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The Three New England Winter Storm Tracks (and what they produce)

When it comes to winter storms in New England, there are three basic tracks that low pressure systems take. These storm tracks play the biggest role in what kind of storm occurs. Will it rain? Will it snow? Will it be a blockbuster blizzard? Will it be a messy mix of all kinds of precipitation? Let's take a look at the tracks below to see what will occur.


The first track we'll look at is the "winter washout" track. This track has dominated the first part of the 2022-2023 winter.Every winter storm has two sides, a warm one and a cold one.

When the low pressure system's low heads north of New England, it puts the region on the warm side of the storm. This setup allows winds to come from the south, which rushes mild air into the region and can push temps toward the 60s in southern New England, even in January. When temps are pushing 60, there will obviously be no snow.


Depending on how far north the center goes will have an impact on if there will be any now at all in northern New England. In this setup, most of New England will be much too warm for snow, however, some areas in the far north and/or at a higher elevation can still see some snow if the center crosses right at the Canadian border. There won't be much snow, but there can be some. If the low tracks well to the north, there will be no snow at all anywhere.



The second track is the "everything" track. This occurs when the storm's track crosses right through New England. In the first storm track, I mentioned a warm side and a cold side. In this setup, northern New England is on the cold side and southern New England is on the warm side. This will produce snow across ski country. If the storm is strong enough, it can produce A LOT of snow for ski country.


Southern New England, on the other hand, will see a washout similar to the setup in the first track. There will also be a strip of mixed precipitation near where the center crosses. This area acts as a buffer between the cold and warm sides. Depending on where you are in New England, you will see heavy snow, heavy rain, a mix, sleet or freezing rain, hence why this is called the everything track.



Finally, we have the quintessential New England winter storm track. This is the "nor'easter" or "blizzard" track. This track allows cold air to spill across all of New England. The entire region will see snow. When the storm tracks off the coast, it can explode over the ocean and become a powerful nor'easter. With a strong storm and cold air in place, this is when New England gets a blizzard.


Blizzard conditions will likely be felt across southern New England and along the northern New England coast. Depending on just how strong the storm gets, very heavy snowfall rates can occur, producing feet of snow in places, most likely across southern and central New England. Northern New England will likely get plenty of snow as well, but not quite to the extent of southern New England.



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