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Potential Big-Ticket Nor'Easter; What we Know and What we Don't

Could this be "the one"? If you're a snow lover like me, you certainly hope so. We have been without any substantial snow since January of 2018. Yes. You read that right... It's been THREE years!!! Insanity. There have been several opportunities to see snow this year and we even had 2-6" west of Hammonton - but the chances of substantial snow all dwindled quickly... kinda like a mirage. It's easy to get caught up in the emotions of looking at bright shades of pink showing 10"+ on forecast guidance, but it's important to always stay true to your values when forecasting - be cool, calm and collected and only speak when information becomes more reliable.


We are entering the 72 hour period where we will start to answer some important questions. There are things we know and things we don't know. Unfortunately for us, the things we don't know have an enormous impact on what will eventually play out. This one DOES have significant potential. It also has a significant "bust" potential that I will recognize right out of the gate. That is why it's important to give it just a little more time before we start putting any specific details out there.


Let's go over what we KNOW:


  1. There will be a storm. There is no way this one is going to vanish. It's coming.

  2. There is enough cold air for there to be snow at the onset at least.

  3. There is a strong area of high pressure that thwarts any progress to the northeast.

  4. The storm will likely linger for a couple days in a "classic" nor'easter fashion.

  5. Timing looks to be mid to late day on Sunday, perhaps carrying into early to mid day Tuesday.

  6. Heavy winds and coastal issues are likely.

  7. Mixing at some point is probable.

What we DON'T KNOW:


  1. Where does the primary low travel? Does it cut through the Ohio Valley and over PA?

  2. How quickly does the coastal low form? This will have a HUGE impact on overall precip.

  3. How strong is that coastal low once it forms? Is it strong enough to manufacture its own cold air?

  4. WHERE does that coastal low form? Closer to the coast giving us more warm air, or over the "benchmark" for a sizable snow?

See how important it is to answer those questions? I'd be lying if I said I wasn't optimistic. Could be our best "chance" of accumulating snow state-wide in a couple years, CERTAINLY this current season we are in.


I like the setup. The players are on the field. Whether they come together and perform or not if the bigger question. Here's a look at our two main computer models for comparison:


EURO:

GFS:

EURO is clearly colder as the transfer of energy happens farther south. The coastal low is positioned in a better spot on EURO than the GFS. GFS goes snow to rain to MAYBE snow in spots. There's a big difference between the two models. We will look for more consensus by tomorrow morning.


We've got the big blocking high overtop so I expect everyone to start as snow. It's a complicated situation but one key ingredient - that COLD AIR - is already there. Anything that falls by Sunday afternoon WILL stick so we won't see a loss right off the bat.

A couple different scenarios exist...


#1 is essentially a representation of what the GFS is doing...which would bring the coastal low much closer to our region bringing rain well inland.

#2 would be what the EURO is painting. Farther east, colder, more snow pushing into South Jersey. Perhaps plowable across the entirety of the region.

Impact scale I'm going a 4 out of 5 right now because of heavy wind and potential tidal flooding.


Stay tuned!


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