This update will be a brief one. I am about to close on the property in Kennebunk and still going through the process of offloading my current home in Poland. This post will give you a rough idea of what to expect. The fine details are still to be worked out. You will need to stay updated through NWS Gray or NWS Caribou pending on your region of forecast changes and bulletins that will follow. I will do what I can to update. You will want to keep eyes on my Twitter account as that may be all I have time for.
Here we snow again...
This is a very fluid forecast and there is room for change. This storm has similar characteristics as the one did this past week. All that is circumspect at this point is the track, which as of Sunday afternoon is more over New Brunswick. That leaves Maine on the cold side of this from start to end. This isn't to say a coastal front may develop and knock down totals a hair from Rockland east, but for areas west of there, this does appear to be an all snow event. A Winter Storm Watch has been posted for the entire state.
It's important to note that this isn't ALL of the snow that will come. The idea illustrated here is for the first 30 hours of the event. Snow showers are likely to persist into Wednesday morning for southern areas, Wednesday afternoon for eastern areas, and northern and western areas may see snow showers last into Thursday. This will bring some additional accumulation, although most of the snow will be on the ground by Wednesday morning for much of the state.
Timing of the storm will impact the morning commute for southwestern areas Tuesday. Snow will overspread the state and intensify during the day and into Tuesday night. As I mentioned, snow showers are likely persist.
There is a fair amount of bust potential here. If the storm skirts east, western and southern areas will get lesser amounts, and eastern and northern areas could see more. The track is not set in stone just yet.
And the shorelines get another beating...
Thankfully, astronomical tides aren't a concern. The ocean has settled from the previous two events. That said, the shorelines will get battered again. Timing is everything with this event. The morning tides will be the highest of the two. Potential flooding, splash over and storm surge will have to be monitored.
I wish I could do a bit more, but this is the best I can do for now. Stay in touch in NWS and local media for more on the timing and specifics with this event.
Still more snow to come for central and northern areas
At the time of this post at roughly 9:15 AM, southern areas in York County were seeing accumulations begin to taper from steady snow to snow showers. Using the HRRR short term model from the 6 AM run as a guide here for what to expect where you may be shows plenty of snow still to fall over much of the state.
The storm slowed a bit as it made the hook around Cape Cod, which in turn extended this event. Winds are very gusty offshore reaching upwards of 60 mph during the 7 AM hour. The storm is weakening over the cooler waters of the Gulf of Maine as it approaches DownEast areas this afternoon.
As the storm lifts to the north, snow tapers to snow showers before tapering off from the south to north by around midnight. Energy from this system taps into another storm brewing near Bermuda which will impact our weather picture Friday afternoon into Saturday with steadier snow for eastern and northern areas, snow showers for western and southern areas.
Another storm possible early next week...
This loop here is an idea proposed by the ECMWF model from Wednesday evening shows our current system, the trailer for the weekend, along with another potential storm for early next week. While the operational side of this shows the system staying to the south and east, ensembles paint a slightly different picture...
There is plenty of room for error with this one. Some guidance has the track closer to the region. For now, we'll call it a chance for a storm Monday into Tuesday and leave it at that.
I am doing my best to keep up with the weather activity and pass along what I can, when I can. I am in the process of buying a home and unloading the current one. I am closing on the destination property this coming Wednesday, and my current place is under contract to be sold. To add, I have a full time real job, and a family with health related issues going on. I may not update as quickly as normal, and I may even drop out of sight for a period as I deal with the issues in front of me.
Some people have voiced concern of whether or not I will continue full state coverage. I will say at this point my plan is to continue that. When I started this peanut whistle operation seven years ago, I had the idea that I wanted to take it to higher level. I am not abandoning that idea. What started out as Western Maine Weather turned into Pine Tree Weather as a result of requests from followers in eastern Maine. My plan is to continue to grow and become better educated and certified as a full fledged forecaster within the next five years.
I am not the end all for your weather information. I am simply an accompaniment. I want you to check in with the National Weather Service and local media for information. My mission all along is to present it to you straight, cut down on the hype, and present possibilities. Forecasts bust from time to time. That is weather. I hold myself accountable for my own ideas, and am quick to point out my mistakes. With all that has gone on in my life recently, I have made more mistakes than I care for. I am doing the best that I can with the time I have to put into it, and at the very least show you the potential of events that are coming.
