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Is Winter Over? Not So Fast. Multiple Snow Chances Next Week. 3/12

As the air is beginning to get warmer and we spring our clocks ahead, many are wondering if we can finally put this mild winter to bed. To many forecasters surprise, this winter ended up being much less severe than forecasted with below average snowfall for most of the region. However, the past few years Old Man Winter has refused to go down without a fight and this year will likely be no different. We should think twice before packing up the winter coats and shovels.

Early Next Week:

Our first chance for some wintry weather will be early next week. This time period has been highlighted in the models for some time now and will likely produce some snow during the day next Monday. Right now models are honed in on the highest effects beging felt in southern New England and Long Island with 2-4" of snow possible. The storm is still a week away so it is not yet set in stone so it bears watching.

The storm will likely not be too much of a nuisance as the area of low pressure will be rather broad and weak as it dives south from Canada. These systems tend to have little moisture to work with and struggle to produce heavy snow with such weak dynamics at play. The next threat after this one may promote us to watch a little closer though.

Late Next Week:

There is big potential for the time frame around March 20th-21st which is late next week. Over the past few days models have been ranging from major snowstorm to well out to sea bombs. Right now the ensemble models (the most reliable at this range) are pointing towards a solution that is more out to sea and further away from impacts.

I have spoken a lot about this time period the the past few weeks actually and the potential has shown itself for a while now. Some individual members of these model means are showing some rather strong solutions that crawl up the east coast and deliver major snowfall and wind impact to a large area, and while I that currently is not my thinking, I would hesitate to rule it out. One of those reasons is for favorable teleconnections. Right now our PNA ridge is expected to spike out west and this has some drastic influences on our storm chances and weather here on the east coast.

PNA forecast

As you can tell from the graphic above, the PNA is really set to spike within the next week and max out right around the same time our storm comes to fruition before relaxing again. This makes me a bit wary of the out to sea solution as a strong PNA spike will help strengthen the storm and bring it closer to the coast.

Traditional + PNA

A traditional positive PNA promotes cold weather in the eastern side of the United States because of a large ridge in western Canada. That ridge pools cold air in the east and creates a lane for storms to form. This lane is also ripe for rapid intensification as the ridge helps storms in the east organize and when storms organize they usually strengthen.

However, just because there is a positive PNA does not lock in this threat. The lack of high heights around the Greenland region and the neutral AO both work against this threat and are causing me to lean slightly against it for now.

Down below I attached a map I created detailing the possible storm tracks and players on the field to give a general overview.

This first scenario shows the possibility of a major snowstorm. A negatively tilted trough aided by our spiked PNA out west would help guide our storm directly up the coast and organize it. Some of the more intense solutions phase our storm and part of the Polar Vortex that breaks off creating a large slow moving cyclone. It does worry me that it is March and some models are not placing a high to the north to supply cold air but that is more so in the fine details as we get closer. This would likely be the biggest snowstorm of the year for many.

Our second and final scenario shows a positively tilted trough guiding our disorganized system away. With little impact. A positively tilted trough causes our storm to be disorganized and shunted out to sea. Here many regions would likely be dry with temperatures in the mid to high 40's.

The bigger storm threat is still a long ways out but at this point in winter storm begin to become less and less likely. Some years things just fail to workout in terms of snow and this appears to be one of those years so the odds for a major storm next week are lower than usual this time around. Although, March has been open to producing some major snowstorms for our area especially in recent years so I would not rule it out yet. Regardless, whatever snow we get we should enjoy from early next week as it may be the last we see until next winter.