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Breaking Down Snowstorm Chances This Weekend for New England

For at least a couple of days, it looked like New England, including southern New England, might just get into another decent snowstorm this Saturday to Sunday morning. Over the past two days, the storm has trended away from New England, but there's still a chance of something coming. So what's going on with this storm?

The biggest x-factor with this storm is the track. The track will determine whether New England, particularly southern New England gets snow, sleet, rain, freezing rain or (almost) nothing at all. Many of the latest model trends have the storm passing well to our south, including the rather reliable Euro model.

Euro model showing only southwest Connecticut getting clipped by the storm Saturday afternoon

Even the GFS, which has been rather inaccurate (to put it nicely), has the storm passing south of the "benchmark". The GFS has been overestimating snowfall amounts all winter, and has been producing these massive snowstorms that just haven't panned out. It's actually very surprising that the GFS isn't predicting a massive snowstorm with this one.

What exactly is this benchmark? The benchmark is a point located in the Atlantic Ocean at 40° N 70° W. This point is about 87 miles south of Nantucket. This point is the perfect place for a nor'easter to pass over to bring large snowfall amounts to Boston and New York City, including pretty much all of eastern New England.

When a storm passes north or west of this benchmark, it can allow warmer air into the storm and cause mixing and rain in southern New England. If it passes to the south or east, it will keep the bulk of the snow out of New England. In the case with this storm, it is trending toward passing to the south, keeping the storm away.

Despite these trends, not everyone is ready to shut the door on this storm quite yet. A large snowstorm is very unlikely, but some light snowfall may be possible. There is still a large spread in models, with some taking the storm a bit further north. Again, an impactful winter storm will not happen, but a few flakes could fly. The NWS of Gray, Maine states:

"...while the EPS ensemble mean shows a near total miss, several of the ensembles members do show a further north/wetter solution and there remains significant spread in the low track, so can`t rule out an impactful winter storm for the Saturday period at this point."

As to what I think, I don't think there will be much of anything in the way of a storm this weekend. As stated above, the Euro model has the storm passing completely to the south. This model has been the go-to this entire winter and is generally the most reliable. The GFS has some light to moderate accumulations for southern New England, but that model has been awful this winter (there I said it). That model had Boston receiving upwards of a FOOT of snow last Friday to Saturday.

The GFS is one of the reasons why weather apps will say that you're going to get x-amount of snow (say 6-12 inches) and it just doesn't happen. Then you may sit back and think "well that was another bust, big surprise, they got it wrong again". The GFS needs some serious work to improve its forecasting.

Next week looks to get active again, with a potential long duration storm coming around mid week, March 14-16. This is something that will need to be watched as this week progresses.



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