Saturday, December 27, 2014

2014's Top 5 Southern New England Weather Events

In recent years Southern New England has experienced its share of region wide major weather events.  2011 alone had several events that would be clear cut number 1's in most years (January snows, June tornado, Hurricane Irene, the October Snow).  2012 was a bit more calm but it still featured a record warm March and Hurricane Sandy.  2013 will be remembered for The February Blizzard and the awful heat/humidity/rain of June and July.   

2014 had a lot of weather but it lacked that one big event that impacted everyone like the events mentioned above.  That is not to say mother nature spared the region; numerous storms caused damage and hardships.  

5.  Thanksgiving Eve Nor'Easter
For residents of Northern New England this event would rate higher on the list.  Hundreds of thousands of residents lost power for days as heavy wet snow sent tree limbs and power lines crumbling to the ground.  In Southern New England 1-3 inches of rain fell across SE MA/RI/CT.  1-3 inches of snow fell in Southern Worcester County and areas north and west of Hartford.  Heavier snows fell in Northern Worcester County, NW CT and Western MA.
NWS Event Summary 11/26/2014 (NOAA)
The largest impacts from this event were travel headaches and the postponement of many High School football Thanksgiving Day games.  The timing of the storm puts it on the list; it was otherwise largely forgettable for Southern New England. 

4. Worcester/Revere Tornadoes
A pair of Tornadoes caught the region off guard in late summer.  The stronger of the two, the Revere tornado hit on July 28 and was rated as EF-2 with winds of 100-120 MPH.  Damage was significant in the center of Revere and it is estimated the tornado was on the ground for 2 miles.  
From NWS Boston twitter on 7/28
According to the National Weather Service this was the first recorded tornado in Suffolk County since records began in 1950. Despite the damage no one was killed or hurt which keeps this ranked at number 4.
Revere 7/28/14 image Dave Ryan/Boston Globe
The Worcester tornado was slightly weaker but did hit the night before Labor Day.  It was rated EF-0 and touched down just north of Route 146 and near I-290.  The storm tracked near Saint Vincent's hospital.  
Worcester, MA 9/1/2014 photo Doug Cope/WBZ radio 1030 am
To read the NWS public information summary find Revere here and Worcester here.

3. January Cold/Snow
There were several snow events in January 2014 that combined with bitter cold to slap SNE into the New Year.  There were two major events.  The first occurred on Jan 2/3 2014.  This storm hit the Cape and Islands and the North Shore hard.  Boston even saw 17.1 inches of snow.
NWS Summary Jan 2/3, 2014 (NOAA)
Find the whole report here.  The unique part of this storm was the cold temperatures that followed.   Temperatures were in the single digits throughout most of this storm.  The next big storm occurred January 21/22.  This storm hit the South Shore hardest with 1.5 feet of snow.
NESIS chart 1/21,22 snow (NOAA/NWS)
Find complete snow reports here.

2. March 26 Nor'Easter
An extremely powerful storm passed just south and east of Southern New England to spare the region a Super storm storm.  However it tracked close enough to the Cape/Islands to wallop the region with 6-10 inches of snow and Hurricane force winds.  The low bombed to 955 mb.  At the same time a 1030 mb high had dropped into the Ohio/Tennessee Valleys.  The strong pressure gradient allowed for winds to gust 40-55 mph across all of SNE
WPC Surface Analysis 11 am 3/26/14 (NOAA)
Snow/wind reports can be found here.  
3/26/2014 via NOAA/Maureen Green webpage
A fire broke out in Boston's Back Bay during the afternoon.  The strong winds helped to spread this fire rapidly and tragically two Boston Fire Fighters were killed.  RIP to Edward Walsh and Michael Kennedy.  18 others were hurt in this fire.  

1.  Hurricane Arthur/July Cold Front
A rare early season east coast Hurricane threatened Southern New England after making landfall in North Carolina on July 3rd.  The storm ultimately stayed offshore but Southern New England paid the price for this in the form of a severe weather outbreak.

