Who's On First?
Posted by Pete Bouchard
If you're reading this, chances are you came here to get more detail on what the heck is happening tomorrow. No doubt the forecasts are all over the place. You've probably heard there will be snow "here" but not "there". Heavy snow may be possible, but not guaranteed. Favors the coast, but that's anywhere from Portland to Chatham. And they're calling it some cop-out name like "Norman".
Do they really pay these people to make forecasts?
Let's take this from the top.This snow event tonight and tomorrow is what's known as a Norlun Trough. It was named after two meteorologists who provided ground-breaking research on the subject back in the early 1990s: Steve Noguiera and Weir Lundstedt. (Not sure where the "r" part came from.) In any event, the event seems unique to the New England coast and is burned into the memories of just about every meteorologist who attempts to predict them. There are many times the event doesn't materialize and/or we come away with half our forecasted snow amounts, just because of the sheer variability and difficulty of simulating the event in our weather models. Many liken this to a summertime "chance of thunderstorms" forecast: conditions may be favorable for a storm, but that doesn't mean you'll get hit.
And that's how I'm playing it. There are some things that are still beyond the level of detail provided by our weather models. While I'm not walking away from the storm, I'll tell you my confidence is running a little below normal. Last time we had one in New England was in early January 2011 in Connectictut. Over a foot of snow fell in southwestern parts of the state.
Now it seems the axis of heavy snow will be just out of reach - shifting towards Portland, Maine. Our amounts have gone down from this evening as a result.
Like I said, it's just like forecasting summer storms...which is kinda where I wish we were now.
Here's a "fer-shur": Bitter air will follow in the wake of this storm tomorrow night and Wednesday. This is long term stuff too. May not come up "for air" until early next week.