Classic February Day for Granite State Primary...Shot of Snow Expected Early Thursday

LKN_FCST_HIGHS_TODAY_NH LKN_FCST_HIGHS_TODAY_NHAnother day of murky weather has unfolded for most of New England, though just how wet each of us are depends upon northward extent: the persistent plume of moisture with a focal point south of New England extends far enough north to spread rain across Southern New England through middle to late afternoon and a mix of snow and rain showers for a brief time over Central New England.  A wave of low pressure – a storm center – focusing the moisture today, will ripple east through the atmosphere later Tuesday, ushering in a northerly and then westerly wind that will carry drier air across the region, kicking rain out by the evening drive and breaking clouds overnight Tuesday night.  The clouds will break slowest in the mountains, but any breaks will be important and open the door for a fun opportunity: viewing the Northern Lights!  A burst of energy from the sun should reach earth tonight, exciting the upper atmosphere and resulting in a display of the Aurora Borealis for Northern Vermont, New Hampshire and Central to Northern Maine…once breaks in the clouds increase after midnight, the best opportunity to view the lights will open.  The clearing trend continues regionwide in the second half of the night, bringing a much-needed day of sunshine and change of pace Wednesday, in a brief opportunity to dry out ahead of the next disturbance in a very fast-moving weather pattern.  That next disturbance arrives overnight Wednesday night, dragging a swath of snow with it that will accumulate but quickly change to mix, then rain, in Southern New England by Thursday morning, while Central New England stays wintry into the morning and Northern New England sees mostly snow, with snow accumulations ranging from little to nothing near the South Coast, to one or two inches in the Boston Metro and as much as four inches with locally higher amounts in parts of Central and Southern Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.  Because of the likely impact of snow and rain to the morning commute, a First Alert has been issued by our weather team for Thursday morning.  A burst of chilly and dry air starts pouring into New England Thursday afternoon, pushing rain and snow out and setting our six-state region up for a mostly dry weekend, but a chilly stretch with Friday and Saturday high temperatures only in the 20s to around 30, colder north.  As the air moderates Sunday, the next disturbance approaches with a building chance of mixed showers Sunday night and continuing into early next week, with a milder-than-normal but wetter-than-normal week expected in our exclusive First Alert 10-day forecast.

Roaring Jet Stream Winds Aloft Deliver a Busy Weather Pattern

LKN_FRONTS_BOSDMA (3)An unsettled week of weather has begun with a weak storm center delivering an extended plume of moisture to New England, fed by a connection to Pacific moisture.  Colliding with what little cold air is left in New England, the incoming moisture produced a fresh two to four inches of snow in Northern New England Sunday night into Monday morning, with a bit less in the Northern Berkshires and much less – but still enough for icy spots on untreated roadways – to north-central and Western Massachusetts as well as northern Connecticut.  The feed of moisture to New England will slowly sag south for awhile Monday afternoon, focusing south of the MA Turnpike for a time before another center of low pressure ripples northeast and pushes rain back across most of Southern New England Monday evening for the commute.  With another break in precipitation overnight Monday night and perhaps even some partial clearing, temperatures will drop into the 20s north and 30s south, with some black ice a possibility in Northern MA into Southern NH.  Tuesday’s next round of moisture arrives by mid-morning, but some scattered showers may precede the main burst of rain, and if those initial showers arrive during the morning drive, a few deep inland locales could see a touch of freezing rain early Tuesday morning, but by and large and expectation is plain rain for the vast majority of Southern New England.  Central and Northern New England will be cold enough for snow showers, but not much moisture is likely to reach that far north, keeping impact minimal.  New England finally gets a breather Wednesday – a shot of drier air starting Tuesday night will deliver dry midweek conditions, even though high-altitude clouds will dim the sunshine.  In a busy weather pattern with a roaring jet stream wind aloft – responsible for assisting commercial aircraft in making a record-fast flight from New York to London this past weekend – any breather doesn’t last long before the next disturbance, likely to bring rain and snow showers Thursday…then a pronounced burst of cold and dry air for Valentine’s Day and Saturday, keeping high temperatures in the 20s to around 30 but delivering at least some sunshine both days and holding the next chance of snow and rain off until Sunday evening or night.  The pattern of fast-paced disturbances with generally warmer-than-normal temperatures is expected to redevelop next week in our exclusive First Alert 10-day forecast.

