Winter isn't over quite yet
For the folks along the coastal plain, you can put the shovels away, take the plows off, and start your spring yard clean ups. Western and northern areas are getting close to that point. All areas should keep the sanders on.
This isn't to say that all areas may see a bit more of the white stuff before all is said and done, but any major impacts are unlikely at this point for coastal areas. As the folks in the mountains and The County can attest, winter isn't over until it is over.
Cold is being its stubborn self
It's the season for bowling balls in the upper atmosphere, which is a sure sign of spring. Cold stays around until later in the week before some resemblance of spring temperatures arrive for the weekend.
The next bowling ball that arrives Sunday into Monday has a chance of bringing an inside runner storm to the region. While the textbook inside runner indicates rain for the coast and snow/mix for interior areas, this one will need to be monitored closely.
Early indications old friend "Cold Air Damming" may pass along another reminder that it can throw a wrench into forecasts even into mid-April. What works to the advantage for coastal rain at this point is the snow pack will take a hit with the warm up this weekend. Cold air damming is aided by the snow pack, and with less of it around, it has a hard time gaining traction.
Folks with Patriots Day plans should expect a cool, and at the very least a wet affair, with snow/mix possibilities away from the coast. How far away from the shorelines will be what to watch for.
After that last shot early next week, the region heads into more of a west to east zonal flow as it appears for now. That trend bring the area shots of cool and warm temperatures, with weak disturbances bringing a threat for rain showers.
Most of the rest of April appears damp overall
As the southern jet stream begins to reign superiority over the atmosphere, it brings moisture from the Gulf of Mexico along with it. As temperatures begin to modify into more seasonable levels, what was frozen turns to liquid. After early next week, flooding from spring run off begins to elevate. On the other side, areas where the snow has already melted are on track to dry out. The concern with that is a fire threat due to the lack of foliage.
The rain idea of roughly 2-3" of liquid will come intermittently. The storms late this week and early next week may bring the bulk of that amount. With the trend appearing to be more zonal by April 18th onward, the double edge concerns for both flooding for the interior and fire for the coastal plain will play a role in the weather discussion as we head into May.
Suspending operations for now
As many of you know, the family and I are relocating from Poland to Kennebunk. We are officially moving on Friday, April 20th. We are planning an open house at our Poland location on Sunday April 22nd to sell off what items we have left, and also to say thank you to our dear friends for their support of us in the past 16 years. For those in the area, you also are invited to stop by as well. You can RSVP on Facebook.
It will take a bit of time for us to get settled in. I am not sure exactly when I will resume regular updates as of yet, but will do so when it works out. Please keep watch on my Twitter account and the Pine Tree Weather Facebook page for information as warranted, and when I am available.
As always, stay in touch with NWS Gray or NWS Caribou for forecast information and any weather bulletins.
Thank you as always for the support!
Winter Weather Advisory / Winter Storm Watch posted
A warm front approaches the region Tuesday. With cold air in place at the surface with warm air invading aloft, a mixed bag of snow, sleet, freezing rain and rain is on the way Tuesday night into Wednesday.
With the factors involved, it could be slick in spots for travel tonight into Wednesday for much of the state away from the shorelines. Some interior areas could see roughly a tenth of an inch of ice, along with varying amounts of snow and sleet.
Steadier precipitation ends from southwest to northeast Wednesday morning.
Best chance for accumulating snow appears over interior areas...
The rooftop of the state is on track to have the highest amounts of snowfall. For much of the coastal plain, what accumulations come appear to be minor, primarily on grassy surfaces and secondary roads. That said, it will be cold enough that sand and salt may be required on roads, parking lots and sidewalks.
With the exception of the Great North Woods and the rooftop, whatever frozen precipitation falls won't hang around for long. Temperatures are on track to warm well above freezing for the coastal plain, with 40s on the way for western areas over to Millinocket and Houlton.
Two more systems for winter concerns
As I said in a post in March, spring does not typically begin for coastal areas until roughly mid-April and roughly early May for the mountains and north. That is the way this setting up at this point. There are signals that the coast has a couple more hurdles to go through before the shovels can be put away with confidence. That may also end up being the case for the rest of the state, but for now I remain guarded on making any declaration of winter being over for the mountains and north after mid-April.
After the current storm passes through, the next hurdle to watch will be for ocean storm development Saturday into Sunday. Operational models are hinting this will stay out to sea, or may bring a close shave for the shorelines. Ensembles, like this pictured here, show a reasonable amount of uncertainty.
