Right now, as I type, there is a massive blizzard about to develop and hit the Eastern Seaboard from Washington, DC, New York, and Boston. Forecast models predict 24 to 36 inches of snowfall, which would be epic. Last week was considerably warmer for most of the Northern Hemisphere. The cold areas were in Western Alaska, Northern Canada, Eastern Russia, Iberian Peninsula, and Northern Scandinavia. It was very warm in Western Canada and Central Asia. Most of America was warm, while Texas enjoyed normal temperatures.
So, why the warmth?
There is upper level troughing over Baffin Bay, Northern Alaska, Arctic Ocean, and North Central Siberia. There is troughing over the Mediterranean region of Europe. That kept things cool over that region.
Here are 24 hour forecast from GFS, Canadian (GEM), Naval (NAVGEM), EURO, and Japanese (JMA). Special thanks to Tropical Tidbits as usual. Let’s start with GFS.
It is a 24 hour forecast and shows the Nor’easter with central pressure of 980 millibars. The Nor’easter is east of Cape Cod. It shows snow from New Jersey to the Maritime Provinces of Canada. Now, let’s look at GEM.
The GEM has a central pressure of 977 millibars. The storm is centered south of Cape Cod. It interestingly show sleet falling over the southern shores of New Jersey. The heaviest snow appears to be over Eastern Massachusetts. The GEM has a more intense storm than GFS in terms of central pressure and snowfall rate. Let’s look at NAVGEM.
NAVGEM has central pressure of 976 millibars. It is the lowest pressure out of five. It treats all precipitation, rain or snow as precipitation. Like GEM, it shows heaviest snowfall over Eastern Massachusetts. Like GEM, it is south of Cape Cod, but even further south. Let’s look at the EURO.
The EURO has 977 millibars like GEM. There is no precipitation forecast from EURO, but this one has 5,000 feet wind, which is 110 mph! Areas off shore could see winds as high as 88 mph (To convert 5,000 feet wind to surface, you multiply by factor of 0.8) on the surface with gusts as high as 110 mph. (multiply sustained wind by factor 1.25). Over land, the highest winds at 5,000 feet is 92 mph or 74 mph, with gusts as high as 111 mph! It is going to be a dangerous one. Here is another forecast model like EURO, JMA.
The JMA has barometric pressure of 982 millibars. It is the highest pressure out of the five forecast models. Like EURO, it does not have precipitation, but has 5,000 feet wind. The strongest winds are east of Massachusetts. The winds are 92 mph at 5,000 feet or 74 mph. That means gusts could go as high as 93 mph over the ocean. On land, the forecast models have 75 mph winds at 5,000 feet on the shores of Massachusetts, which is 60 mph with gusts as high as 90 mph. That would be really bad no matter what.
The Nor’easter looks to be a really epic one with lots of snow and strong winds. I would not rule out thunder snow in some areas as lightning as been reported off shore. That is signs that storm is intensifying. The average pressure from all five forecast is 978.4 millibars. I suspect it could go even lower perhaps, to below 970 millibars.
After the Nor’easter, what will the analog forecast hold? Here is a 6 to 10 day forecast, centered at day 8.
1/28/1971-Cold blasts hits on February 5. Many areas in Southeast Texas see lows of low 20s to low 40s between 2/8 to 2/10.
2/9/1979-Houston area see its coldest day for February 1979. Intercontinental Airport: 26°F; College Station: 21°F; Galveston: 30°F. Major ice storm happened in Northern Georgia and Southern parts of the Carolinas on 2/7. 0.50 to 1.50 inches are recorded.
1/17/1971-Warm spell for Southeast Texas starting on 1/21 to 1/27 with a cold front and warms up again on 1/28 to 1/31.
2/7/2007-Near record low reported in Southeast Texas on 2/16. Intercontinental Airport: 26°F; College Station: 21°F.
2/14/2003-A strong cold front passes over Central Texas. Ice storm hits Central Texas on 2/23-25.
1/30/1980-Snowfalls in Houston area on 2/2. Intercontinental Airport: 1.40; College Station: Trace; Galveston: Trace.
Some of these analog dates are interesting. Does this mean, snow, warmth, or cold blast will happen in the next 6 to 10 days? Not, but the upper level atmosphere could be conducive for one.