Thank you for your understanding and your support.
I would love any storm reports that you can give me on the Facebook page and Twitter.
Winter Storm Warning now in effect
I am going to get right out in front of this because there is potential for this to get out of hand. Not only that, this could turn into a long duration event, especially for eastern and northern areas of Maine.
You'll have to forgive me here for not being as sharp with this one, as I am juggling a lot between the purchase and sale of homes, real job requirements, and family on top of it.
I do get the impression there is a skunk in the barnyard, because models handle occlusions (when cold fronts overtake warm fronts) very poorly. A hat tip to crankyweatherguy for bringing this to the forefront. If you are on Twitter, he's a good man to follow, and sharp as a tack on synoptic forecasts like this one.
About that "long duration event"...
While this is only one model representation, the surface map indicates a pseudo-Fujiwara effect scenario occurring over the region toward the tail end of the loop in the Friday-Saturday time frame. The initial storm makes landfall, curves into northern Maine, a trailing low to the west combines with the parent low, and a trailing low that blossoms around Bermuda siphons off the energy of the two areas into a new coastal low that slams into Nova Scotia. That storm tracks into the Bay of Fundy near Eastport, then moves eastward. This keeps snow and wind in the forecast through the weekend. Blocking to the north and east is what will hold this pattern in place. All of the upper level energy with the incoming storm is just going to spin around and regenerate surface lows which will cause this to happen.
Now the "blizzard" part of this...
Now that everything is coming into focus, the wind speeds are starting to amp up. I will be the first to admit that the NAM model depicted here has a tendency to overdo wind speeds, but I cannot dismiss the idea that this has potential. A rapidly intensifying system on track to make landfall along the DownEast coast could very easily set up the potential for blizzard conditions for the coast and coastal interior. By those areas, I mean Fryeburg to Waterville to Bangor to Calais to the shorelines. Whether or not it will be an actual blizzard (wind greater than 35 mph for a three hour period with visibility 1/4 mile or less) is a very fine line, but it certainly has potential to do so.
Thursday is shaping up to be an absolute bear. Expect widespread cancellations, and if you can take the day off from work, it would be a really good idea to do so. Plow crews are going to have a hard time keeping the roads cleared with the heavy snow and gusty winds that will blow it around. Power outages from the snow and wind are going to be another concern as well.
More thoughts on snow
This is the ECMWF (Euro) ensemble outlook for snow through Monday at 1 PM. I have five circles highlighted on here of areas (or in the vicinity thereof) that I think could reach upwards of 20" of snow by the time the weekend is COMPLETELY over. This area includes interior York County, Sunday River, Sugarloaf, Katahdin and interior Hancock and Washington County. Western areas see the bulk of this with the initial storm Wednesday into Thursday. Eastern areas get a solid thump from the initial storm, but have a second storm to deal with over the weekend. Outside of the northeast corner of Aroostook and the northwest corner of Oxford County near Wilson's Mills / Aziscohos Dam area, a foot of snow is a good bet at this point. It could go higher than that with heavy banding that is likely to occur. It could go lower than that in areas where the wind blows it away.
For the shoreline areas, I think at this point for Rockland / Portland area that any influence of a coastal front bringing rain will be short lived. Shorelines from around Wells to Kittery may see it hang on a bit longer, but 10-14" is likely the end result there with the dynamic cooling that is forecast to take place.
Once the snow begins in earnest, expect it to pile up quickly. One to two inches per hour, perhaps more pending on heavier bands.
Timing of the storm
Snow begins to arrive over southwestern areas early in the afternoon and then spreads northeastward through the afternoon and early evening. This will likely impact the evening commute as snow begins to pile up around 5 to 7 PM from the Portland area south. Points north (Lewiston, Augusta, Bangor and beyond should be alright getting home, but snow appears to accumulate on surfaces by early to mid-evening. For northern areas, you'll see snow arrive between the wee hours and daylight Thursday.
