All Weather News

Blizzard Potential Boston Area (welcome to the Winter of All or Nothing)

15 Feb 2014, 7:19 am


Alerts Broadcaster Briefing: Issued Saturday night, February 14, 2014.

* Computer guidance showing a growing potential for blizzard or near-blizzard conditions for Boston and Cape Cod late Saturday and Saturday night, with sustained winds of 30-40 mph producing white-out conditions.
* 6-10″ of additional snow likely in the Boston area, over 1 foot for Cape Cod with significant blowing and drifting, peaking Saturday night.
* New York City may pick up about 2″ of snow from this coastal storm Saturday; heavier amounts over Pennsylvania and upstate New York.

Additional Snowfall. Our models show the brunt of the next Nor’easter staying out to sea, just clipping Boston and Cape Cod with heavy snow and strong winds. Conditions will deteriorate as the day goes Saturday in the Boston area; the worst travel conditions coming Saturday night. Map: NOAA and Ham Weather.


Blizzard Potential: 9 PM Saturday Evening. Our internal BPI models show a strong probability of blizzard conditions from Concord and Peabody into metro Boston, conditions become progressively worse the closer you get to Cape Cod, where white-out conditions are likely Saturday night.

Summary: Although the brunt of the next coastal storm will remain just offshore, there’s growing confidence in a forecast of hazardous to treacherous winter conditions from near Providence to Boston Saturday PM and nighttime hours. I expect delays and cancellations at Boston Logan, especially after 3 PM ET Saturday. Conditions improve during the day Sunday as snow tapers and winds begin to ease.


Snowy Perspective. The meteorologists at WeatherNation TV have compiled some interesting (and at times jaw-dropping) stats about the recent East Coast storm, and the extent of winter disruption. Image above: NOAA.

Roanoke, VA:
19″- biggest 24-hour snowfall in 18 years
Third-biggest snowfall recorded
Blacksburg, VA:
20.1″- 3rd-snowiest snowfall recorded
Philadelphia, PA:
4th 6″-plus
5th snowiest season on record already!
Central Park, NYC:
54″ so far this season, now 9th snowiest season on record
Minneapolis averages 54″ for the season, has 40.4″ so far this year.
Set single-day precip/liquid equivalent total with 1.77″

A Real Winter

– This winter has led to the most flight cancellations in 25 years
– More than 75,000 flights have been cancelled since Dec. 1 (about 5.5% of flights)

– Includes 14,000 flights cancelled this week alone




Winter-Cane. Although this week’s ice and snow storm didn’t produce as much structural damage as a hurricane, if you look at economic losses related to the wintry smack damage will probably be equivalent to a moderate hurricane hitting a populated coastal region of the USA; one weather analyst at Planalytics estimates $15 billion in economic losses. That, and the the fact that New York City has picked up considerably more snow than the Twin Cities, Denver and Anchorage (!) is the subject of today’s Climate Matters: “WeatherNationTV Chief Meteorologist looks at the details and impacts of the winter storm that impacted everything from Texas to Maine. We’ve seen the pictures of the damage, but what happened? 75,000 flights cancelled this winter and find out which places are WAY above normal for snowfall.”



Snow On The Ground In Portions Of 49 States. Only Florida is entirely snow-free. That’s comforting. USA Today has the story; here’s a clip: “Snow is on the ground in 49 out of the 50 states — only the Sunshine State of Florida is completely snow-free, according to a map produced Thursday morning by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (This doesn’t mean that those 49 states are snow-covered, of course, only that some part of each state has snow.)…”



Warm Weather Leaves You In The Mood To Buy. No kidding. And we tend to attach a higher price/value to objects when it’s warm outside. Confirming what may just be good old fashioned common sense, here’s a clip from The Journal of Consumer Psychology at What, you don’t skim this from time to time? “A series of five field and laboratory studies reveal a temperature-premium effect: warm temperatures increase individuals’ valuation of products. We demonstrate the effect across a variety of products using different approaches to measure or manipulate physical warmth and different assessments of product valuation. The studies suggest that exposure to physical warmth activates the concept of emotional warmth, eliciting positive reactions and increasing product valuation. Further supporting the causal role of emotional warmth, and following prior research relating greater positive feelings to reduced distance, we find that warm temperatures also reduce individuals’ perceived distance from the target products…”

Roses In Bloom Across Germany. A relative near Cologne, Germany sent me this photo of her prize roses, now in full bloom. In mid-February. Yes, highly unusual. Eva Fels-Huber writes:

We are still waiting for winter to arrive. We had springlike temperatures since December, 10-12C every day. The birds are singing; my roses started blooming in mid-January.”

Highs have been in the 50s in recent weeks. My father, who translated the e-mail for me, points out that roses bloom after crocus, tulips, and daffodils. The Symphony of the Seasons is seriously messed up. Springlike weather in Sochi for the (alleged) Winter Olympics, while the Polar Vortex stalls over the northern USA. Biblical flooding in Britain while California wilts during historic drought. The Winter of All or nothing.



