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Could it actually snow on Saturday?

You can’t really be surprised that snow is once again in the forecast, can you? After a two month period featuring record breaking cold and snow, temperatures soared into the 60’s on Thursday evening. But a cold front swept through the area Thursday Night, ushering in colder than normal air once again. Highs on Friday barely reached into the 40’s. And on Friday Night into Saturday, forecast models are indicating a return of post-frontal precipitation with a chance of, yes, light snow throughout the area and into New England.

As a large mid and upper level system slides from the Ohio Valley to the Northeast US Coast, enough atmospheric energy will force the development of a low pressure system offshore. While the center of low pressure will be hundreds of miles to our east, an inverted trough extending westward from it will be the culprit in our snow chances. Light snow could develop as early as Friday Night and is expected to continue in parts of the area until Sunday morning. But the location and intensity of the snow becomes the main detail we’ll have to iron out.

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Spring Weather: Severe thunderstorms, and the SPC

Each year, as the atmospheric pattern begins to undergo a transition and wavelengths begin to change, the threat for strong to severe thunderstorms becomes a focus of the meteorological community in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. Spring, in fact, marks the beginning of “Severe Weather” season in our area — which generally has been known to begin on May 1st. There have obviously been severe thunderstorms before May 1st, but in general the most consistent potential for organized severe storms begins in May and ends in August or September.

Interestingly enough, severe thunderstorms feature some terminology and atmospheric interactions which can be very confusing not only to interpret as meteorologists, but to understand on the public level. Knowing the basics of how organized thunderstorm events develop, and how forecasters attempt to predict and quantify their potential, will help to make things a little less confusing when severe weather season comes around this year.

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Showers, thunderstorms likely through Thursday

These days, Spring’s impacts are fleeting at best. This week won’t be much different, as Spring will make a one day appearance on Thursday and  disappear for several more days thereafter. Nevertheless, the impacts over the next 24 to 48 hours will be noteworthy when it comes to our sensible weather. A warm front approaching the area will be first signaled this afternoon by steady showers, which will continue on and off through the evening. Temperatures will rise into the 40’s as winds turn southerly from the late afternoon into the overnight period.

A low pressure system developing from the Ohio Valley into the Northern Mid Atlantic will aid in the continuation of the aforementioned southerly flow on Thursday. The approaching warm front will continue the chance of showers, with clouds and fog likely in the morning hours. Temperatures, however, will rebound into the 50’s during the day. The warm front will also be home to a tremendous thermal gradient, which will shift northward through New Jersey toward New York City on Thursday.

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NWS adjusts curiously low snowfall totals at Central Park

For years now, the meteorological community has been aware that Central Park usually reports snowfall totals lower than its surroundings. For reasons not completely known, surrounding stations at Newark, LaGuardia, and Teterboro Airports almost always seem to report higher snowfall totals. Even local, public reports in Midtown and Lower Manhattan seem to consistently come in higher than the Central Park Zoo. This year, the National Weather Service took to the task and edited the official Central Park reports to better match surrounding data.

Snowfall amounts from three separate storms this winter:

January 6th, 2015: Snowfall total adjusted from 0.5″ to 1.0″ (+0.5″)

January 24th, 2015: Snowfall total adjusted from 2.5″ to 3.6″ (+1.1″)

February 2nd, 2015: Snowfall total adjusted from 3.3″ to 5.0″ (+1.7″)

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Rockville Centre, NY blanketed with several inches of snow on Friday, March 20. (Doug Simonian)

First week of Spring looks to only be a technicality

Happy Spring, everyone! Well, sort of. Most of the area was blanketed with between 4 and 7 inches of snow on Friday, which was the first day of Spring. This has helped to bring many official weather stations in our area to over double their average snowfall.

Central Park: 4.7″ on March 20-21, 18.6″ of snow in March, 50.3″ seasonal total.

LaGuardia: 4.6″ on March 20-21, 17.2″ of snow in March, 53.8″ seasonal total.

Islip: 5.5″ on March 20-21, 17.9″ of snow in March, 62.2″ seasonal total.

The snowiest March on record was a whopping 30.5″ in 1896, which is unlikely to be broken this year. But snowfall nearing 20″ this month, combined with temperatures averaging between 3 and 4 degrees below average so far has certainly helped to contradict the fact that March is “Meteorological Spring”.

Unfortunately, the cold pattern looks to be continuing, with perhaps even another chance or two of snow over the next ten days.

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