Discussion: Snowstorm Potential

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By Nick Szankovics on March 4, 2013, 3:27pm Last modified: March 4, 2013, 3:30pm

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Well, I am not going to re-iterate a lot of buzz you are already hearing about the ECMWF model trending farther north. Nor am I going to bore you with analysis of multiple model runs and tell you that I am indeed honed in on a scenario. What I AM going to tell you is that there is a very real threat for a major New England snowstorm shaping up, and I won't lie to you: It has the weather world a bit concerned.

As of last night, the 0z euro run was showing the storm situated off the North Carolina coastline with little movement north that would concern anyone in Connecticut. Then the 06z run came in, still showing the storm situated to the south, but just a hair more northward. This wasn't of any real shock to anyone watching the model data, seeing how a few days ahead of a storm, data will wobble back and forth slightly to adjust to observational data or errors in the datasets. No alarm there, just another wobble... That was until the 12z euro came in, showing a budge to the north. What made this more significant was that it differed from the idea that there was an error in the dataset, and was starting to bring some potential moisture into Southern New England.

Why was this such a cause of concern? Well, the ECMWF is a more reliable model used to track the potential of major storms and how they move, normally doing a very stellar job at portraying what these largely dynamic storms have a tendency to do. The GFS has been more of an "outlier", something that is only looked at often times to compare dynamics and potential tracks. But, this time, the ECMWF seems to be pulling farther north in line with the GFS and it's ensembles which indicates that the GFS may be something to look at a little bit more this time around.

Hence I now come to my point. The GFS is showing a Blizzard-like setup for much of coastal NJ, NYC, north into Connecticut and points east. Equally, the ECMWF shows a blizzard-like storm, but far enough south to keep the heavy snows offshore. So what can we deduce from this model average? Well, it will be windy and it will snow. The exact intensity and accumulation is not known at this time, and can differ from just an inch or two of wet snow, to something we would have to measure in feet. Given the fact that this storm is still 3 1.2 days away from transitioning to an offshore low pressure system, we do have plenty of time and data to sift through; including quite a few more model runs on multiple models (CMC, SREF, GFS, ECMWF, NAM, UKMET) which will show our trends.

Most people want meteorologists to push a big red button, or commit to an idea of something far ahead in time. We are not prophets and cannot do this. our formulations and abilities to do so are based off of two main factors: the available model data... and past record keeping. Both come together to give us a good idea of what COULD happen, not what WILL happen.

So, if I had to commit to a scenario right now? I would say light snow with gusty winds and coastal flooding for long island sound. Accumulations of 3-6 inches statewide, with a possible mix at the shore before changing to all snow. Will this change? Certainly, however, I cannot dictate what way it will change and it could certainly be a historic storm, or a historic bust. Time will tell.

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Nick Szankovics

Town: Norwich, CT  

Reporting for WXedge since February 2013.

Articles: 38

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