On the heels of that storm follows a trailing event next Tuesday into Wednesday, also with uncertainty. The one common denominator in both systems is cold air. There will be plenty of it aloft. Storm track and characteristics will determine precipitation outcome and potential impacts.
Based on current long term model trends, this event appears to be the final storm of any meaningful wintry concern for the coastal areas. Again, it's April, and cold air does fool models, without question. That said, I do feel confident that after this storm passes, the coast is likely done with winter until it returns later in the year.
Just be forewarned that April is still on track to remain on the cool side overall, and that may continue into early May.
Greetings everyone! I've been quiet as I have been dealing with illness as well as the ongoing relocation process. My infrequent updates will continue. It appears that the move will take place late in the third week of April. While I may not update the website, I am usually good for some quick hits on Twitter during the work week, and when time allows on the weekends. I would suggest that you keep an eye on that.
I will be shutting down operations all together April 16th and expect to return to some frequency by May 5th-6th or soon thereafter.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.
March ends unsettled, and pattern continues into April
March appears to head out as a lamb, but not without some storminess. The first round comes Thursday into Friday, then a second for Easter Sunday. The Easter event will be one to watch for potential slick conditions over the interior. Coastal areas appear to stay liquid for now.
Temperatures will feel like spring to a certain degree headed into the weekend, but after the system passes through on Sunday, it trends cooler again.
The signals are all there for a cool, unsettled first half of April. Repeated shots of cold air will are on track to pinwheel around eastern Canada and the northeast United States through the first ten days at least. As the cold works around, the chances for unsettled weather come along with it.
Winter isn't over for most of the region... yet
With the repeated cold shots comes the threat for snow. Time is on the side of the vernal equinox in the atmospheric battle for supremacy, but this is Maine. The climate around the 45° parallel takes a bit more time to catch up to the change, and this year is no different.
As it is normally, the mountains and north are likely to see that come to fruition, whereas the closer to the coast, the chance decreases. I would suggest that any ideas beyond 5 days continue to be taken with a grain of salt. There are signals for a potential snow event for the middle part of next week, but it is only signals for now. I suspect operational models will continue to be somewhat erratic, so my suggestion will be for "buyer beware" for any charts floating around social media until the time comes inside of 72 hours ahead of an event.
Thanks as always for your support!
Winter Weather Advisories posted
The National Weather Service offices in Gray and Caribou posted a Winter Weather Advisory for the shoreline counties for the snow event on the way. There could be some slick spots around Thursday morning, pending on how this plays out.
Coastal areas remain on the fringe
This chart here is from the Weather Prediction Center on their outlook for the event. Southern New England into the Mid-Atlantic get a solid snow event out of this. This will be disruptive for air and ground transportation. Expect cancellations and delays as the areas dig out over the next couple of days.
It's a battle over dry air for accumulations
I have talked about this ad nauseam for the past two days. I've smelled a bust from when models began pitching this storm idea last week. The European model came around to closely similar outcome in its runs yesterday and held it overnight. The American NAM and GFS models are hanging onto dear life that the snow will make it along the coast. I don't completely disagree with that idea, hence why I posted this snowfall idea last night...
From the NWS Gray Area Forecast Discussion at 6:50 AM Wednesday morning:
"Dew point depressions continue to be significant indicating very dry air draining south from northern Maine and New Hampshire. This dry air will determine how far north the precipitation will reach tonight, limiting any potential snowfall to southern areas."
As a result, I am not changing anything. With dew points in the single digits above and below zero in the mountains and north (as of 7 AM this morning), a north/northeast wind funneling down even drier air as the storm gets organized today, this is going to be real tough for interior areas to get more than a dusting out of this south of Route 2 and east of Route 11 in northern Maine.
I will monitor the storm today and will update on Facebook later on if necessary. I will be covering on Twitter all day long.
As always, stay updated with NWS Gray and NWS Caribou.
About that dry, cold air and high pressure...
In yesterday's post I mentioned the fact that I did not like the way certain models were handling the cold, dry air and high pressure to the northwest of Maine. I had no problem poking holes into my forecast snowfall amount because I could smell the skunk in the barnyard, and it finally showed up. This wasn't a big event to begin with, and it is getting less impactful on the snow end as the event gets closer.
All along I was saying the MidCoast and DownEast areas would likely see the most of this event, and that is still true. That said, there is a chance that the coast escapes with flurries by the time this over. The storm track is sinking further to the south and east, and the moisture associated with it is going with it.
