We have much to discuss regarding snow possibilities on the horizon, but first a look at current conditions.
EAST COAST SATELLITE
After a cloudy start to this Monday, skies cleared and we saw plenty of sunshine for most of the day. The same storm that stayed south of the area on Sunday had redeveloped and strengthened before it finally pulled out to sea, which brought those clouds in this morning. We will continue to see mainly sunny skies through Thursday. As for temperatures, it has been another cold day. Afternoon highs have barely hit the freezing mark. Temperatures will rise through the 30s to near 40 by Wednesday before dropping back to near freezing on Thursday. Then the fun begins.
Before I go into detail, I want to stress something I usually do with these things: we are still SEVERAL days out, and with the tricky nature of winter storms, we cannot expect the models to nail anything down just yet. But what we can do is see storms on the horizon and know that we will have to watch them closely. The 3 things I like to ask are 1) Will there be a storm? 2) Is that storm likely to come close to us? 3) Will the storm bring rain or snow?
Yes. Yes. And it is too soon to tell. So we already have 2/3 of a solution. Of course, that third part is an important one!
We have two storms on the way for the weekend. Both of these systems could bring rain or snow, depending on the positioning of low pressure systems. The first, a relatively weak shortwave, approaches late Thursday night into Friday morning. The GFS has the low just north of Long Island on Friday morning. Assuming it is correct, this would mean rain. Even if this storm were to take a snowy turn, I wouldn’t expect a lot, given the weaker nature of it that I mentioned above. It would however create for a terribly messy Friday morning commute.
The second storm over the weekend I am more concerned about. It looks to arrive late Saturday night into Sunday. The models have indicated this storm to be much stronger, with a lot more moisture. But the storm will be there and it will be nearby; the issue with this one remains similar to that of the first.
The GFS has the low pressure center practically moving right over Long Island. Again, let’s assume that it is spot on. This would mean a start as snow at the onset Saturday night, followed by a change to rain as the warm front lifts north Sunday morning, and then maybe a brief change back to snow on the backside of the storm as the cold front pushed through Sunday night. While this would be a bad scenario for interior sections well north and west of the city, it would certainly spare Long Island. Any initial snows would quickly get washed away, and anything late Sunday would be negligible. As someone who has been forecasting for a while now, I know that back edge snows usually don’t amount to much at all.
Now let’s look at the two other scenarios. The first is that the storm were to move even further north. This would make it a rain event from start to finish. Next, if the storm were to move further south, we could be talking about some heavy snow and large accumulations for Long Island. Lastly, if the storm were to move much further south, like it did yesterday, we would get light snow and minor accumulations. This third scenario is not likely in my book. High pressure to the north is not nearly as strong with this one, and it looks like there will actually be a Bermuda high influence from the southeast this time. So now we are left with either all snow, all rain, or a little of both – all of which will become clearer in the coming days.
Until then, don’t press the panic button. There are a lot of social media-rologists who will call for the snowpocalypse too far in advance. Be careful where you click. Weather Long Island is operated by professional meteorologists, who will never hype or sugar-coat things! –Geoff
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