End times depend on region. Southwestern zones see snow taper to snow showers by mid to late afternoon. Eastern Maine appears to be early to mid-evening. I expect snow showers to continue for western and northern areas through the night and into Friday morning. Some areas may see a bit of a lull, but more snow is on the way with the trailing storm on the way Friday night into Saturday. Snow and snow showers appear to persist with that feature through the weekend.
More coastal battering...
With this system comes more punishment for an already battered shoreline. The high tide to be concerned about will occur during the 3 AM hour Thursday morning.
With a bit of storm surge, it won't take much to cause some minor flooding in Portland and vulnerable areas along the southwest coast.
The second high tide occurring around 4 PM Thursday does not appear to cause issues, but it would be wise to stay tuned in case it does.
Areas impacted from recent flooding should be on alert where the ocean has impacted barriers, sea walls, and roadways.
Please check in with the National Weather Service for the latest marine forecasts for the MidCoast and southwest coast and DownEast areas.
Stay updated on this storm!
Given the fact that this is a significant event, it would be wise to stay updated on the latest official forecast information from NWS Gray for western and southern areas, and NWS Caribou for the latest on northern and eastern areas.
Be prepared for this event... make sure you are stocked up on essentials, prepared for power outages, and fill up the gas tanks in your vehicles by Wednesday evening.
Also, be prepared for unexpected surprises.
Follow me on Twitter @WesternMEwx
The pieces are all coming together
The four main ingredients for the mid-week storm are falling into place. Water vapor imagery shows the parcels of upper level energy descending into the southeast. The elements are on track to gather together by Wednesday morning. A surface low develops near the DelMarVa and then travels northeast. Snow will begin to impact southwestern areas by late afternoon, overspread the state by late Wednesday night. Snow is on track to fall heavy at times into Thursday morning, then taper to snow showers from southwest to northeast through Thursday night.
First call snow amounts
For the shorelines, be aware of the coastal front. I am thinking that areas west of Penobscot Bay (MidCoast, Southwest Coast) may see a rain/snow mix at the onset and then flip to rain by mid to late evening and stay snow for the duration of the event. DownEast areas start as snow and then flip to rain briefly Thursday morning. This will knock down snow amounts a bit. Most of the interior areas are a lock for roughly a foot or more, with the possible exception of northeastern Aroostook. It would not surprise me to see some areas eclipse 20". Time will tell if that will an exception, or the rule.
On the subject of The County... snow showers in the aftermath of this storm are likely to drive snow totals up to what the rest of most of the state gets initially. Snow showers are going to linger around through Saturday morning, perhaps longer.
Expect a laundry list of storm related cancellations Thursday. It will take some time to dig out and get the roads passable for travel.
Again, this a preliminary outlook and is subject to change.
Windy, but not exactly "blizzard" level
As with any developing storm, wind is always a concern. In this case, most of the snow appears to be on the ground before the wind begins to crank in earnest Thursday morning. Eastern areas are likely to see the strongest gusts as low pressure approaches. Make no mistake, the wind will blow snow around which will likely cause whiteout conditions at times from the beginning to the end of the event. As heavy as the storm will dump snow, it may feel and look like a blizzard, but the idea that it will reach criteria of wind in excess of 35 mph for a three hour period does not appear likely.
The wind does appear that it could hamper clean up efforts, and expect that to blow all day.
Heavy snow that sticks to trees may cause power outages with what wind comes along. Those outages may not occur until Thursday morning or later. It appears to be breezy through Friday morning over western and southern areas, Friday night for northern and eastern areas.
Shorelines get hammered again...
The good news is the tides will have dropped considerably from their recent astronomical highs, and this storm does not appear to have the intensity of its predecessor. That said, the wounded coastline will have to deal with another round of high surf and wind during the day on Thursday. The two high tides to be concerned with happen during the 3 AM hour Thursday morning, with another happening around 4 PM in the afternoon. I am not expecting any major flood issues, but some minor flooding is possible. Areas impacted from recent floods should be on alert where the ocean has impacted barriers, sea walls, and roadways.
As always, stay in touch with NWS Gray or NWS Caribou for the latest bulletins and forecast information.
