Is this getting old? The last dry weekend was Oct 20, when the Red Sox won the pennant. Surprise snow ends thaw, here comes Arctic Chill & more snow. Winter part 2 has arrived. Forecast below photos.
Were you a member of The Fat Flake Club Saturday January 18, 2014 in New England?
Above, Christian Hull in Durham New Hampshire, member #FFC
Below, Christine Erna in Plaistow New Hampshire, #FFC
Christine noted in her tweet: "SurfSkiWxMan said we would not have to plow!?"
Oops, I though we were going to heavy bursts of snow with an inch in an hour. Which would have melted quickly due to warm ground. But instead we got a 5 hour burst of snow that totaled 8", way more than forecast. Sorry about that blunder Christine. This is the biggest bust so far this year. But the year is early. Viewers are very understanding of how Mother Nature rules, sometimes all we are able to do is call the play by play.
How big were the snow flakes? Bigger than a single hair on Luke Stone's arm. That says a lot, look at Luke's arm hair! I believe this is from Boston.
WHY were the flakes so big. I invented the term 'Clumpification' to describe how the flakes that day formed in a super saturated unstable atmosphere. Instability is when upper level air is much colder than surface air. Colder air is more dense than warmer air. So on a day like Saturday with strong upper level wind and surface low pressure, we see strong upward vertical motion. Air going up caused the snow flakes to go up, then down, all the while experiencing crystalline growth and bashing into and sticking to one another, i.e... very large Clumpified flakes!
Needles to say, huge snow flakes coming 1"-2" per hour for 4 hours could not melt fast enough. Roads were crazy slick, 100s of accidents occurred.
The Massachusetts State Police tweeted this pic from Milton MA.
Meanwhile in Ski Country, the weather was gorgeous.
Bob Hennessy sent tweeted this pic from Sugarbush Vermont. Total sunshine and calm air, with a temperature of 32.
I can not remember any New England thaw ending with sunshine in Vermont, but that is what just happened in this crazy winter 13/14.
The weather turned a little more upside right Sunday when northern New England had snow, and the sun came out south (after another burst of 'surprise' morning snow).
Laurie Webb twitted this beauty from Amesbury MA at 11 am Sunday.
Winter Part 2 has arrived, but the real deal comes 48 hours after the Fat Flake Attack of Saturday the 18th. At press time, we are tracking in new front from Hudson Bay Canada entering New England from the north. Unlike the last bit of weekend chill that came in from the southwest! This batch is headed right for New England, from the north. The former is modified polar air, the later is pure arctic air. That means we are now getting the real deal cold riding in Monday Night and Tuesday. Not quite as cold as January 2-4, this chill will bring many spots in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine to zero degrees for many morning's in a row. We have not one batch of arctic air on the way, but one after another, right through Super Bowl Sunday / Groundhog Day February 2. That's right, the next two weeks. The weather swings like a pendulum, we froze to start January, we melted mid month, now we go back to freezing. What about storms? We are still in a two a week storm pattern. Recall back in early January we were getting Saturday and Tuesday storms... Theyyrr'e Baack!
Just about every snow storm has 'over achieved' this winter. We can expect the same going forward. Check out the Pacific Ocean.
The Pacific Ocean is loaded with storms, check out the one in the upper left, and another in the lower right. When we are getting one after another fronts from Hudson Bay Canada to New England, that is due to a strong ridge in western North America. Those north Pacific powerhouse storms ride over the top of the western NA ridge and ride down through Alberta Canada. That ride over the Canadian Rockies usually dries out the system. But the spin and energy are still there. These systems then become 'Alberta Clippers'. That is an old meteorological name given due to the fact that these systems reminded old timers of The Clipper ships, Sailing steady and true out of Canada in the USA. The surprise snow on Saturday was a clipper. The clippers race down the east side of the western North America ridge, into the base of the eastern USA trough, where they encounter new cold from Hudson Bay, and new moisture from The Atlantic. This year the stakes are higher because the air around Hudson Bay has been exceptionally cold, the fact we had few hurricanes has left the Atlantic Ocean with 'extra' humidity and warmth. I like to call these north Pacific storms 'Genies in a Bottle'. They disappear from (the weather forecast models) when they hit the ridge in Western Canada, and then reappear, as they release into the eastern trough.
(note; this discussion is focused on north pacific storms, but you see that storm west of Central America? when they cross Mexico into the base of the eastern trough, watch out! I am talking to you NFL Super Bowl, those tropical pacific storms are way more hefty than Alberta Clippers, and the fact that system west of Mexico is there now.. oh boy. More on that potential next week).
When the Alberta Clipper rides, like a surfer, into the base of the eastern trough, The Genie comes out of the bottle. It expands, and gets all large and in charge! A whole new storm is born. It usually happens near the coast of Virginia or New Jersey.
Any how, a long story short. That has happened many times this winter, and is happening again this week.
The clipper hitting the Jersey shore Tuesday is bombing out with near blizzard conditions from Long Island to Cape Cod and The Islands. Expect close to ten inches of snow and wind gusts past 30 miles er hour all night Tuesday. The northern edge of the snow will only be a few inches for Providence and Boston, but with wind and chill that will make for quite the wintry start Wednesday.
Sorry ski areas of New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, the Genies will be missing to the south this week. But there is one aimed right at you this weekend! Behind each clipper the air will get colder and colder. Look for temperatures near zero all the way to the south coast Friday (yes there is another 'surprise' system on Thursday),and Monday mornings.
I would love to surf the ten foot waves Wednesday, but alas that is way beyond my skill and tolerance, it's going to be about 15 degrees at The National Seashore Wednesday. Leave a comment below if you plan to ride those monsters (3rd time in 4 weeks!), I will come and video tape it for the next surf report.
There is plenty more to say, but it's time to spend some family time, read stop geeking out for a while.