Sunday, December 30, 2012

Here Comes The Cold

With the most recent snow event past most areas picked up around 3"-5" and less than that as you head south and east. Snow depths across the area have a high liquid content and this plays an important role in forecasting the temperatures over the next week or so. First off let's take a look at the current snow depths:
The highlands region has around 1"-2" of liquid water trapped in the snow cover while areas with the fresh snow have less than 0.5". The snow in those locations will melt over the next few days and will affect the temperatures. With minimal to no melting in the northern areas the daytime temperatures will be a good 10-15 degrees cooler than the areas without bare ground when the arctic blasts begin to move in this week. This cold be some of the coldest air to invade the northeast in years but New Jersey is on the southern edge of these air masses and should be spared the worst.

Let's take a look at a model for our first shot coming Wednesday:

The heart of the polar vortex will sitting just to the north of New England and this will deflect any chance of significant northeast snowstorms all of next week. Places in the north country of NY and VT will see the temperatures drop to 20-25 degrees below ZERO. New Jersey on the other hand will have it easy with single digits for the areas with snow cover (teens other wise). This type of pattern is good for resorts that need to make snow, but not for powder hounds. The shots of cold air will come in waves through the week keeping us under blue skies and chilly temps.

For now it's typical January weather and for those of you who like ice fishing you'll be on the ice by next weekend!

Lake Musconetcong on the border of Morris/Sussex counties is completely frozen. All it needs is a few cold nights and it will be ready.

By January 8th the pattern will break to one more that gives us an actual shot at seeing our next precipitation event, whether that be rain or snow. For the next few days just try and stay warm!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Dec 28th Update

It's finally starting to look like winter around here and with a good amount of snow on the ground we will only be adding to it over the next few weeks without any substantial melt. First off let's take a look at Saturdays snow event. 

Here is a map from the RPM for the total accumulated snowfall amounts:

This system will bring lighter precipitation than the last event and this limits the amount of evaporational cooling which is going to be needed for any good accumulations over the shore and south Jersey. Most of the state will remain as snow but with surface temperatures above freezing south of I-78 it's going to have a difficult time to accumulate. Just for reference let's look at some soundings for a location north and south. 

Sounding for K12N:
This is an atmospheric profile for Andover Airport in Sussex county. The red line is the freezing mark and the two blue lines are temperature and dew point. This location will have no problem with accumulation and it will be a plowable snow event of 2"-4".

Sounding for KBLM:

This sounding is for Belmar and notice how the blue lines cross the red line near the surface. This is snow falling but only accumulating to the grassy surfaces with minor accumulations.

Basically this is a north Jersey snow event here and widespread accumulations of 2"-4" with the highest elevations getting the most simply because of higher liquid-snow ratios. Enjoy the weekend everyone!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The storm is approaching our area from the southwest and will bring accumulations to the region. The further north and west you go the more you will get. It will start as snow for everyone but quickly change to rain for central Jersey as the warmer air wins the battle. Areas north of interstate 80 will get several hours of accumulating snowfall then changing over to sleet for several hours which will create a protective layer over the recent snows. By the time it changes to rain the system will nearly be out of the area leaving most of the frozen precip still on the ground. This map is off the RPM model and I think it has a good handle on the system.

After this system we have another heading up the coast by the weekend which will be an all snow event. Looks like we could get a few inches before the month comes to a close.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


It's been awhile since my last blog post. Many things in the past several months have taken my attention from North Jersey Weather Outlook, which will be getting a huge make over and new name. Now let's focus on the reason for reading today. Hurricane Sandy....

1. The Track: I do believe a New Jersey is the most likely scenario and Ocean County looks like the "average" of the latest paths, though I still like a Cape May landfall personally. Either way it doesn't matter at this point.

