12/9 tech post coming late afternoon/eve

Am writing from the cell phone, en route to an afternoon speaking engagement, but will have a techie post out after. I'm excited to get lots of thoughts out...00z guidance was all over the place and I basically used a compromise upper lvl pttn to envision a would-be sfc pattern and the 12z runs are very close to that. That gives a feeling of good insight on storm evolution...will post more later!

Weather Channel Environmental Unit, Forecast Earth staff, fired

Interesting find from the Washington Post:

NBC Universal made the first of potentially several rounds of staffing cuts at The Weather Channel (TWC) on Wednesday, axing the entire staff of the "Forecast Earth" environmental program during the middle of NBC's "Green Week," as well as several on-camera meteorologists. The layoffs totaled about 10 percent of the workforce, and are among the first major changes made since NBC completed its purchase of the venerable weather network in September.


Click here for more on The Weather Channel cuts from the Washington Post...

Join Chris Collins and me this weekend at the Army-Navy Football Luncheon, benefitting children of fallen Troops

Army-navy-lgo-08 This Saturday, December 6, NECN's own meteorologist Matt Noyes and sports anchor Chris Collins will be in Lynnfield, Massachusetts, helping to bring Christmas to the children of fallen Troops. The luncheon is affordable for individuals and families alike, and not only will benefit these children, but also will feature a list of celebrities on-hand, a buffet lunch, great beverages, the Army-Navy football game, a raffle and both a silent and live auction, with Matt as an auctioneer! Continue reading this post to find out how you can be a part of the action...

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December 3, 2008: Will anafrontal precipitation bring a white surprise later Thursday?

This is a quick post before bed - hey, I gotta get up early (!) - but here's something to consider that I thought of this morning, but didn't have a chance to sit down and post until this evening.  Looking back to our west, the cold front moving toward us finally has some prefrontal convection with it, but most of yesterday, overnight last night, and the first half of today (Wednesday) the precipitation was all falling behind the front.  Even as some rain showers develop ahead of the front as I write this, there's still snow falling anafrontal, or behind the front.  This raises an interesting thought that I ran by Danielle and Tim today, and the more I looked into it, the more I'm getting sold on it...and that idea is similar to the old Red Sox saying from the 2004 World Series: "Why not us?"  That is, why shouldn't New England also see snow behind the front tomorrow?  There are a few answers to that question, like the vorticity splits, the surface convergence splits and there is low ambient relative humidity.  But on the flip side, the frontal characteristics change little, and a close inspection of the model guidance shows that the models - and especially the NMM - are actually doing a good job of swinging the front through FIRST, then bringing the precip in.  So, if a meteorologist is surprised when more snow than rain falls later Thursday, shame on the meteorologist!  I actually fit into that shameful category until I really started to take a step back this morning and look at the radar, and then the 12Z run as it came in.  Something didn't line up - the precip was waaaayyyy too slow.  That's when it hit me.  So, a look at the 12Z NMM for someplace like Worcester, MA, shows only .03" in the first hour as rain, then .09" as snow, post-frontal.  Of course, then the 18Z run came in with only 1/1000th of an inch of rain, occurring exactly at the time of frontal passage.  So, how seriously do we really want to take this?  Well, there's no question the vorticity field is weak and split aloft, and the low level wind field is strongly downsloping behind the front as it blows out of the west.  Hence, the guidance is really keeping this a very light event.  The WRF is the most hefty with about .10" liquid equivalent, most falling as snow after 11 PM Thursday night.  Probably not a bad idea to put a chance of light snow/snow showers in the forecast for Thursday night with a dusting possible especially Worcester Hills north and west (falling earlier in Northern and Western New England - Thursday afternoon into eve, with some prefrontal possible even earlier), but this is something I will review in the 00Z and 06Z runs, prior to my 5 AM Thursday broadcast.

