The computer models have sunk to a new low with this weekend storm (or lack of storm depending on which one you believe). I had JUST forgiven them for leading me (us really) astray on the NORLUN trough thing and here they are flip-flopping on snow less than 48 hours from the meat of a possible event. Unbelievable.
I'm going to try to sort it out and take sides in a minute. First today...
This Afternoon: Partly sunny and mild for most of the state. Temperatures are in the low to mid 40s in many spots and thats how the afternoon will continue. The exception is far northern Maine, the warm front is stalled out near Millinocket so look for clouds and some snow showers there with temperatures held to freezing.
Tonight: Clear early but clouds increase rapidly from southwest to northeast. Overnight lows won't get too cold as relatively mild air stays in place...most spots bottom out in the upper 20s.
Saturday: An upper level disturbance will be inching into southern and central Maine by mid-morning and that should be enough to touch off some light snow from Portsmouth, NH up to Rockland. That light snow will gradually spread northwestward into Downeast and Bangor by noon. I don't see any reason this should be a travel problem but some moderate bursts along the coastline can't be ruled out with a coastal front lurking offshore. Total accumulation during the day will range from a dusting over northern Maine to up to 3" along the immediate coastline. To the west of this disturbance, into the mountains particularly, look for dry and partly sunny conditions.
On Saturday night that upper level disturbance will push east and link up with a larger coastal low moving in from the Carolinas. Light coastal snow will once again break out, particularly after midnight.
Here's where the computer models diverge. The NAM has the coastal low meeting up with the shortwave way to the east over the ocean, therefore 90% of the state receives NO snow on Sunday (only Downeast gets clipped with a few inches). The GFS depicts the shortwave merging closer to the coast, REALLY blowing up the low and spinning back a solid 6-12" storm along the coastline with 4-8" even inland. And last, but not least, there is a compromise solution presented by the EURO that gives us some coastal snow on Sunday, with the max over Downeast, but it's no blockbuster...more like a 3-6" event.
So what's a nerdy weatherman to do? Well, I have no real way of knowing which model is handling this merger correctly. Keep in mind these computer models are advanced physics machines run on top supercomputers (even though they are moodier than 11 year old girls sometimes). At times I can see the obvious unlikelihood of a solution and rule it out, but in times like this it's simply not clear WHO is right. So I'm going to leave with the lady I came to the dance with...the EURO. Not only does it provide a compromise solution, it's been fairly consistent as of late predicting winter events.
So with that said I'm going for a generalized 3-6" for BOTH the light snow on Saturday and the snow on Sunday combined, with a bullseye of 4-8" over the Downeast coast. (I've made a map. It's real nice, got it at Target) Snow arrives during the early morning hours on Sunday, continues at a light to moderate clip all day Sunday and then wraps up early Sunday night.
The "bust potential" for this forecast is big I admit, but I felt a map and a call were needed so people could plan their weekends.
Things turn windy and sunny for Monday and then another storm arrives on Tuesday night. That one should be more straightforward as it arrives from the west and is largely snow with some coastal mix.
Next week looks active overall; computer models hinting at another storm for Friday.
But you know what? I don't care about their hints right now. I'm personally offended by their performance with this storm and tend to hold a grudge :-)