Damaging Wind Gusts a Concern Friday Afternoon...Quieter and Cool Weekend Ahead

LKN_NBCU_WIND_GUSTS_NUMBERS_BOSTON LKN_NBCU_WIND_GUSTS_NUMBERS_BOSTONThe intense upper level atmospheric energy that’s been driving our stormy weather of the last couple of days is poised to move over New England Friday afternoon.  The passage of our storm center – an intense one with a plummeting barometer, indicating a well-developed storm structure – will mean intense weather across New England Friday afternoon, but the type of intense weather will be vastly different across the six states.  In the North Country, cold air pressing south out of Canada will change a snow and sleet mixture to heavy snow in Northern Vermont, the Great North Woods of New Hampshire and northwestern to northern Maine, with a foot of new snow on Friday alone in these spots.  Farther south in Central Vermont to the White Mountains and Central Maine, several new inches are expected but only minor accumulations are expected farther south where sleet, snow and freezing rain mix together for continued icy back roads.  Southern New England started with icy roads Friday, mostly on back roads near and outside of Route 495 in Eastern MA points west and north.  The approaching storm center Friday afternoon will drag a surge of southwesterly wind into some of Southern New England ahead of the center of low pressure, with winds shifting to blow from the southwest and rapidly increasing Friday afternoon from roughly the Boston Metro to Providence Metro to Eastern Connecticut points southeast.  By late Friday afternoon, winds will gust 50 to 70 mph, downing tree limbs, trees and taking our power for some in Southeast New England.  It’s possible a few locations even gust higher than 70 mph by the time Friday evening is over!  These damaging winds will decrease below damaging levels by around 9 PM and while windy conditions persist overnight, new damage will be less likely.  The new Friday night wind will be a cold wind for one and all, clearing the sky but dropping temperatures and leaving strong enough wind gusts for some possible ski lift holds Saturday morning, particularly on summit chairlifts.  That said, both Saturday and Sunday – which will be decidedly less windy – will bring building afternoon clouds with a chance of flurries, but nothing substantial.  A couple of disturbances early next week bring the chance for rain showers south and snow showers north, with most of the week delivering high temperatures in the 40s for Central and Southern New England and 30s north before slightly cooler and drier air ends the week in our exclusive First Alert 10-day forecast.

A Threatening Sky Is Only That...Until Thursday

LKN_ACCUMS_NEWENG_NBCU_ACTIVE (4)The sky looks threatening across most of New England Tuesday, but the gray clouds will fail to produce anything more than a few sprinkles near the South Coast and some flurries in the North Country of New England.  Nonetheless, the abundance of clouds indicates New England continues on the edge of two very different airmasses – cold Canadian air to the north and warm air over the Mid-Atlantic United States.  Of course, a battle zone of temperature also can mean a ripe storm-breeding ground and a couple of storm centers are forecast to develop for the middle and end of the week.  Thursday, a storm center passing to our south in the morning will focus a burst of snow, sleet and rain for New England, expanding from southwest to northeast late Wednesday night into early Thursday morning, dropping anywhere from one or two inches of snow for interior Southern New England to three or four inches from Southern to Central New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine.  The Thursday burst of wintry mix comes on the leading edge to somewhat warmer air pushing north, likely to throttle the wintry mix back to scattered rain showers by Thursday midday and afternoon.  By Thursday night, warmer air will be so evident that temperatures in much of New England may actually rise during the overnight into Friday morning, assuring when the next storm center ripples through we’ll see mostly rain with the exception of the North Country where snow and sleet will continue to fall.  Later Friday, colder air will settle back south again, but that cold surge happens as moisture is ready to pull away from New England to the northeast, so it’s likely only the North Country sees additional snow accumulation while the rest of us probably don’t see more than either tapering rain showers Friday or showers ending as a few snow showers.  Colder, drier air takes hold for the start of the weekend on Saturday with sunshine and cool temperatures, but as a storm center ramps up south of New England Sunday, there’s a chance Southern New England may find ourselves on the northern fringe of the storm, in a shield of accumulating snow…so this is a setup we’ll watch carefully.  Nonetheless, our exclusive First Alert 10-day forecast shows no big cold air outbreaks next week, either, as the warmer-than-normal pattern we forecast in our February monthly outlook unfolds, with frequent disturbances every couple of days bringing recurring chances for rain, mix and, from time to time and especially north, snow.