Southwest coastal areas to get battered again
Our already battered shorelines are in for another round of wind, high surf, beach erosion and minor flooding from this storm, even with the more southeast track.
The shorelines of the southwest coast are likely to see some splash over from the high tide in the wee hours of Thursday morning. This is when the height of the 1-2 foot storm surge is likely to accompany 9-14 foot waves along with the astronomical high tide from the full moon.
Click here for the latest marine forecast.
The wind will still blow
As the storm departs is when the wind is expected to pick up. This isn't anything too outrageous. It's high enough to cause spotty outages for the MidCoast and DownEast regions, but all in all the area appears to escape from the worst.
Due to time concerns, I have to keep this post short tonight. I will do my best to provide additional updates on this storm between my Twitter and Facebook feeds, and perhaps here on the website if time permits.
As always, stay in touch with NWS Gray and NWS Caribou with the latest forecast information and bulletins.
Thank you as always for your shares, retweets and support!
Models are still nuts
There are still some discrepancies in guidance, which leaves the potential open for changes. There is no doubt these spring snowstorms are bit a of challenge to forecast. That said, I have seen enough here to make a first call for snow amounts and discuss some impacts.
First call snow amounts
As discussed previously on this website, the main area of impact will be for the Mid-Atlantic and southern New England. For those of us in Maine, we're on the fringe for this one. The mountains and most of the north are likely to see little to no snow from this storm. The game all along here is to figure out how much snow the coast was going to get. That was the one certainty going into this, and continues to be the main area of concern.
Poking holes into my own forecast
The thing that continues to gnaw at me with this forecast is the areas of high pressure and the cold, dry air that hangs over eastern Canada. Between that and the forecast track is what will more or less shut out the mountains and most of northern Maine out of this.
Looking at the ensembles, this is a flat system. It's not a very dynamic event. Sure, it's enough to cause issues to the south and southwest of Maine, but I am quite unimpressed with it as far as the state goes. I am not concerned over mesoscale banding that will pop up and dump snow wherever it pleases. I am not worried about big wind, although there will be some of that. The upper level energy associated with this doesn't impress me. Boundary layer influence appears minimal for southwestern areas, but with the warming of the day may bump totals to the high end for eastern areas.
With all of that in combination of the dry air close by, I think there is still a fair amount of bust potential at this point.
Timing... for now
To put this loop into a nutshell, southwestern areas see most of the accumulation during the night until around sunrise and eastern areas get the bulk of theirs during Thursday daytime. The snow ends in southern areas Thursday morning, and the last of it exits eastern and northern areas by Thursday evening or soon thereafter.
It will be enough to make a mess of the roads along the coast for sure. The Thursday morning commute could be greasy for the coastal plain up into the foothills of western areas, and for the Bangor and eastern zones on up into southern Aroostook during the day.
Roads will improve fairly quickly with the warming of the day for the foothills south. As the snow shuts off over eastern areas in the afternoon, travel will improve towards the end of the day.
We need to watch the shorelines again...
Astronomical tides come into play again later this week, and the tide for concern now is the 2 AM Thursday high water mark. Given the track of the storm to the south and east of the benchmark 40°N / 70°W point, that spares the region the worst of the storm surge and the stronger wind gusts. Those with shoreline interests should stay in touch with the National Weather Service for the latest on that.
This isn't anything we can't handle
Compared to the previous storm that dumped over 20" of snow around a lot of the area, this is nothing more than a nuisance event as it stands for now. We've seen far worse spring snow events. We're not out of the woods for another snow event as the cold air appears to hang around through the remainder of the month. We will see some melting for sure, but gradually. Given the ice jams in the rivers and streams from the previous two melting periods in January and February, this is welcome news to our interior water tributaries that have been impacted there. This will also help extend ski season also, and keep the snowmobilers happy for more action right into April.
How to Facebook Pine Tree Weather
A pleasant reminder to all of my Facebook followers on setting page notifications. Click on the "Following" tab and then "See First" to get my latest information. Feel free to follow on Twitter for even quicker snippets of information that I can pump out.
More updates to come...
The spring model circus continues
Here's your voice of rationality about late week storm potential. Beware of the hype! As I told you the other day on this very website, models are showing signs of spring by their erratic behavior. As I mentioned on Facebook Sunday morning, the Canadian GGEM model was showing hints that a trailing low could end up in the Gulf of Maine and bring a solid snow event. Now that today's morning model suites have all come in, now it is the European deterministic model that has the idea.
So now some may say "Well the Euro is the most reliable model and we need to think we're going to get nailed..."
The difference between the European