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Weather Pattern Looks To Shift Towards A Colder & Snowier Look Just After The New Year Across Western & Central Mass

I know many of you are itching for it to snow around here and I have good news and bad news -

First the bad news – There will continue to be a lack of snow during the rest of this year and this means that we WILL NOT have a white Christmas this year, unfortunately.

Now for the good news – I think that snow will become a much more common word just after the New Year and especially by mid-January.

Let me get into more detail here for you.

The next week or so looks overall warmer than average (except for tonight and Friday). In addition, it looks like another round of rain is likely during Wednesday and Thursday of next week with the possibility for another inch or so of rainfall. This is definitely not needed given how high the rivers and streams are running right now and how saturated the ground is.

Beyond this, there are signals in the data that suggest the overall weather pattern should shift towards one that features an upper level ridge of high pressure over the western United States and an upper level trough of low pressure that sinks into the eastern United States. This weather pattern shift should lead to a gradual shift in our weather towards colder than average temperatures and an increasing threat for storms that bring snow to the area by about the week of January 8th.

How long this colder and snowier weather pattern lasts will depend on the progression of what’s called a sudden stratospheric warming event. What is that? It’s basically when the winds at the North Pole around 90,000 feet above ground level reverses direction from a typical westerly direction to an easterly direction. This can lead to a blocking weather pattern in the polar regions and cold air to move into the central and eastern United States. If this does occur, it could increase the risk for cold and snow to persist right through late January and all of February.

My thinking is that the period from about mid-January through all of February and until the very start of March could be pretty snowy along with below average temperatures.

How snowy it may be will depend on the storm tracks during this 45 day period. With a very energetic and juiced up sub-tropical jet stream thanks to the current El Nino conditions, any low pressure systems tracking up the East Coast of the United States will be capable of bringing us quite a bit in the way of winter weather, depending on the configuration of the jet stream.

On one hand, should the jet stream end up being more aligned in a west-southwest to east-northeast direction, then we’d be left cold, but missing out on snow while the Philadelphia to Washington, DC corridor sees winter weather.

On the other hand, if we end up with a much more southwest to northeast aligned jet stream, then pull out the plows, snow blowers, snow shovels, skis and snowshoes as we’d get into the action in terms of multiple chances of snow.

I wrote in my winter forecast back in late October that I thought that the second half of January through all of February could be particularly snowy and I still think that.

My forecast is for snow totals during the second half of January to range from about 15 inches across areas near and south of the Mass Pike as well as across the Pioneer Valley to about 30 inches across areas near and north of Route 2 as well as across the Berkshires.

As for February, I still think that the further south you go across Western and Central Mass, the more snow you may receive. This is due to what looks to be a very active southern storm track that could really give us some notable storms in February. That said, if the storm track is even a little suppressed, it could mean areas just to our south get blasted by winter while we remain quite cold, but with little snow.

My latest thinking for February is for snow totals to range from around 15 inches across areas near and north of Route 2 to as much as 25 to even 30 inches of total snowfall across areas near and especially south of the Mass Pike.

So those of you that love all things snow, I urge you to have patience, I do think that the snow is coming, you just need to hang on for another 3 to 4 weeks or so.

As for those you that hate all things snow, the misery should only last for about 45 days or so and if you’re wondering, I do think that an “early” Spring is quite possible as the month of March could be pretty Spring-like.


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