2. Total Precipitation Amount:
Right now it looks as if central Jersey will see the heaviest rain totals. The northern counties will see around 4" while central Jersey can see up to 6" and south Jersey could see totals of around 10". Problem is that in the highlands region the 4" that will fall will be quickly funneled down into the valleys making flooding nearly as bad in these locations as the rest of the state. Also with precipitation moving in from the east to west it will rise over the ridge lines and ring out more moisture over the eastern slopes. Taking a saturated air parcel from sea level to 1,000-1,500 feet will increase the totals and it happens a lot during coastal storms and is noticeable in the average rainfall map for the state.
I find this to be important because the areas downstream from these very highlands are the same areas that are prone to some of the worst flooding in the state like the Rockaway, Passaic, and Raritan Rivers. While rivers are lower now than before Irene we have a major problem. The growing season has ended and most plant and tree species are no longer sucking up ground water and almost all the rain that falls will end up as run off. This model projects what I find to be the best rainfall map for the state:

3. Wind Speed:
With the track of the storm over south Jersey we can  expect the worst of the winds to be right over Long Island, toward NYC, and into all of north Jersey. This map is from Wild About Weather (facebook page) and I think they have a great representation of the winds will be like.

4. Tips:
-Don't park cars under trees or tall objects (I.E basketball hoop).
-Have plenty of cash on hand. ATM & debit won't work without power.
-Fuel up cars and gas cans. Station can't pump fuel without power too!
-Secure all loose objects outside that are valuable or could be a projectile and damage your home.
-DO NOT drive through flood waters under any circumstance!
-Fill up bath tub with water for flushing
-Keep generators OUTSIDE and AWAY from windows. C02 is deadly!
-It's a good idea to fill up propane tanks for the grill to cook on
-Eat perishable foods first if power goes out
-Make sure you have plenty of bottled water
-My number 1 tip is DO NOT underestimate this storm, please don't do anything to put yourself in harms way. Obey all evacuation orders and use common sense. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Snow? Really?

Can you believe it? I'm actually doing a blog, on a snow event?! It's not a major event for New Jersey by any means but some lucky folks will have to get out the snow shovels, though not very many people...

Anyhow let's start off with the basic trend the models are all going with:

Now I know what your thinking. It looks like a horrible setup, and it is. But when systems like this run into the cold air in place we have something called "warm air advection snow". I'm not going to put to sleep by explaining what that is, that's why we have google. Most places will start off as snow but the further south you are the less you get. Let's look at a sounding for Andover Airport in Sussex county.

The line with the blue squares is the freezing line. With the temperature and dew point below freezing with a saturated atmosphere this sounding says it's snowing, and very hard. We have about a 3-5 hour window of snow before a quick change out to sleet and rain occurs. In that time frame the total QPF is between 0.25"-0.50". One issue that will plague the lower elevations is that the surface temperature will be too warm for the snow to accumulate. Areas below 500 feet (south of I-80) will get minimal accumulations. For this reason the total snowfall around High Point, West Milford, and into western Morris will have the highest amounts (simply because surface temperatures will be below freezing).

It's still several days out so this is just a "preliminary" snowfall map. I will be updating when the situation becomes more clear.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Snowstorm or nostorm?

The weather community has been a chatter with prospects for Sunday's storm. Well let's not waste time, here are the 00z runs compared the previous 18z runs.


GFS: 00z/18z

While the NAM did trend northward (GFS slightly east) it looks as if this storm will have little to no impact on north Jersey. There is a small chance that it tracks slightly closer to the area but the chances don't look very good. If any changes do occur you can bet I'll be blogging my fingers off!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Winter Is Trying...


My extreme lack of blogging is a testament to how this winter has been going as a whole. Last year at this time I had hundreds of blog hits everyday, and this year it's way down to just a few dozen. Partially my fault and partially old man winters fault, where ever he is. Today the highest elevations of NW Jersey picked up around 2.2" of snow around the Netcong area and some areas saw nothing more than a dusting.

Pictures from Netcong, where a nice band of snow squalls dumped 1.25" of snow in just 30 minutes! Total snowfall is nearly 2.2" for the entire event.

OBX WRF accurately forecasted these squalls within a few miles! Though total QPF (precip) was a tad over done. Very impressive!

This was one storm I didn't blog on, and that's because I had very little confidence that it would bring the region as a whole any significant snowfall accumulations. Looks as if that was a good decision on my part but I should have posted a blog of why I thought this storm would be a bust. It was a tricky forecast and it could have gone either way, but that's how this winter seems to be going...

Starting tonight the local ski resorts like Mountain Creek, Hidden Valley, and the Poconos should turn on those snowmaking systems and get a good 40 hours of non-stop production. This likely will not open any new terrain but rather rebuild and freshen up the surface conditions. Sunday will be windy and highs will struggle to break 25 in the NW corner and breaking 22 will be a struggle for those areas that have snow cover from tonight's snow squalls.


