Saturday, January 19, 2019

Final Thoughts As Winter Storm Approaches Region

The National Weather Service in Norton, MA has issued a *Winter Storm Warning* for Western, Central and Northeastern Massachusetts.  A *Winter Weather Advisory* has been issued for Connecticut, Rhode Island, and parts Southeastern Massachusetts.
NWS Headlines Saturday 3 PM
Each subregion of Southern New England (SNE) faces unique hazards from this storm system.  The biggest snow totals will be confined to Northern New England but over a foot is possible in Northwest Massachusetts.  The highest totals in Central and Eastern MA will be in the communities along the NH/MA border, away from the immediate coast.  Meanwhile, river, coastal, and flash flooding are all hazards along the South Coast, Cape, and Islands.  Some minor river flooding is possible in parts of Rhode Island.  In the middle, where most people reading this blog live, we will see snow, sleet, freezing rain, and even plain rain.  The snow will be heavy at times, the sleet will heavy at times, and the freezing rain/rain will be heavy at times.  Got all that?  Let's break it down.

Timing
Precipitation begins as snow starting around 7 PM. Flurries this afternoon shouldn't stick to the roads.  Snow will be flying everywhere, including the Cape and Islands, by 10 PM.  Snow will begin to stick around this time too.  Temperatures inland will be in the mid to upper 20's.  After midnight, the snow/mix/rain line begins to advance north as warmer air surges in.  Sleet gets into Northern RI/South Central MA around 4 AM.  This line gets to Worcester/Framingham/Boston by 5 AM and into the Lowell/Lawerence area by 7 AM.  South of the Pike in Eastern MA and all of RI will be plain rain by 8 AM.  

18z HRRR precip type/qpf Sat 7 PM- Sun 6 PM (image WeatherModels.com)
Freezing rain will develop in CT and Central/Western MA around 7-8 AM.  0.25-0.40 inches of ice is possible which is not good for travel or the power grid, especially with 30-40 MPH wind gusts.  The latest computer models are pretty warm so hopefully, we flip to plain rain tomorrow in the Blackstone Valley.  However, this wouldn't happen until late morning/early afternoon, and we will finish with freezing rain tomorrow evening so travel will be very difficult tomorrow.  But, we could save ourselves the tree/powerline problems.

How Much Snow/Ice/Precipitation?

Snow
Expected Snow (via NWS Boston)
Plowable snow for sure, falling fast between midnight and 4 AM.

Ice
Expected Ice (via NWS Boston)
Tomorrow morning through early evening.  There is high uncertainty with this forecast.

In total, there will be 2-3" of precipitation with this system.

Frigid Monday

With all that liquid on the ground, a flash freeze will occur regionwide tomorrow evening.  Any untreated surfaces will become skating rinks.  Temperatures will drop into the single digits by Monday morning and will stay there.  Wind chill temperatures on Monday will be below zero.  It will be a miserable day to be outside.

Thank You NWS Employees
If you want me to just "stick to the weather", have a great day, thanks for reading!  I have something I need to get off my chest and I'm getting political.

The National Weather Service is working without pay during this government shutdown.  Yes, they will get back pay but a lot of people live paycheck to paycheck or pretty close.  I feel for the younger employees like me, several of whom are friends of mine.  I would not be able to run this blog without the products and messaging from the National Weather Service.  During the duration of the government shutdown, I have not noticed any problems with NWS or the data they offer.  It is a testament to their commitment to their job.  They had to endure this hatchet piece from the Washington Post which ran for 11 days before someone finally published a correction.  That correction was prompted by AccuWeather who wrote a rather tasteless, shameless promotion of their own product.  AccuWeather's tone was bad, but when the well known and highly regarded WaPo writes a story like that, I'm not sure you can fault a private company for trying to capitalize/respond after an anonymous source told the WaPo, "You're forecast will suffer!"

The weather community rallied to the NWS's defense after the AccuWeather article.  AccuWeather updated the story and made it softer.  That is a good thing.  As I stated above, all of the meteorology community relies on the public sector as the leading communicator for watches and warnings, as well as data for the GFS, NAM, HRRR and other weather models.  There wasn't a need to kick them when they are down.  However, there were crickets with a few minor exceptions, most notably Dr. Ryan Maue, after the WaPo hit piece.

AccuWeather's CEO Barry Myers stepped down on January 1 and has been nominated by President Trump to take over as the director of NOAA.  AccuWeather has also rubbed people in the meteorological community the wrong way for it's 45 and 90-day forecasts, and issuing their own warnings to clients for tornadoes.  The meteorological community is heavily slanted towards left-leaning folks, often with pressure from the academic climate change community.  The vitriol towards AccuWeather came out this week.  After silence on the WaPo story, a weather twitter mob swarmed upon the State College, PA based company.  This tells me that folks in the weather community are okay with smearing the NWS if you blame in on the orange man in the White House.  It shows that like everything else, meteorology is politicized.  The AccuWeather piece has hurt some feelings, while the Washington Post article was downright harmful to the meteorological community and to the amount of faith people (or lack thereof) have in meteorologists to get the forecast right.  It's a shame the reaction wasn't to call out the Post immediately after the article. 

I'll do my absolute best to keep politics out of my blogs.  Sometimes, I just can't. 

-Zack Green

1 comment:

  1. Nothing wrong with voicing your opinion bud. Thanks for the forecast.

    ReplyDelete

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