge together, this tells you the atmosphere is saturated and can really support heavy precipitation. Ok, no big deal, that even happens in the summer. But look at the bottom of the Skew-T, you see those blue numbers? That's surface temperature in Celcius, and it's forecasted to be right on the freezing mark. That means the atmosphere at Andover Airport can support snow at an elevation of 583 feet, if you like at 1,000 feet things could get interesting. And at 1,500 feet, prepare to potentially shovel...

It's going to be a close call, and if you get A LOT of snow don't be surprised. If you get no snow, don't be surprised either. Local conditions will vary and the usual "snowy spots" will yet again be the big winners.

Check back for more updates, I'm in winter storm mode...

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