PM- Snow lovers can finally rejoice. The season of heavy snows, howling winds, and cuddling up with a blanket and some hot chocolate is finally around the corner. The northeast is expecting its first significant snowfall of the year on Friday. Totals could range as high as one foot in certain areas.
Before diving into the details of this specific snowstorm we must first understand the overall setup. The biggest proponent to this snowstorm is the jet stream. This will give the storm the jolt of energy it needs to be able to organize and strengthen.
The exact time this energy in the jet stream, as seen above and circled, interjects itself into the storm will be crucial. The sooner this energy dips south the faster the storm will organize and the more snow will be produced.
The map above depicts 500mb vorticity or energy. This is just a map of wind energy in the atmosphere at 500mb high. We can see the long strung out jet stream and a piece that dips down around Iowa. This piece will b e the catalyst for strengthening the storm seen on this map in Kentucky.
The key to the whole setup is getting the southern vorticity (energy) out in front of the northern vorticity. The European model has had this idea for a few days now and shows the strongest solution currently. If the northern energy runs out ahead of the developing storm or is too far north it will not give the storm a chance to strengthen. As of right now all models are trending towards an earlier phase between the two, hence a stronger storm.
For the northeast specifically snow will begin to spread from west to east on Thursday. Snow should start in western New York around 4pm and spread to most of New England come nightfall.
By early Friday morning the ECMWF model has most of the region in a moderate to heavy snowfall. Snow should be over for most of the region by 4pm Friday with the storm still ripping in Maine.
Currently, I think it is still a bit too early to talk about specific totals just yet. Tomorrow I will write an updated article giving more details. However, I have outlined the areas that I believe will be hit the hardest.
Starting off, I think there will be a chance to see some snow all the way down to the coastline on the back end of the storm. It will not be much if anything but there’s a chance of some wet flakes mixed in with rain.
The next area I am targeting for a chance for more moderate snow extends from northern Pennsylvania through Massachusetts up to the Canadian border. Those in the moderate zone will likely see some snow but right now are not in the middle of the worst. This zone could see a slushy inch or two, however if the storm trends south you could see more.
The high impact area is the area where I am nearly certain will see at least a few inches of snowfall. This area extends from northwestern Pennsylvania through most of New York into a good portion of northern New England. Most of this region can expect moderate-heavy snowfall for at least a few hours. This area can get more snow if the northern vorticity of energy can drop down faster and ramp the storm up quicker.
The best chance for a high impact event comes in northern New England and Maine specifically. This is the area that will likely receive over 6″ with the chance for a lot more if some models are correct. By the time the storm occurs in these areas the storm will have fully matured and will be stronger than it was previously.
The first snowstorm of the year is set to impact the Northeast Friday. This will not be a major storm for most and many will not even see any snow from it. However, this system will go to show those who are not impacted that winter is directly around the corner. I am going to be posting updates and more articles as the days go by. Until then, follow me @MikebWeather on twitter for the latest updates on the weather throughout the northeast.