The surface analysis on July 3
WPC Surface Analysis 2 PM Thursday July 3
The combination of tropical air streaming north interacting with cooler continental air from Canada allowed for a vicious squall line to form Thursday evening. 
NEXRAD radar archive 1025 PM 7/3/14 (UCAR)
Many remember watching the folks in Boston at the Pops concert run for safety as this approached.  The 4th of July celebrations were moved from the 4th to the 3rd due to the approach of Arthur.  This line caused extensive tree damage throughout SNE
SPC storm reports 7/3/2014 (SPC)
Click here for detailed damage reports.  This slow moving front allowed Arthur to track offshore, but still wouldn't spare the region completely.  The interaction with the cold front allowed for heavy flooding rains to fall across SNE.  
WPC Surface Analysis 7/4/14 2 PM
The nearly stationary boundary over South Coastal MA acted like a rain/snow line.  Extremely heavy rain fell just west of it in the Fall River/New Bedford areas.
NEXRAD radar 255 PM 7/4/14 (UCAR)
All in all nearly 7 inches of rain fell across SE MA.  Thankfully damage was minor despite wind gusts to over 60 mph on Nantucket.  

So while I have surely missed something, these are my top 5 weather memories of 2014.

I don't believe I made a list in 2013 but it would have been

1. Feb 8-9 blizzard
2. June Rain/Humidity 
3. March 9 Snowstorm
4. Late January Wind/rainstorm
5. July Heatwave

Here is my 2012 list.  Thoughts?  Tweet me, comment, or leave a facebook comment.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Winter Storm Watches Posted for Wednesday

A coastal storm will bring accumulating snow Southern New England Wednesday into Wednesday night/early Thursday morning.  Without any true Arctic air locked in there will be a fine line between rain/snow.  As it stand now this line should work back towards 495, but will struggle to get much further.  The Cape, Southern RI, and Coastal CT will likely be shut out.

NWS Boston Headlines
General Overview
Low pressure forms in the Gulf of Mexico tomorrow afternoon
WPC 1 PM surface forecast Tuesday
By Wednesday AM the system will begin to deepen off the North Carolina coast.  This storm will not "bomb" on its way up the coast nor will it phase with another low diving through the Midwest; the pattern is moving too fast.  
WPC 7 am surface forecast Wednesday
There is some relatively warm water off the East Coast so that will enable some strengthening 
OSPO NOAA Sea Surface Temperatures (C)
More importantly this system will develop in the Gulf meaning it will bring lots of tropical moisture with it.  Here are the 3 day precipitation totals, ending Thanksgiving night at 7 PM
WPC 3 day precipitation forecast, valid through Thursday 7 PM
Timing and Impacts
Precipitation will begin after the Morning Rush, but before lunchtime on Wednesday.  Temperature profiles are not ideal as mid level temperatures are initially warm.  This means many places begin as rain, but the colder spots will begin as the dreaded freezing rain.  As the intensity of the precipitation increases interior locations will flip to snow.  This looks to happen shortly after noontime.

Around 4-5 PM, as the sun sets, the snow should really begin to stick.  The heaviest is Wednesday PM.  So how much snow
Guidance is suggesting a possibility of more snow.  I may bring totals up closer to 495/95; it will depend on the temperatures.  

On Thanksgiving morning this should be pulling away.  The football games will be interesting on Thursday morning.  Temperatures will be in the low 30's with 15-25 mph wind gusts.  

12 years ago 6-10 inches of snow fell the day before Thanksgiving cancelling school for the day
NWS Boston snowfall map 11/27/2002
We also woke up to snow Thanksgiving morning 2005, though not as much and it warmed up nicely that day.
NWS Boston 11/24/2005 snowfall map
Its also been 65 (2003, 2007, 2009) or pouring with rain (2004, 2006).  

Questions? twitter @zgreenwx .

Friday, July 4, 2014

Significant Flood Situation in SE MA Tonight

There have been reports of 3-5" of rain in the New Bedford area already today as Hurricane Arthur races Northeast towards the Canadian Maritime.  An additional 3-6+ inches of rain is likely in Bristol and Plymouth counties which will lead to a significant flooding event in that portion of the state.  
NWS Northeast Regional Radar
That band of yellow and red along the S MA coast has been nearly stationary all afternoon.  Flash Flood Watches are up for most of the state, with warnings in effect for the South Coast
NWS Boston Hazards
Tropical Storm Warnings remain in effect for the Cape and Islands with a Hurricane Warning for the waters offshore.  Here is the latest advisory from the Hurricane Center
NHC 2 PM Hurricane Arthur Advisory
The winds are not going to be a major deal outside of the Cape, but a few gusts over Tropical Storm force are possible across Eastern MA.  Gusts up to 60 are possible in Nantucket/Outer Cape.  The Upper Cape/Vineyard are looking at 45-55 in general.  The major story will be the rain.  The WPC has issued a precipitation discussion for Southeast New England and it is a not a pretty outlook
Basically a front is stalled out in Eastern MA.  While this front contributed to keeping Arthur offshore, it is setting the stage for a flood event.  Here is the local surface analysis
WPC 2 PM Surface Analysis
As I type this the NWS has upgraded to Major Flood Emergency in New Bedford.  Flash flooding is likely in other areas as the rainfall rates increase.  Do not drive through a flooded roadway.  The rain ends around midnight west to east.  Rest of the weekend is great.

