I shouldn’t be going gray over snowfall forecasts of less than 4″, but this tricky storm that is heading south of Southern New England is doing its best to have me searching the aisles for Just For Men® – not that I’m ever going to do that! Just to recap, on Wednesday midday the Right Weather forecast was for another accumulating snow for all of Southeastern New England. I felt good about the forecast with two of the American computer models in agreement on a light to moderate snowfall, with the highest totals on the Cape and islands. With plenty of cold air charging in, there needn’t be a lot of precipitation because the snow would be dry – allowing for a fluff factor. It would be 1-2″ you could sweep instead of shovel.
Almost immediately after issuing that forecast, I added a caveat that not all computer models were on board with accumulating snow. The current heavyweight champ ECMWF (European) model was consistently sliding the storm out to sea with a minimal impact for mainland Southern New England. So, the Right Weather forecast was at odds with the National Weather Service and many media outlets. Last night’s runs of the American models jumped on the ECMWF bandwagon and had the storm basically missing SNE, with a little light snow on the Cape/Islands. At that point, the Right Weather forecast changed to a mea culpa near-miss for RI and SE MA, with some light snow on the Cape/Islands. Heck, the system was only 30 hours away, and all reliable computer models had it barely grazing SNE. It would be borderline arrogant to stay with a 2-4″/3-6″ forecast.
In the dark of night last night, the ECMWF model rolled in and predicted accumulating snow for RI for the first time. It wasn’t a lot (1-2″), but it was an indication of the flip-flopping that drives meteorologists nuts. Now, the American models are off the light snow bandwagon, and the ECMWF is on it! Look, it’s not a big storm, but 1-2″ of snow, with the temperature near 20° can cause some issues on untreated roads during the Friday morning commute. It’s a minor cause for concern.
That brings us to the situation as it stands early Thursday afternoon. The morning runs of the American models print out 0.01″ of liquid in Providence. That’s basically a forecast of flurries. The ECMWF model is printing out 0.24″ of liquid in Providence. That’s nearly 3″ of light, dry, fluffy snow. The short range models are predicting anywhere from the low end of snow showers and flurries to a situation similar to what the ECMWF has. So, what is one to do?