Walking in a winter wonderland

Update #432a

If you’re reading this on Monday morning, a happy Monday to you! Since the weather outside is frightful, hopefully you can stay safe and sound at home today. If you must head out to brave the elements, I’ve got an update on what you can expect.

First things first, a 💯% chance for school closings across the Hudson Valley today.

Radar imagery shows widespread snow of light to moderate intensity across the region. Temperatures are in the upper teens with a gusty north-northeasterly breeze.

Snow rates are expected to increase during the late morning as heavier bands of snow push toward the region. Snowfall could reach 2 inches per hour for a time during the afternoon and early evening.

This will coincide with an increase in winds, so blowing and drifting snow will also occur.

Accumulations of 12-18 inches are expected to be common across the region. Amounts of 18-24 inches will have the highest chance of occurring in southern Orange, Rockland, and Westchester County as well as across the higher elevations of the Catskills. Due to a weather phenomenon known as downsloping, where winds blow down off of higher elevations like the Taconics, Dutchess County may end up on the lower end of the range.

I generate the snow map below by extracting model data that is produced on NOAA’s supercomputers, then plot it using the computer programming language Python. Areas inside the yellow contour show the potential for more than a foot and the orange contour indicates around 2 feet.

Snow intensity is expected to decrease by about midnight, but light to moderate snow will continue to fall during the predawn hours on Tuesday.

Road crews should be able to take advantage of the lighter snow to get main roads into at least fair shape by the Tuesday morning commute.

Side roads will remain snow-covered for longer. Extensive cleanups in parking lots will take time.

Light snow is expected to continue at least periodically during the day on Tuesday as bands of snow pivot around the nor’easter. Additional accumulations look to be minimal, ranging from little or nothing to an inch or so if a decent band happened to move over the region. Temperatures on Tuesday will be warmer, likely reaching the freezing mark during the afternoon. This will be beneficial to cleanup efforts.

For that reason, I feel that delays are basically a lock for Tuesday with the hardest-hit areas going for a second consecutive snow day. The chance for closings will ultimately depend on local/rural road conditions as well as the time needed to clear school parking lots and sidewalks.

After the storm, a front is expected on Friday. Its timing (still uncertain) will determine whether there is a chance for a period of wintry precipitation during the morning.

Thereafter, Sunday poses a threat for a storm system but it’s too early to say much more.

An Arctic air mass is looking like it will invade the region early next week 🥶

It may be summer, but New Zealand’s tallest mountain, Aoraki/Mt Cook, is still capped with snow 🏔️ It’s got nothing on the Hudson Valley today, though!


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