February Monthly Forecast: Warm and Wet for New England...But That Doesn't Mean No Snow

As with the first weekday morning of every month, today I released our First Alert monthly forecast – and February is looking warm. This comes as no big change to the pattern of January – ranking third warmest in recorded history for the City of Boston, for example, and leaving a dearth of natural snowpack in areas that are accustomed to seeing more snow for skiers and snowmobilers in places like Central and Southern Vermont, Central New Hampshire and interior Maine…and a month of mostly bare ground in much of Southern New England. There’s not much sign the warmer-than-normal weather pattern will change appreciably for Southern New England in the month of February, with an active jet stream expected to tap both the Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico for moisture and warmth – not only pumping warmth into the Eastern half of the Lower 48, but also delivering enough moisture for a wetter-than-normal month in the East, as well.

While warmer and wetter than normal isn’t exactly encouraging for winter sports and winter weather enthusiasts, it’s important to note this prediction doesn’t mean all hope is lost.  In fact, for the North Country - particularly the far north of Vermont, Great North Woods of New Hampshire and Northern Maine - there is still plenty of hope for a couple of reasons.  First, we’re actually predicting near-normal temperatures right at the Canadian border, which in and of itself lends hope for snow.  Second…even if temperatures rise above normal in these northern reaches, the abundance of moisture streaming into New England raises the chances for accumulating snow over the course of the month.  That said, the signal certainly isn’t as positive as cold and wet, and the farther south one is, the less the chance we make up a snow deficit in February…though the deficit may not be as great as public perception would place it, believe it or not.  Someplace like Boston or Concord, NH, are running about nine inches below normal for snow, but Worcester is only two to three inches below normal and someplace like Portland, Maine, is actually about half a foot above average for snow this year!  This not only is evidence that even mild winters can produce snow…at least for some…but also is what keeps the door open to cranking out new snow in the month ahead, particularly the farther north one is.

Week Starts Mild...Set to Turn Unsettled

LKN_ACCUMS_NEWENG_NBCU_ACTIVE (3)Our workweek in New England starts quiet but ends unsettled, with snow and rain both in the forecast.  For now, variable clouds couple with moderate air to allow for high temperatures in the 40s regionwide and with only a light breeze, wind chill will be negligible.  Partly cloudy skies continue overnight Monday night with lows around freezing for many and subfreezing in Northern New England, but with no fresh moisture on the roads, no substantial impact is expected.  Tuesday brings the first of several disturbances to impact New England, each one successively stronger…meaning the Tuesday disturbance will be fairly weak, delivering increased clouds for all of New England but little more than some midday sprinkles or light showers south of the Massachusetts Turnpike, especially near the South Coast, and a light mixed shower in the mountains with highs for most still reaching the 40s.  The next disturbance arrives Wednesday morning and will be only slightly stronger than its Tuesday predecessor, delivering light rain and snow to Southern New England and morning snow showers here and there in Northern New England, all of which is likely to depart by afternoon with little impact aside from wetting the ground in spots.  Thursday is the stronger disturbance – poised to spin a storm system up to our south, putting New England on the cold side of the storm, at least to start, with a push of snow from predawn Thursday through Thursday morning.  The passage of the snow Thursday morning represents a push of warmer air, both aloft and at the surface, and this will encourage a change to lighter mixed precipitation and eventually rain showers for Southern New England as Thursday wears on.  By Thursday night into Friday, a follow-up storm center develops from the south, but by that point more warm air will be in place for New England, meaning rain is most likely in Southern New England, rain or a mix Central and snow or a mix in the North Country.  As the storm departs later Friday, it’ll drag some of the northern cold southward across New England, ending rain and mix as snowflakes for some, but unlikely to be too significant.  Nonetheless, Thursday/Friday snow totals may only end up a couple of inches at worst in Southern New England, but closer to half a foot should accumulate across Northern New England as an early estimate.  Saturday brings a break in the action before one more round of atmospheric energy may deliver clouds and some snow showers Sunday.  Even next week, at the end of our exclusive First Alert 10-day forecast, no substantial winter cold is in sight, and our February monthly forecast delivered on-air this first weekday of February calls for warmer than normal temperatures and wetter than normal conditions in most of New England.

