One of the most common questions I've been asked pertains to how February's weather pattern is looking. On Tuesday night's NECN News at 9 PM, 10 and midnight, I answered that question. After a warm December and January in New England, and a significant dearth of snow, winter-lovers are aching for a strong finish while winter-haters are hoping to slide through the remainder of the season unscathed. The first day of February brought exceptional warmth to most of the United States, with record warm temperatures from Michigan to Nebraska to the Mid-Atlantic and New England. Across the globe, however, record cold temperatures were recorded in Europe, Asia, Russia and Africa as cold expands south. Meanwhile, intense cold remains bottled up in Alaska - the only colder-than-normal area in the North American continent.
Cold air in Europe and Russia represents a large trough serving as a pool of cold air across the globe. In meteorology, we look for wave patterns across the world in the jet stream winds (the "westerlies") - the fast-flowing river of air high in the sky that steers storms and acts as a thermostat for the atmosphere. A large trough, or dip, over Europe and Russia is followed by a ridge of warmth in Southeast Asia, a trough of cold over Alaska, and a ridge of warmth over the United States. This pattern is incomplete - there is a missing component over the Atlantic, which is likely to complete heading into February - a trough in the Canadian Maritimes and Western Atlantic, and a ridge in the Eastern Atlantic. This would mean cold air surging into the Maritimes during February, and likely resulting in a swath of cold air across Northern New England, dumping into the Atlantic Canada/Western Atlantic trough. As a result, I'm forecasting below normal temperatures in Northern New England. The remainder of New England probably won't linger under this swath of cold, but will be close enough to experience oscillations of warmth from the continental U.S. ridge, and cold from the Maritimes trough.
As for precipitation, this isn't a favorable pattern for above normal precipitation in the northeast, overall. The best opportunity comes on the backside of cold surges, when warmth returning northeast collides with the departing cold. Therefore, bursts of snow are quite possible, but larger storms will hinge upon a favorable setup of lingering cold and incoming warmth/moisture, which seem most likely around mid-month (16th/17th) and again toward month's end (25th/26th).