State of the Southern New England Winter
The calendar reads 2/2 which means it is time for rodents all across America to tell us if we will see an early spring or a long winter. New Englanders know to ignore the groundhog. If spring breaks before the middle of April it is a minor miracle. Merely reaching February is no cause for celebration as the shortest month often feels like the longest. It also produces the most snow, on average, across the four major Southern New England climate sites (BDL Airport, Worcester Airport, Logan Airport, TF Green Airport). Let's take a look at where we stand as we enter winter's busiest stretch. As your unofficial, unelected, self-designated representative to Mother Nature, it is time for the 2016-17 State of the Southern New England Winter address.
I. 2016-17 So Far
In the meteorology world, winter runs from December 1 to February 28/29. If that were true in SNE we would be 2/3's of the way through the winter. But while March is spring like sometimes (2012), most of the time it is just an extension of February. Here is where we stand in regards to temperatures and snowfall so far.
Several snow events and one bitterly cold event in December made headlines. The 12-15-16 Arctic Assualt was the coldest December temperature in Boston since 1983! However, storms continued to take a track to our west so only some snow was able to fall despite the cold temps. A storm the next day dropped 4-8 inches of snow across SNE. Another storm a few days after Christmas added another 4-8 north and west of the MA Pike/495. Temperatures finished a few tenths of a degree above normal for the month.
The atmosphere changed as we entered 2017. Now some may read this as a political statement but it is not. After some snow January 6/7, there have only been a handful of light snow events. The majority of the January snow was in SE MA/RI. The stormy weather was found out west as one storm after another pounded the west coast with heavy snowfall and drought denting rain. The upper atmosphere often produced a trough of low pressure near the West Coast or in the Western US. This allowed for Pacific air to enter the weather pattern and a result New Englanders often saw seasonably mild temperatures.
As already stated it has been warm in the Eastern US so far in 2017. The cold can be found in the Pacific Northwest. The rest of North America is red.
|CFS v2 2 m temperature anomaly 12/4/2016 1 AM to 2/2/2017 1 AM|
|NWS Accumulated Precipitation 12/4/2016 7 AM to 2/2/2017 7 AM (image Weatherbell)|
|US Drought monitor 11.1.16 vs 1.31.17|
II. The Rest of Winter
In December I wrote a post titled "Make December Snow Great Again" and proceeded to make the case that December snow in recent years has been "Sad!" The recent post-February 1 snow has been "tremendous" and in some cases (2015) truly the best. I analyzed each winter since 2000-01 to get a sense of how the 21st-century snow patterns.
|click to enlarge|
|CFS v2 45 day temperature outlook (image Weatherbell)|
|CPC 10-14 day temperature outlook|
So some good news as I close this address to the Southern New England weather faithful. By February 28 the sun will set at 5:36 PM in Worcester. On March 12 the sun will set at 6:51 PM. The average high temperature for February 28 in Boston is 41. We are getting there. We must stay vigilant as February Nor'easters are famous for making a mess in a hurry. Thanks for reading.