Farther out, the weekend scenario may be gaining clarity.  Good signals of a Norlun trough developing on Sunday, and perhaps the Southern coast of Maine will be targeted, which is a climatologically favored zone for such events.  Nonetheless, while that's the direction of the guidance right now - and the guidance is good enough at convective parameterization that it is picking up nicely on this potential right now (though one also must show concern for convective feedback overdoing the event) - let's still keep a close eye on the situation.  It won't take much to get the vort to amplify just a little quicker south of New England as it zips along, and make for a more interesting scenario, though the confluent middle and upper level flow over and just east of us really suggests it's Norlun or bust.  Let's keep an eye on it.


NOAA: Up to 5 million dollars in emergency aid to New England states for red tide damage

NOAA’s Fisheries Service today announced the states of Massachusetts and Maine will each be eligible for up to $2 million and New Hampshire will be eligible for up to $1 million in disaster aid to assist the shellfishing industries affected by this year’s closures due to the harmful algal bloom, commonly known as a red tide.

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Mount Washington Valley Ski Area Opening Dates

Just got this from the Mount Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce:

Opening Dates


Attitash Ski Resort -- Opening Date: November 22

Black Mountain -- Opening Date: December 12

Cranmore Mountain Resort -- Opening Date: Tubing Hill opens November 28, Skiing begins December 6

Great Glen Trails -- Opening Date: December 6 for the Atomic Sprints

Jackson Ski Touring Foundation -- Opening Date: December 1 (weather permitting)

King Pine --Opening Date: December 12

Wildcat Mountain --Opening Date: November 29

Sunday night prospectus - November 16, 2008 - Winter will not wait

Last week's prospectus looked at the transition to a wintry pattern that was slated for this week, and the potential for a coastal storm development around the middle of this upcoming week.  The reality a week later is that we're ready for a trough that will continue to dig and amplify over the Eastern United States this week, dumping cold air across the Northeast.  The intense shortwave energy riding the fast westerlies will continue to drop over New England, and the aforementioned strong storm will indeed develop, but it appears just far enough offshore to preclude major storm development for New England.  This doesn't eliminate the chance for accumulating snow in the next seven days, however - rather, I think it will be very difficult for many areas NOT to accumulate snow between now and next Sunday's prospectus.

But let's start with the here and now, which features one installment of cold air to New England, with many more yet to come.  Westerly low level winds have instigated lake effect snow squalls, and these will carry east, enhanced by upslope flow against the western slopes of the Green Mountains tonight and Monday.  By later Monday, mean layer flow in the lowest several thousand feet of the atmosphere favors carrying some of the snow showers into the Berkshires, as well, though accumulation there should be limited, while the favored locales of the Southern Greens, on the other hand, could pick up a few inches by Monday night.

Also of interest is a pronounced wind shift dropping across the North Country Monday afternoon and evening, and the remainder of New England Monday night.  This shift in surface wind represents a cold front, providing a formidable shot of Canadian cold for Tuesday and the midweek.  The passage of this front in Northern New England Monday afternoon should bring some snow squalls - and a few of these will probably be intense in the Green Mountains.  Lifted index values are positive, but rise about 3 or 4 with the passage of the front, and the pressure rises 3 to 4 mb in the North Country after its passage, while there's plenty of mid-level instability.  These parameters appear to favor a weak windex event, though relative humidity parameters in the lowest levels are a bit dry for a decent event.  Nonetheless, orographic lift should make up for this in favored locales.

