A Powerful Storm Likely To Round Out The Year
A weak shortwave trough works through the state on Wednesday, giving the region a cooler day, but with a mix of sun and clouds as cooler air creates a bit of instability. Clouds increase early Thursday before what appears to be a formidable storm on the way for Thursday afternoon through the morning on Friday. Snow showers return for Saturday night into Sunday.
Where there are clouds, the temperature appears to be cooler. Northern Maine as well as the mountains will see their fair share of clouds and perhaps a brief snow snow shower as the shortwave exits the state by late afternoon. Sun appears most abundant for the south and that is where the warmer temperatures are likely to be. For the folks who get above freezing tomorrow, it would be wise to clean up any ice before the storm approaches on Thursday.
Many Moving Parts
Forecast guidance is throwing out a few ideas of how this storm plays out. Forecast ensembles for both the European & GFS models are still showing a bit of wiggle room. The water vapor image above shows all the players on the table. An area of upper level low energy (ULL) will force the trough over the Pacific to dive down in the heartland of the United States by Thursday morning. It is at this point the trough tilts negatively and curves to the northeast. This is where the plot thickens.
Model ensembles still can’t quite grasp with full agreement just exactly where the coastal low forms and where the track goes from there. I can’t say this enough… this is CRITICAL to factoring in storm intensity, track, and what precipitation the coast sees. For the storm to form around the DelMarVa, the storm has more time to intensify. Further up the coast towards Cape Cod, it has less time for it to intensify. Models are in full agreement that the storm will develop rapidly and intensely as it moves northeastward.
Within 18 hours, a significant winter storm is hammering most of New England. This “bombogenesis” is very common with Nor’Easter storms. This one appears to be fairly compact and will move very rapidly through the state. If the storm was any slower in departure, most areas would need a yard stick to measure this one.
This storm could go from a weak wave along the Mid-Atlantic coast early Thursday to a monster Category 3 hurricane pressure storm over eastern Maine Friday morning. If the European model is right here, a storm of this magnitude is going to bring power outages, heart-attack style heavy wet snow, travelling problems and a solid coastal battering. It may take a few days for some to recover from this one.
First Call Snow Amounts
With a storm like this that tracks into the Gulf of Maine and makes landfall DownEast, the western mountains and foothills take the brunt. If this track holds true, it could be 18″ easy for the ski slopes. I get the impression some weather observer may report 20″ somewhere. Since there is room for this storm to track closer or slightly further east, I am being a bit conservative on the overall totals.
The most difficult part of this forecast is for the coast. Any deviation of the storm track further east could mean bigger totals for the York County coast, Portland area, Bath/Brunswick, up through Waldo County. Be forewarned… the gradient is going to be very sharp at the coast. While the islands will wonder what the fuss is all about, folks within two miles of the ocean may see 6″ or more.
I will update on this again Wednesday afternoon.
~ Mike Haggett
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Special thanks to Tropical Tidbits and Pivotal Weather for their written permission to use their graphics in this post. Use of WeatherTAP images used within their written permitted terms of media use policy. Additional forecast information supplied by the National Weather Service, WeatherBELL Analytics and AccuWeather Professional.
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