Of course we are all asking if we will see snow again in the near or distant future. It does look as if some rain and snow showers could move through for Valentines day but the impact seems minimal and accumulations don't look to be in the cards right now.

There is one system that I have been watching for days now, and since it came up on the models I've liked the general set up. The models have shown a lot of storms this year, most of which never materialized, and I know by looking at the dynamics and the forces at play that they didn't seem like major players for us. This one however catches my eye.

First off it has the cold air, gulf moisture, trough axis in the mid-west, and yet it lacks the blocking that seems so crucial for northeast snowstorms. Right? Well, not always. Late season troughs are typically smaller in wavelength and prone to buckling. I'm going to leave you with the control run of the EURO. It makes you think, can it happen?

This storm is on my radar, let's see how the runs progress through the week. It could end up being another bust that gets our hopes up, but I can't ignore that the fact that all long range models right now have some sort of snow event by weeks end...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Snow Update 1/21/12

It looks as if the first significant snowfall of the "winter" season will occur this weekend finally. It's not a block buster by any means but definitely a plowable snowfall. Most models agree on the liquid precipitation amounts and the type of precip.

Here is a look at the 12z NAM frames (1/20/12):

Clearly an all snow event for North Jersey with a atmospheric soundings looking like this:

The solid thick black line is freezing (0 Celsius) and the two blue lines are dew point and temperature. When the two blue lines come together near the surface it means precipitation is falling and when it's all below the freezing mark then it's all snow! I did put the empire state building in there to give you a sense of what your looking at. It's basically a vertical profile of the column of air over your head.

In the sounding there IS a mid level inversion layer which will not effect us in North Jersey but as you get south of I-78 the soundings show the inversion above freezing around 850 mb. This means a change over to wintry mix for those areas therefore snow totals will be lessened the further south you go of 78.

We now know the precip type and the fact a storm is coming! Now how much? First off we need to look the QPF map which is just the total amount of "liquid" precip that falls during the duration of the storm. And here it is off the NAM:

Total precip amounts range from 0.60"-0.80" across the area. Now time for the snow map!

In this storm it doesn't matter your elevation very much but rather your latitude. The axis of snow will be a west to east line so as you make your way south the totals are decreased due to mixing with sleet, freezing rain, and even just plain rain south of Trenton. The higher elevations will be sharply colder than the valleys and for that reason I increased snow totals to 6"-8" for areas above 1,000 feet.

That's it for now. After this storm there will be a warm up so don't expect it to last very long! The pattern does show signs of major improvement so hopefully this leads to a snowy February?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Short - Medium Range Forecast

My lack of blogging this winter is an indication of very little action going on weather wise. In my last blog I did forecast these most recent cold snaps and also predicted that we would receive very little snow in the forecast period. Since then the NW corner has received under 1" of snow for the month of January. We do have two chances to increase the monthly total in the coming week, but after that it looks like the last week of January could bring warmer temperatures.

First let's get into the clipper system for Thursday. It will produce a few snow showers as it moves on through but with little precipitation to show for it. The system does start to intensify as it gets out over the ocean but too late to give us any meaningful snowfall. Most places will receive very little snow with some lucky folks who get an inch in a heavier batch of precipitation.

Thursday's Clipper: 12z NMM

The second event occurs on Saturday, which could give us the first significant snowfall of meteorological winter!? It almost certainly starts as snow but midway through some models suggest a change over to wintry mix which would reduce snow totals down drastically. Other models like the GFS suggest we stay all snow (just barely though).

Above is the 18z GFS MSLP map and atmospheric profile. In this model the storm stays all snow north of I-80 and west of I-287 putting down 3"-6" inches. There is still a certain amount of uncertainty with this storm and it needs to watched for slight shifts in the exact track. As of right now all indications point toward an accumulating snow event with possible change over to wintry mix. Check back for more on this storm tomorrow.

Just to see how this winter is shaping up I made a chart comparing the last three winters up to January 18th for Netcong NJ. Numbers are well behind in days below freezing and days of snow cover yet only a few inches shy snowfall wise thanks to the October snowstorm.

**Check back for the long range forecast and update on Saturday's storm tomorrow.**