Snow showers today, eyes on weekend Nor'easter

1:40 PM, Feb 21, 2013   |    comments
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"Carson fancies himself a good snowfall forecaster, let's put all the Nor'easters on his weekend shift just to mess with him"-Mother Nature

We are definitely locked in an aggressively active pattern lately, with a major storm arriving every few days. Some are snow, others are inside runners that produce rain...either way the atmosphere is amped up and taking shots at us.(Shots! Shots! Shots! Shots! Everybodyyyyyy!)

I'll take a detailed look at this weekend's Nor'easter potential in a minute, first let's talk about the next few days.

This afternoon: An upper level disturbance is rotating through the state from northwest to southeast. Although moisture is limited, the dynamics of the disturbance have been enough to touch off some pretty good bursts of snow shower activity across northern Maine and central Maine alike. As the disturbance heads towards the coastal plain look for snow showers and squalls to break out in a scattered manner there as well. Otherwise it will be mostly cloudy with seasonable temperatures in the 20s and low 30s and gusty winds out of the northwest.

Tonight: Early snow showers are possible until around 9 PM, after that look for rapidly clearing skies and falling temperatures. Lows will end up in a reasonable 15-23 F range, HOWEVER winds will remain gusty so there will be a very cold windchill factor through the night.

Friday: With high pressure directly overhead, Friday looks like a pleasant day. Winds will settle through the morning and mostly sunny skies will dominate. High temperatures will end up in the mid to upper 30s over southern Maine, hovering around 30 F to the north and into the mountains.

Saturday will begin with sunshine but clouds will increase rapidly from southwest to northeast as a storm gathers to our south. The timing of the development of this system has been pushed back about 6 hours so it appears that the daylight hours on Saturday will remain dry. Temperatures will end up in the mid to upper 30s and most of the day will be relatively pleasant.

Meanwhile, to the south an inland low over the Great Lakes will be transferring its energy to a developing coastal to the east of the Mid-Atlantic. (This has been the M.O. of all our major storms this winter. Kind of interesting since we typically like to see a developed low in the Gulf of Mexico just plow up the coastline. But this year we've been getting in on some strong energy transfers and late blooming coastal bombs). The transfer will be largely complete by Saturday night and that's when a shield of snow will begin spread south to north from southern New England.

Timing the onset of snow this far in advance is a fools game, but lucky for you I'm a fool: I'm thinking the first bands of snow move into southern Maine during the early evening, say 8 PM to 10 PM. Intensity picks up through the evening and the snow shield pushes into central and Midcoast Maine by 8 am Sunday morning.

This is where I grow a bit skeptical of this storm. The low pressure center will be southeast of Cape Cod, MA by late morning on Sunday but pretty far over the ocean. Being that far out to sea is fine if it's a mega-bomb low like our blizzard a few weeks ago...the snow bands extend so far from the center it's almost a non-issue. But this isn't a mega-bomb, in fact it looks like a normal Nor'easter low to me, so I have a feeling the northwest extent of the snow shield won't be strong enough to really nail us with a BIG storm.

Also, the low takes a right hand hook almost due east on Sunday afternoon. That path never brings the low into the Gulf of Maine, and as a result this storm is largely confined to the southern half of the state. North of Bangor this is a non event as it stands...just a few inches if that. (As I'm typing this the latest EURO model just came in and basically laughed at the idea of a BIG snow for Maine. That reinforces my previous comments about the problems with this storm)

All those disclaimers stated, we will still get some plowable snow from this storm (See my MAP), but I just don't think it's a blockbuster.

Snow will wind down on Sunday night and we should be cleared out by Monday morning with sunshine returning to the forecast.

Another storm looks likely for Tuesday night/Wednesday...this one is an inside runner so coastal rain and inland snow looks to be in the cards.

Twitter: I'll be watching the latest models on this weekend storm. @KeithCarsonWCSH

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