Confidence in double-digit snow event increasing
A winter storm watch is posted for western Maine and all of New Hampshire by NWS Gray. Given the circumstances, I suspect NWS Caribou will be hoisting their watches by later in the day. Confidence is increasing that this storm could bring heavy snow and gusty winds that could cause whiteout conditions and rough travel Wednesday afternoon into Thursday, statewide.
The forecast loop of the ECMWF model from data at 7 PM Sunday shows the massive storm that brought destruction to the northeast shorelines moving eastward. In it's wake, another storm comes together near the DelMarVa and heads towards the Gulf of Maine.
The area begins to feel impacts during the day on Wednesday. Snow becomes heavy at times Wednesday night into Thursday. Heavier snow tapers to snow showers Thursday night. Snow showers persist for the mountains and north through Friday and Saturday.
So how much snow?
The idea of snow is always track dependent, which still needs to be figured out. European ensemble ideas give us a clue of what to expect. Percentage confidence is very high for a 6"+ snowfall for much of the state. Given the confidence of guidance, this is a good basis point as to what to expect no matter where you are in the region
Percentage confidence is also there for the idea for a solid foot or more to fall across much of the region.
The wrench that always plays a factor in these types of storms is where and when the coastal front sets up, and how far inland it gets. For now, I take the 50+% idea for a foot or more of snow for areas west of Penobscot Bay along the shorelines with a grain of salt. That isn't to say it won't happen... it very well could, pending on track of the surface low. The coastal interior on up into the mountains are fair game for a foot or more as it stands for now.
Along with the snow, wind can be expected which will blow it around and cause whiteout conditions. The ocean will churn again, which is likely to hamper shoreline recovery efforts from the latest storm. The astronomical tide cycle will be past by then, but the idea of minor flooding, beach erosion and battering waves are something to be concerned with.
I will do my best to keep you updated. As always, check for the latest from NWS Gray and NWS Caribou for the latest bulletins and information.
Follow on Twitter @WesternMEwx
Worst of the wind to remain offshore of Maine
With the forecast trend of the storm more to the south, the higher gusts from the storm appear to stay just offshore of the Gulf of Maine. It appears to be stiff enough (40-60 mph) along the shorelines that it could cause power outages. My main area of concern is for the islands of Penobscot Bay southward along the coast which will see the highest gusts during the day on Friday. As the storm gradually slides southeast, it takes the harshest of the wind along with it. Given the slow nature of departure, the north / northeast breeze appears in the forecast through Monday, with speeds ever so slowly diminishing.
Morning high tide to run at moderate flood level
The good news as far as the high tide goes Friday morning is concerned is the big wind does not appear to reach the area until the afternoon. The tide will be high enough where moderate flood levels could be achieved in the morning cycle however. Coastal flood warning is in place for the shorelines of Cumberland and York Counties from 9 AM to 2 PM. Two more tide cycles will be a concern for Friday night and again Saturday during midday for minor flooding before the effect of the astronomical phase tails off.
Given the timing of the storm, impacts and track, the potential for major problems for the shorelines in Maine appear avoided. That won't be the case for areas in Massachusetts and Cape Cod. What is predicted to happen there could be historic, eclipsing the Blizzard of '78 and the Perfect Storm of '91.
Snow impacts confined to the north
Given the unique dynamics of the storm, snow appears to be an afterthought for Maine. This is on track to be a higher elevation event, which will help the ski hills recover from some of the recent losses of the mild temperatures. My idea of 2-6" for the higher peaks remains consistent, with lesser amounts in the valleys. The main core of precipitation from the storm is tracking to the south and west.
I broke the news on my Twitter feed yesterday that my home in Poland is now under contract to a potential buyer. The next ten days of the negotiation and inspection process will dictate what happens from there. The move is to Kennebunk is tentatively set for third week in April, pending on how the next ten days play out.
Twitter is where you can keep track of me for statewide information and other items of interest, along with some foolishness. You don't need an account to read my timeline, but will need one if you have any questions.
I will update here when I can as time permits.
As always, keep in touch with the fine folks at NWS Gray and NWS Caribou for the latest bulletins and forecast updates.
Seven year forecaster.