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Winter transitions to spring but weather pattern stays the same

Upper-level wind pattern continues.  Ridge in the west and trough in the east remain locked in place.
Upper-level wind pattern continues. Ridge in the west and trough in the east remain locked in place.
NOAA/NWS

Spring arrived yesterday. Except for a brief warm-up in some places the next few days, the weather pattern of warm and dry in the west and cool/cold and wet in the east seems set to continue until further notice.

A large upper-level ridge is locked in along the U.S. – Canadian west coast while an upper low (a.k.a., the “polar vortex”) gets set to re-establish itself over Hudson Bay (Fig. 1).

This upper-level weather pattern allows for a fetch of colder air from high latitudes into much of the eastern half of the U.S. It also keeps cold air and storminess far removed from drought-stricken California and nearby states.

Within the northerly wind flow from northern Canada into the eastern U.S., occasional storm systems make their way into the U.S. Most are weak and are expected to bring only light snow or snow showers to the Great Lakes and the northern tier of states. The other day (Mar. 17. 2014), a stronger system brought unseasonably heavy March snowfall to the mid-Atlantic.

However, as next week unfolds, one of these weak disturbances is expected to interact with a developing low-pressure system in the Gulf of Mexico. The two systems are expected to merge into a single storm off the southeast U.S. on Tuesday. By Wednesday, explosive cyclogenesis (a.k.a., meteorological bomb) is anticipated. The very intense low that ensues is expected to move quickly past southeast New England.

Right now, the storm is expected to graze the New England coast, with heavy snow and wind over eastern Long Island and southeast New England. A slight shift in storm track, however, can either bring more snow to more areas or result in just a, “close call.”

Stay tuned…

© 2014 H. Michael Mogil