Not Overly Concerned About Nearby Weekend Storm

LKN_ACCUMS_NEWENG_NBCU_ACTIVE (1)Thursday is day two in a three-day stretch of quiet weather for New England, though really, this winter has redefined quiet…these few days are featuring dry weather and light wind, but no major storms are in the offing over the next several days.  For now, high pressure – a fair weather cell – is firmly in charge of the Northeast, and while that dome of fair weather comes with Canadian air holding high temperatures in the middle 30s Thursday and around 40 Friday, the dry nature of the air means ample sunshine, mixed with wispy clouds at times, and quiet wind.  Nighttime lows drop into the teens and 20s for much of New England again Thursday night, even beneath a period of passing clouds, but a slight wind from the southwest Friday will couple with sunshine to bump temperatures to around 40.  We’ve been updating you all week on the storm that will develop Friday near the Gulf Coast and cross the Eastern Seaboard Saturday and our First Alert Weather Team continues the thought we’ve shared all week: this event will have little fanfare for New England.  In fact, most of New England will sit between the storm to our south Saturday, and a separate energetic disturbance aloft, crossing Northern New England.  In the Northern Mountains, scattered snow showers are likely from the latter, while the former may interact with the northern disturbance just enough to fill some rain and snow showers in across Southern and particularly Southeastern New England later Saturday into Saturday evening.  Even if snow and rain showers do crop up later Saturday in Southeast New England, it’s unlikely they’d amount to anything more than a coating to less than an inch of snow on grass, and the Cape would likely be mild enough for raindrops.  Regardless, both the southern and northern disturbances are gone Sunday for a blend of sun and clouds with highs in the 40s ahead of perhaps some brief overnight snow showers Sunday night.  Early next week looks mild – as in, 50s mild – as the country sets up for a strong clash between eastern warmth and western chill.  In between the two contrasting airmasses will be a developing storm, poised to strengthen as it feeds off a combination of Pacific and Gulf moisture, a clash of warm and cold air, and an active jet stream wind aloft.  This storm should move toward New England by week’s end, with the storm track making all the difference between a warm, windy, wet storm, or a snowstorm – that storm track is something we’ll be working out in our exclusive First Alert 10-day forecast.

Dry, Cool High Pressure Keeps Sunshine in New England

BLOG1Three days of sunshine are unfolding in New England as dry air both at the surface and aloft takes over through Friday.  Early Wednesday morning clouds cleared from north to south and ocean-effect flurries shriveled on Outer Cape Cod as the dry air muscling in from Canada simply overwhelmed the clouds.  The trade-off with this dry air and sunshine is the cool nature of Canadian air, with highs each day Wednesday and Thursday in the 30s and just barely over 40 on Friday.  Nonetheless, the bubble of dry air over New England protects the northeast United States from a storm crossing the Eastern U.S. from west to east during the second half of this week, delivering rain and snow to the Southeast quarter of the nation but not able to turn north into our fair weather dome.  The next storm will develop in the nation’s midsection at week’s end, and with our protective, dry, “high pressure” cell drifting east, this opens the door for that storm to track farther north than its predecessor.  Still, the storm-steering jet stream winds aloft that determine storm track will be located to our south, and this means the heart of this next storm should stay south of us, though we may be grazed by some snow or mixed snow and rain showers on the north side of the storm’s large precipitation shield during the second half of Saturday or Saturday evening.  Right now, our exclusive NBC10/NECN Forecast System is indicating about a 50-60% chance of any snow or rain at all in Boston, with an 80% chance on Cape Cod, but also is predicting only a coating to 1” of snow accumulation in Southern New England.  Given the reasons explained here, we think that’s a decent early estimate, barring any major changes to the setup.  By Sunday, the storm will be chugging east of New England and a blend of sun and clouds returns with highs in the 40s and most of next week – the first full week of February – looks like it will feel more like early Spring with high temperatures in the 40s on several days and even near 50 for some, though a storm by the end of the week raises the chance for either snow or rain, as colder air may move in concurrent with that storm.  We’ll keep you posted in our First Alert Forecast.