-Zack Green

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Hurricane Arthur Will Bring Rain to SNE

We officially have our first Hurricane of the 2014 North Atlantic Hurricane Season.  Arthur has been upgraded by the National Hurricane Center as of 5 am.  The storm will still track south and east of the Cape, but some heavy rain is expected tomorrow.  Tropical Storm force winds are likely on the Outer Cape/Islands. 

The 5 AM advisory/track/warnings

5 am NHC Advisory Hurricane Arthur
A cold front is slowly moving east towards the coast.

WPC 5 am Surface Analysis
The line of thunderstorms died out as it entered Worcester County yesterday.  The same areas that saw some severe weather and flash flooding are expected to again today. 

SPC Day 1 Outlook
Heavy rain, gusty winds, and frequent lightning will be the primary hazards but hail and a brief tornado are not impossible back in NY/VT.  In anticipation of heavy rain there are flash flood watches up for many places in the interior Northeast (in green). 

NWS Eastern Region HQ hazards Page
For today there will be rounds of showers/thunderstorms throughout SNE.  Some places will stay completely dry, others will be hit multiple times.  Keep an eye to the sky.  Boston should be ok for the fireworks tonight.

Any overnight rain ends early enough that the first half of Friday is dry, albeit muggy.  Around early afternoon the rain from Arthur should arrive.

06z NAM hires Simulated Radar 2 PM Fri (image Weatherbell)
The heaviest winds are from about 5 PM-3 AM for SE MA.  I can't rule out a few stronger gusts in Central MA/E CT/N RI if a strong rain band works north but this is a low probability.  Here is the 3 day rain forecast from the WPC

WPC 3-day rainfall outlook
Worcester and Boston are looking at ~1.75", with  ~2" in Providence, Brockton, ~2.5 in Plymouth, Hyannis.  3"+ likely Outer Cape/Islands.  This is not a major storm for New England, in fact many recent Nor'Easters have had a greater impact.  However it is distruptive.  The good news is after this clears high pressure builds for the rest of the weekend. 

-Zack Green

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Tropical Storm Arthur Update (UPDATE 206 PM)

A severe thunderstorm watch has been posted for much of Southern New England
STSW 386 (SPC)
Most of the thunderstorm activity will be north and west of Hartford-Worcester-Portsmouth.  Here is the short range high resolution computer simulation for 4 PM

16z HRRR simulated radar valid 4 PM (image weatherbell)
The action should wane this evening before firing back up tomorrow.  Our buddy Arthur is looking better this afternoon

NOAA  GOES_Tropical Floater visible satellite 145 PM
He may be a Hurricane by the end of the day.  The latest EURO computer model just arrived and is showing significant rainfall in Eastern New England.  More tonight/tomorrow morning.
Good Morning.  As expected Tropical Depression 1 was named Tropical Storm Arthur yesterday at 11 am.  Since that time the pressure has fallen and winds have increased.  The storm is still fighting dry air
GOES_floater Water Vapor Loop (NOAA)
Notice the dark colors north of the system.  That is dry air that is killing some of the thunderstorm growth in the center of the storm.  We do see thunderstorms making a comeback in more recent images.

NWS Southeast Regional Radar
The National Hurricane Center has been consistent with the track.  It should pass either right over or just to the east of the Outer Banks before racing south and east of the Cape

NHC Forecast track/intensity, watches & warnings
Most guidance shifted slightly west overnight.  It still appears rounds of tropical downpours are likely tonight through Friday with a chance for stronger bands later Friday night as Arthur passes.  As of now I recommend keeping plans North and West of the Pike.  I would be prepared to deal with Tropical Storm conditions in SE MA/RI.  A clear picture will emerge today as to where any potential heavy rain sets up. 

