Arctic cold, multiple chances for snow through next week

We don’t have it as bad as Boston. Yet, multiple freezing rain and winter weather events have made their way through our region over the past several weeks just the same. Freezing rain, sleet and snow have become mainstay’s in the weekly weather. And the repetitive pattern has many wondering when winter will finally end. Unfortunately, that does not look to be any time soon. While not everything in our current weather pattern screams in support of a major snowstorm, there are widespread indications that arctic cold and multiple chances for Nor’Easters will show their face from late this week into next week.

Both time periods will be evolving remarkably similarly aloft. Over the next few days, a large mid and upper level ridge will begin amplifying on the west coast of the United States, and  powerful shortwaves with potent energy will be diving down from Canada on the eastern periphery of that ridging. The first potential event, this coming Thursday into Friday, looks likely to remain progressive enough for our area to avoid significant snowfall. While the pattern is amplified in the mid levels, it remains slightly progressive — without any high latitude blocking to slow things down. As a result, the developing surface low looks likely to slip just far enough east.

Behind that storm, a significant amount of arctic air will pour southward from the pole into the Northeast United States, This could lead to Thursday night’s temperatures falling into the upper single digits, and Friday’s temperatures not getting out of the mid to upper teens. Wind Chills would run well below zero — as 850mb temperatures will fall below 20 C. This airmass will likely end up being the coldest of the season to date.

But the storm systems aren’t done yet — the pattern will remain active. And by Sunday, an arctic upper level low will drop southward from the Great Lakes through the Northeast States. Forecast models indicate a high amplitude pattern and another chance for a developing coastal storm. With extremely cold temperatures aloft and at the surface, a very cold snowfall would be possible. The exact track of the storm system will obviously have huge impacts on precipitation types and amounts.

GFS model showing a significant low pressure system off the coast of the Northeast this weekend.

GFS model showing a significant low pressure system off the coast of the Northeast this weekend.

Forecast models at this range are split on both sides of the envelope. The GFS and GGEM are farther east and more progressive, while some GFS Ensemble members and the ECMWF are more amplified bringing the storm closer to the coast. High snow ratios could bring moderate snowfall amounts even with limited liquid equivalent precipitation amounts.

Regardless of the snow, the arctic cold which follows late this weekend into early next week will be remarkable. Forecast models bring 850mb temperatures close to -30 C — indicating single digit high temperatures and the potential for some readings below zero throughout the forecast area. Blustery northwest winds will make it feel more like deep winter than it has so far this season.

The cold, snowy pattern looks likely to continue for at least another week — as evidenced above — and may even drag on past then, through the end of February.