“New England Will Be Closed” – Blizzard of ’13 Update

February 8, 2013

Blizzard update from Paul Douglas and AlertsBroadcaster:

…this storm will negatively impact more people in the northeast than even Superstorm Sandy did in late October and early November. Although coastal flooding won’t be nearly as severe, the impact of heavy snow, high winds and potential power outages will result in a very high-impact weather event for New England and metro New York City. 23 million Americans are under a Blizzard Warning right now.

Although computers have been converging (slowly) around a final solution, there is lingering uncertainty. This should be a plowable snowfall for New York City, enough to shovel and plow meaning at least 4-8″. Recent computer models are hinting at considerably more than that, especially for New York’s northern and eastern suburbs. By the time the 2 storms phase into one (monster) the heaviest precipitation shield may be just north/east of New York City. That, and 42 F. water temperatures in the Atlantic off the coast of New Jersey and Long Island may keep precipitation falling as a cold rain into the evening hours. The faster the changeover to all snow late Friday, the greater the ultimate snow amounts will be. I still believe a foot or more is likely in the city, with as much as 15-20″ from north Jersey into Westchester and Fairfield Counties. Eastern Long Island may also pick up some 15-20″ amounts.

sat2

1+1=3.

Much like Sandy we have an imminent convergence of two weather systems; a clipper-like system approaching from the Great Lakes will merge with a developing coastal storm over the Carolinas. The northern storm provides much of the energy, while the southern storm provides a jolt of southern moisture, spiked with moisture off the Atlantic. That’s why the weekend storm will be formidable: impacting such a huge area with 1-3 foot snows.

snow1

Snowfall Predictions. I realize, at first glance, this looks like a map of current temperatures. It’s not. This is the latest (Bufkit/Cobb Method) snowfall prediction from NOAA’s NAM weather model; as much as 25″ for the northern/eastern suburbs of New York City, 23″ at Portland and 31″ for Boston. I can’t remember seeing an area of 18″+ predicted snowfall this big in the last 20 years. This will be an historic storm. Paralyzing, and historic.

Climate deniers, of course, will have difficulty processing snow in a warming world.
A senior atmospheric scientist writes me:

I looked at this and the SSTs right along the coast in New England are 1 to 1.5C above the 1981-2010 normal, more generally SSTs are 0 to 0.5C above that normal. But of course that normal is 0.5 C above theĀ 1951-80 normal.

So, yes the higher SSTs will add 10% to the snow, but the key thing is biggest snows occur when temps are just below freezing, which seems to be the case. So the atmosphere is loaded with max moisture possible and still producing snow.

And it’s a strong storm.

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6 Responses to ““New England Will Be Closed” – Blizzard of ’13 Update”

  1. rayduray Says:

    For the truly weather obsessed we have live coverage:

    http://www.wunderground.com/video/

    And one of the liveliest weather blogs on the planet:

    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=2344#commenttop

  2. Peter Mizla Says:

    33″ of Snow here in Vernon Connecticut- do we have a problem with an atmosphere with too much moisture?

    • rayduray Says:

      “do we have a problem with an atmosphere with too much moisture?”

      Not any more, the problem is on your driveway. :)

      Oops, sorry, this snow country guy couldn’t resist.

      Frankly, I’m a bit jealous. I live in a ski resort, Bend, OR. The hill is doing OK. But down here in town the most we’ve had on the ground at any one point in time this winter is about 6 inches of snow, and now we’ve had bare ground for nearly a month.

      Ship us your spare moisture, please! :)

  3. astrostevo Says:

    “Climate deniers, of course, will have difficulty processing snow in a warming world.”

    I’m no climatologist (& very definitely no Denier!) but it seems to me that if you have a glass of warm water with an icecube in it, and you put it in the sun, then the icecube will melt and temporarily cool the water. Especially the immediate layer where it icecube was. Then as the glass continues to sit in the sun the water will warm further.

    Is that a reasonable analogy for what is happening here? The Arctic icesheet being the icecube, the sun being the increaesd energy trapepd by GHG emissions and the glass of water being the northern hemisphere nearby with the melting ice making things cooler being the colder weather pattern and greater snowfall?

    Of course there are a couple of key differences I know – the icecube won’t directly raise the water levels since the water was being displaced by the ice – whereas the Arctic sea ice was holding back glacial ice such as on Greenland which adds an extra layer of complexity and likely sea rise and the Sun won’t keep getting hotter all day and ever more rapidly whereas the escalating feedbacks and extra accumulated GHG emissions building up mean the Earth will.


  4. [...] 2013/02/08: PSinclair: “New England Will Be Closed” – Blizzard of ’13 Update [...]


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