Subtle Weather Features This Week Precede a Storm to Watch This Weekend

BLOG1Another quiet week of weather is shaping up for New England in a weather pattern that features a “split stream” – that is, cold Canadian energy speeding across the Northern Tier of the United States with deep moisture locked in a southern stream to the south.  When the two streams interact, we get juicy but mostly fast-moving storms, like we saw this past weekend.  Over the next several days, our exclusive First Alert 10-day forecast shows a continuation of a similar weather pattern, with one energetic but relatively moisture-starved disturbance touching off scattered rain and snow showers this afternoon and evening, then another turning the winds favorable for some ocean-enhanced snow showers Tuesday overnight on Cape Cod.  For now, the variable clouds that build in our Monday sky will drop some mixed showers, but with high temperatures running well above the melting point, the biggest impact other than hitting the windshield wiper intermittently in some communities for the drive home from work will be to drop moisture on our roadways prior to dark.  While most communities will probably see this moisture dry before it freezes, some towns – particularly in Central and Northern New England – may have enough lingering road moisture for patches of black ice by Tuesday morning.  Thereafter, the most influential player on New England’s midweek weather will be cooler air arriving with wind direction favoring some ocean-enhanced snow showers on Cape Cod overnight Tuesday night into early Wednesday morning, then drier air will take over for chilly winter sunshine Wednesday and Thursday.  The next storm developing out of the Mississippi River Valley will tap moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, but the jet stream winds aloft – the fast river of air that steers storm systems – will favor carrying the brunt of this storm south of New England.  Though the jet stream favors New England only on the northern periphery, there are wildly varying solutions on where this storm could go – from an inland track of rain to an offshore miss.  To sift through the possibilities, we turn to our exclusive NBC10/NECN Forecast System, built in-house for situations just like this, to give us and you a quantifiable chance the storm will hit.  Right now, we’re seeing a 40-50% chance of at least some amount of rain or snow Saturday and 50-60% chance Sunday, but we’ll keep you posted on this each day this week in our exclusive First Alert forecast.

An Inch of Rain South, Icy Mix North Develops Saturday

LKN_ACCUMS_ICE (1) LKN_ACCUMS_ICE (1)One last day of pleasant weather is with us Friday as clouds increase ahead of the slow-moving storm chugging across the nation’s midsection and poised to move through New England this weekend.  In the interim, temperatures in the 40s Friday afternoon with very little wind will feel like a treat after the cold start earlier this week, even if the sun fades behind variable clouds.  Temperatures won’t tumble tonight, but will fall into the 20s and 30s, so as an onshore wind begins overnight Friday night and moisture increases in the New England air, pockets of drizzle developing by early Saturday morning in Southern New England may actually fall instead as flurries inland or perhaps an isolated pocket or two of freezing drizzle during the morning to midday.  From midday onward, temperatures in all of Southern New England warm enough for raindrops to fall, and while the intensity won’t be much at first, scattered showers of rain will become more commonplace and a bit heavier and steadier as the afternoon wears on.  By evening and night, steady rain falls with about an inch of rain total.  In Northern New England, it’s a different story: developing Saturday flurries turn to scattered late day snow showers, then an evening and night mix of snow to sleet, freezing rain and, for some, raindrops.  This results in an icy mess for the North Country Saturday evening and night with slick roads and perhaps even enough ice accretion on tree limbs and power lines to result in some pockets of power outages by dawn Sunday for the Great North Woods of New Hampshire and the Mahoosuc Region of Maine.  Because of the mix, total snow accumulation will be limited to one to three inches for most of Northern New England, though lingering upslope snow – snow on the windward, westward side of the mountains Sunday – will add a bit more snow for as much as three to six inches in these favored communities.  Otherwise, Sunday delivers a busy breeze of drier air allowing for breaks of sun between clouds and warmer-than-normal temperatures into the 40s.  Next week continues to look benign for late January in our exclusive First Alert 10-day forecast, with a  chance of showers of rain and snow returning by next weekend, but right now even those aren’t looking too foreboding.