Snow for Thanksgiving travel day.... (11-24-13)

<B>(8:15 am Sunday November 24th)</B> Central New York is dealing with lake effect snow today but a more impactful snow could be coming just before Thanksgiving.

Lake effect is winding down across central New York this Sunday morning but it is already time to switch gears to a new snowmaker.  This time it won’t be a lake effect event but a good old fashion Nor’easter type storm headed up the East Coast in the Tuesday/Wednesday time frame. The confidence is growing for accumulating snow for us in central New York leading up to Thanksgiving. However, it is too early to give specific snow totals for specific towns.

Over the last few days there has been some question as to whether this storm would occur and/or whether it would have an impact on us here in central New York.  The problem is the computer models have had a hard time resolving what happens with two bits of jet stream energy.  One is currently moving out of the Southwest United States and is responsible currently for some snow in Texas. The second piece to this puzzle is a disturbance dropping south from Canada this weekend then shifting into the Great Lakes.

Courtesy: Golden Gate Weather

For a while, our models kept these systems ‘separate’ which meant some snow showers for us here in central New York during the early/mid week while the Southeast gets a chilly rain.  Now, however, it seems the models want to merge these two systems at the jet stream level which leads to a stronger low down at the surface.  This low would track from the Gulf of Mexico to New England between Tuesday and Wednesday.  Here is what the European model is currently forecasting:

One of the reasons we won’t post a snowfall accumulation map yet is there is still some uncertainty.  While the models now seem to agree on some sort of storm close to us, there are some differences on where it goes and its impact on us.  The GFS (American model) has just jumped on the bandwagon overnight and brings the northern edge of the storm into central New York.  I think this is significant because up until then, it was keeping any storm well to our south.  I think the trend here is important.  The Canadian model is the farthest west with the track of the storm (It drives the storm up into eastern New York).  This actually brings mixed precipitation and even rain into the picture for us.  Meanwhile, the European model takes the low into New England with a widespread swath of 6”+ snowfall across central New York. This model has been the most consistent with its solution the last couple of days.

As mentioned at the top, it is too early to post any type of accumulation map but I could see the National Weather Service issuing a Winter Storm Watch for central New York within the next day.  Remember, even if a watch is issued there would still be some uncertainty in the forecast. Timing wise, the best chance for accumulating snow in central New York would Tuesday night into Wednesday.

Of course, this is right in the peak of the Thanksgiving travel period.  At this point, it looks like the big cities of the East Coast would be spared snow and will have to deal with a steady rain.  The greatest threat for snow would be much farther inland.  Cities that have the best chance for a significant snow would be Syracuse, Buffalo, Rochester, Watertown, Massena, Binghamton, Pittsburgh and Burlington. Given all the travel going on during this time, it would be a good idea to check back with is frequently between now and Thanksgiving. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook or Twitter at JimTeskeNC9 as there will be more timely updates there.

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