BOSTON (CBS) – It’s a Nor’easter! It is a failure! No wait, it’s back!
The Twitter verse and other social media outlets this week have been full of rumors of a Super Bowl blizzard on Sunday. And, based on the number of questions we received via email and otherwise, it was probably time to bring up the elephant in the room.
As a rule, our WBZ weather team doesn’t like to deal with speculation or hype. Sure, if something is possible within the next seven days we will mention it or most likely put a label that says “Watching Storm” on the 7-day label.
But believe me, if we showed every run of each model on TV, it would turn your head. Over a period of 7 to 10 days in the middle of winter, even more models show any number of storm possibilities than we have time to digest.
I don’t allow snow lovers and weather hobbyists to get excited and post such things on their Twitter feeds. However, one of our main tasks as TV forecasters is to remove the model noise and find out what is real and what is model fantasy land.
The problem is that the atmosphere is a very complex place, and even weather models doing trillions of calculations can have a hard time figuring out what that chaotic ocean of air above us will do next, no matter in 7 days. Take this Sunday for example.
At this point in time, the “pieces of energy” for the Sunday storm are scattered across Alaska and northwestern Canada. Over the next few days, this energy will travel thousands and thousands of kilometers and interact with other atmospheric energy, not to mention mountain ranges and various topographies.
And the big question to be answered in relation to a Sunday snow storm versus failure is how these two main elements of energy will interact. One will travel the northern jet stream through Canada while the other will almost sink far south into the Gulf of Mexico. With both approaching the east coast this weekend, some scenarios still remain.
1) The most likely scenario and what we thought was the final solution yesterday, they remain completely separate and the main storm in the south is harmlessly pushing at sea. I would say the probability of this is around 50%.
2) Many models today show how the north current pulls the south current closer to the northeast on Sunday. No connection for a party, but close enough to make weather forecasters nervous and maybe some snow in southern New England. The probability of this is around 30%.
3) The final scenario that many models started the week with a few days ago is one where the two merge and “phase” as we like to say, and that’s how you get a full-blown Nor’easter. While this is still the most unlikely scenario, I’d say the likelihood of this happening has increased from around 10% yesterday to around 20% today.
Ok, that was just a long way to say we still don’t know exactly what’s going to go down here on Sunday. Let’s play the what if game for a moment.
IF The storm should come close enough to bring snow to New England on Sunday. The time frame for the observation would be from late morning to night.
IF The storm followed today’s model trend and gave us a precise clue. The best chance of significant snow would be over the southeastern MA (closest to the storm center).
And last, IF We had a phase, well all bets are closed we could have our second Nor’easter in less than a week. I don’t know about you, but I would love to see TB12 without worrying about power outages and snow bubbles.
So stay tuned. I suspect we should be able to predict with a lot more confidence by Friday afternoon.
Follow Terry on Twitter @TerryWBZ