A few weeks ago, we posted that from late January onward our area was likely to receive a very wintry period of weather; cold air, chances for snow. Now that we’ve made it to mid February, most of the area has experienced several significant snowfall events and has experienced the brunt of below normal temperature anomalies.
And we’re not done just yet.
Forecast models have come into agreement on the development of a storm system off the East Coast on Saturday, and although it may not be as strong as the one which passed nearby on Thursday, there is likely to be more precipitation from the system as it strengthens off the New England Coast. The key to forecasting this one, as is the case with many, will be timing how fast the rapid strengthening of the system begins. This will have a major impact on whether or not our area sees bands of heavier snow, or a more broad area of lighter snow.
As it stands now, the best chances for impacts from this system will come from New York City northeastward — on Long Island and into Southern New England. As the system develops offshore, forecast models show the mid level centers (at 700,850, and 925mb) closing off just east of Long Island. This position is not ideal for New York City and New Jersey to receive widespread heavy snow. Why? Because when these centers close off, lift in the atmosphere strengthens just northwest of them. And they are modeled to do so just barely too far northeast for that area.
Over Long Island and Southern New England, however, a different tale is told. Models are in agreement that snow will develop within the cold conveyor belt — and it may be heaviest just offshore. But the coastal areas look likely to receive at least a few inches of snow as the system passes by.
The important thing to remember is that even a slight adjustment on the forecast models, towards a faster strengthening or more amplified solution, would mean that these bands of heavy snow would make it onshore. And that leaves us feeling a bit weary about the forecast.
So stay tuned over the next day or so as we try to iron out the details of yet another complicated winter storm scenario. For now, expect the possibility of a few inches of snow on Saturday — with higher amounts on the Island and into Southern New England.