Tricky forecasting on Tuesday, though not for all parameters.  For example, temperature and wind seem pretty straight-forward with good cold advection underway.  What's trickier, though, is the precipitation forecast.  I hate looking at a situation like this, because I realize from a couple of days out that a big bust is possible right up to the event on Tuesday.  And the event is this:  The major storm we looked at as a potential last week will be coming together southeast of New England.  Though that's not a big deal for us in and of itself, there are problems here, because there's a ton of vorticity moving overhead, and how that vorticity interacts, combined with diffluence aloft and a mid-level speed max at 500 mb, as well as the approach of the trough axis at the jet stream level, creates a bulls-eye of upward vertical motion in all of the guidance products.  The tricky part is that there's not really a well defined surface feature to cling to here - perhaps a weak Norlun-type troughing that takes place, but it's really driven by a complex pattern aloft, and nailing down where that lift will take place is going to be very difficult.  Nailing down just how ripe the conditions will be for precipitation will be equally if not even more tricky, but so important given the temperatures through the column will support snow.  The NMM and GFS both do very little with this setup, but the higher resolution WRF and SUNYSB MM5 go to town with accumulating snow for Eastern MA - with the WRF starting in Southern ME then sweeping south down the coast, and the MM5 focusing on the South Shore and Cape Cod, where some ocean enhancement aids development of a snowburst.  At this point, I can see good evidence aloft to support such a snow burst, and following the guidance shows Eastern New England will be the closest to this burst, but further detail may remain difficult even right up to the event!

Wednesday looks to be the peak of the cold as the storm really deepens to our east, dragging down a shot of dense, cold air.  NMM temp forecasts of max temps in the teens high terrain north to lower or middle 30s south look reasonable and with the wind chill we can knock about another 10 degrees off.  Though the cold may relent a bit toward the end of the week, the longwave trough holds tough, and this raises eyebrows by next weekend.  The GFS and many of its Ensemble members are rather insistent upon a strong shortwave digging out of Central Canada, dropping south in the fast jet stream flow and amplifying over the Midwest, then shooting east across the Ohio Valley and south of New England.  This prompts coastal storm development in an airmass that would be cold enough for a mostly snow event except for areas warmed by a coastal front.  The timing would be later Saturday through Saturday night as a moderate to strong nor'easter.  Of course, we know the GFS is not the be all and end all of medium range forecasting, though good agreement among the Operational and Ensemble members certainly is of interest and warrants respect.  Those of you who've read my posts for a long time know that I always go with what the upper level pattern supports when there is uncertainty, especially in the medium range, and while the precipitation pattern on the GFS Ensembles may say a moderate to strong event, the 500 mb mean prog is not so supportive.  In fact, the GFS Ensemble mean 500 mb height fields look very similar to the ECMWF and especially the GGEM and GGEM Ensembles, which indicate some digging of the upstream shortwave, but also a lingering trough axis east of New England.  This keeps a faster and less amplified flow from the Ohio Valley through New England, meaning less deepening of the shortwave and resultant surface storm.  This is the solution I think should be followed for now, which actually can mean a colder scenario for more of New England, because the chance of a coastal front is much less with what essentially becomes a clipper going near or just south of the South Coast of New England, dropping a swath of accumulating snow on its northern side, which could drop anywhere between two and six inches on the way by.  Of course, at nearly a week out and with a changing and fast flow pattern, there's lots of room for change here, but I would favor the faster and less amplified solution for now.

That disturbance does reinforce the upper level trough over the Northeast, which means the cold continues coming on strong.  The Friday after Thanksgiving brings another strong shortwave worth watching, then by the first week of December, another strong shortwave coming off the Pacific will try to dig over the Plains and Midwest, and may bring another scenario that can be watched for coastal development.

Please do offer your thoughts in the comments section.

See you back here throughout the week.

NOAA: Commerce secretary determines red tide disaster in Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire

Redtide U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez today determined that the economic effects of closing some shellfish fisheries due to a harmful algal bloom, commonly referred to as a red tide, in ocean waters off Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine has caused a commercial fishery failure.

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NOAA: NOAA advises New England mariners to watch for migrating right whales

Right whales.
Right whales.

High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

NOAA’s Fisheries Service advises all mariners and fishermen to keep a sharp look out for North Atlantic right whales in southeast U.S. waters from Nov. 15 through April 15.

Each year, pregnant female North Atlantic right whales migrate southward more than 1,000 miles from their feeding area off Canada and New England to the warm, calm coastal waters off South Carolina, Georgia, and northeastern Florida to give birth and nurse their young. These waters are the only known calving area for the species.

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