Here is the WPC 5-day outlook

WPC 5 day precip outlook
It does appear the heaviest rains will be in the Mid-Atlantic and up through Albany as well as the Cape/Islands.

WPC Surface Forecast Thursday 8 PM
Again tropical systems are difficult for the models to handle.  There is a 10-20% chance much of Southern New England sees tropical storm force winds which could bring down some trees/power lines.  That's a 80-90% chance it won't happen, but something to keep an eye on. 

Have a good day

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

1st Tropical System to Impact July 4th Plans

A tropical depression has formed off the Florida coast and is forecast to strengthen into a Tropical Storm/Hurricane by the end of the week.  It will impact the 4th of July holiday up and down the East Coast.
NOAA GOES-East IR rainbow satellite loop
Currently winds are 35 mph but the storm is expected to be named Arthur later today
NHC 5 am advisory/5 day track
By Friday Night/Saturday morning a hurricane may be passing south and east of the Cape.  Right now the storm is not moving much.  It will begin to move in response to a cold front pushing east out of the Midwest

5 am Surface Analysis (WPC)
This cold front/tropical interaction will create interesting weather for the next several days.  First of all, severe weather is likely in parts of the Northeast tomorrow, though not for Southeastern New England

SPC Day 2 Severe Weather Outlook
Overnight Wednesday into Thursday is when Southern New England may get into the severe action.  Of greater concern is the potential interaction between the tropical system and this front.  The NAM low res has precipitable water amounts of 2"

06z NAM op precipitable water Thurs 11 am (image weatherbell)
As of now it appears at least an inch of rain will fall across much of the area in the next 5 days.  There will be jackpot areas of much more rain but its tough to tell where these will be right now.

WPC 5 day precip forecast
Guidance will help today as the storm gets a bit stronger and starts to move slowly northward.   It is important to remember that sea surface temperatures are above normal along the east coast.  This system is small so strengthening is likely.  While unlikely, a more westerly track would have big time implications for coastal Southern New England.  Even with a track south and east high waves and rip currents will effect beaches this weekend.

OSPO SSTA 6.30.14
With a weak El Nino likely to develop this summer, most of the tropical action will be in close to the United States.  One can see the Eastern Gulf and SW-Central Atlantic as prime areas for development this season.  More to come. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Mother's Day Weekend Forecast

It looks like a brief warm up is on the way for the weekend.  Enjoy it!  Here is the forecast for the rest of the week/weekend.

Short Term Forecast
Temperatures this afternoon are generally in the upper 50's.  However when there are breaks of sun and the wind relaxes temperatures jump into the mid 60's
3 PM 2 m temperatures (image Weatherbell)
Here is the current regional radar loop
NWS Northeast Regional Radar 428 PM
Here is the visible satellite
GOES_East Visible Satellite 430 PM (image NOAA)
These clouds and showers are driven by differences in ground temperature and cold air aloft.  Check the surface chart and notice flow is out of Northwest around high pressure in Ontario/Quebec
WPC Surface Analysis 2 PM
Also notice the front draped horizontally across the US.  This front will slowly push north and east as a trough in the west digs.  This will allow for some severe weather in the Central US over the next several days.  In the meantime tonight clouds will dissipate tonight so temperatures will fall into the upper 30's/low 40's.  

High pressure will remain in control tomorrow.  Winds will be lighter (except near coast).  Expect mid 60's in general with a few locations near 70.  It will be cooler at the coast.

Rain breaks out in SW New England but will struggle to reach SE New England.  Temperatures in mid 60s with partly cloudy skies

Slight chance of showers in Western/Central MA/CT but SE MA and RI looks mostly dry.  Temps in the low 60s

Weekend Forecast
Warm front will finally move through Southern New England Friday night.  Some left over precipitation likely Saturday AM but it will clear and the sun will break out in the PM.  Temperatures rise into mid 70s.  
WPC Saturday 8 am Surface Forecast
The cold front trailing through the Ohio Valley will set off some showers/thunderstorms Saturday night into Sunday morning.  However I do not expect this to be widespread in Southern New England.  Looks heavier in Central/Northern New England.  Temperatures will rise into the low 70's.  There could be a light shower in the PM.

I teased the potential for 80 on Monday.  Its 6 days away so this could change, but I do like another warm day Monday.  

Enjoy it, temperatures look to return to below normal next week with more rain.
CPC 8-14 day temp outlook
I will fine tune the weekend forecast Thursday.  Have a great night.

-Zack Green

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