Auroras For Valentine’s Day? More activity on the sun – no promises (there never are), but here’s a clip from “Three CMEs are heading for Earth. Individually they are minor clouds. However, by striking Earths magnetic field in quick succession on Feb 14-15, they could cause significant geomagnetic activity around the poles. High latitude skywatchers should be alert for auroras on Valentines Day when NOAA forecasters estimate a 60% chance of geomagnetic storms…”




El Nino May Make 2104 The Hottest Year On Record. New Scientist has the article; here’s the introduction: “Hold onto your ice lollies. Long-term weather forecasts are suggesting 2014 might be the hottest year since records began. That’s because climate bad-boy El Niño seems to be getting ready to spew heat into the atmosphere. An El Niño occurs when warm water buried below the surface of the Pacific rises up and spreads along the equator towards America. For nine months or more it brings rain and flooding to areas around Peru and Ecuador, and drought and fires to Indonesia and Australia. It is part of a cycle called the El Niño-Southern Oscillation...”



* NOAA NCEP’s latest ENSO discussion is here.




Flood Simple: The U.K. Flooding Crisis Explained. I thought The Guardian did a very good job explaining why the wettest winter in 250 years across much of Britain is creating so much chaos and devastation; here’s an excerpt: “Rainfall which in many areas has been twice the average for January and February has left large parts of southern England under water. What causes the unusual weather, why is the country so ill-prepared, and what will be the political effect of 2014’s watery winter?…”



Photo credit above: “Flood waters inundate the area as one house stands alone near the flooded village of Moorland in Somerset, southwest England, Thursday Feb. 13, 2014. The house is owned by Sam Notaro, who has built his own levee to hold back the flood waters, as the local communities face further misery in the coming days with heavy rain, wind and snow predicted to sweep across Britain.”  (AP Photo/Steve Parsons, PA)



U.K Floods: How Bad Have These Floods Been? Although much of Britain has experienced the most winter rain in the last 250 years, previous years have seen even worse flooding across the United Kingdom. The BBC provides perspective; here’s an excerpt: “…Clearly, the bad weather is not yet over, but so far the Environment Agency says that since the beginning of December, 5,800 homes and businesses have flooded. As devastating as flooding is for residents, from a statistical point of view the national scale of the damage is, so far, relatively limited. In the summer floods in 2007, 48,461 homes were flooded and 6,896 businesses, according to the Environment Agency...”



The Dust Bowl Returns. With California entering the third year of an historic drought, and precious little rain or snow this winter season, the stage is set for a year of extreme drought, water shortages and record wildfires out west. Here’s a clip from a story at The New York Times: “…Experts offer dire warnings. The current drought has already eclipsed previous water crises, like the one in 1977, which a meteorologist friend, translating into language we understand as historians, likened to the “Great Depression” of droughts. Most Californians depend on the Sierra Nevada for their water supply, but the snowpack there was just 15 percent of normal in early February. And the dry conditions are likely to make the polluted air in the Central Valley — which contributes to high rates of asthma and the spread of Valley Fever, a potentially fatal airborne fungus — even worse. The current crisis raises the obvious question: How long can we continue to grow a third of the nation’s fruit and vegetables?..”



Photo credit above: “A sercret service agent looks over a farm field as President Barack Obama speaks to the media on California’s drought situation Friday, Feb. 14, 2014 in Los Banos, Calif. Farmers in California’s drought-stricken Central Valley said the financial assistance President Barack Obama delivered on his visit Friday does not get to the heart of California’s long-term water problems.” (AP Photo/Los Angeles Times, Wally Skalij, Pool).




This Is What The World’s Largest Solar Plant Looks Like When It’s Catching Rays. The Verge has the story – here’s an excerpt: “A massive solar plant in the Mojave Desert officially began operation today after years of construction, testing, and development. Co-owned by NRG Energy, BrightSource Energy, and Google, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System is said to be ready to generate nearly 30 percent of all solar thermal energy produced in the United States. The plant consists of three 459-foot tall towers each with tens of thousands of robotic, garage-door sized mirrors that angle sunlight toward a water boiler sitting atop them…”



All images credit of BrightSource Energy.



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Welcome to the WeatherNation blog. Every day I sift through hundreds of stories, maps, graphics and meteorological web sites, trying to capture some of the most interesting weather nuggets, the stories behind the forecast. I’ll link to stories and share some of the web sites I use. I’m still passionate about the weather, have been ever since Tropical Storm Agnes flooded my home in Lancaster, PA in 1972. I’ve started 5 weather-related companies. “EarthWatch” created the world’s first 3-D weather graphics for TV stations – Steven Spielberg used our software in “Jurassic Park” and “Twister”. My last company, “Digital Cyclone”, personalized weather for cell phones. “My-Cast” was launched in 2001 and is still going strong on iPhone, Android and Blackberry. I sold DCI to Garmin in 2007 so I could focus on my latest venture: WeatherNation. I also write a daily weather column for The Star Tribune And if you’re on Twitter, you’ll find me @pdouglasweather.

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