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Winter weather looks to return to the Capital Region as New Year begins

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The New Year looks to be ushered in by a potentially significant storm across the Capital Region, and points south and east into the mid Atlantic states and southern New England. The three key players responsible for the potential snowfall are as follows…

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  1. A disturbance pushing southward from the Northern High Plains and northern Rockies into the central and southern Plains through New Year’s Day.
  2. Developing low pressure over the western Gulf of Mexico that will move toward the Louisiana Gulf Coast through New Year’s Day.
  3. Strong and cold Arctic high pressure that is forecast to remain essentially in place over southeastern Canada.

The northern Plains and Rockies disturbance mentioned above will move southeastward, and energy from this storm will slowly merge with the Gulf Coast low pressure area beginning late New Year’s night. A large swath of precipitation is expected to develop, as copious moisture is drawn into the system not only from the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, but also from the eastern Pacific ocean, thanks to the subtropircal jet stream.

Given the ample moisture supply available, and the fact that the cold dome of high pressure remains to our north, a fluffy, less ‘wet’ (i.e. poor snowball and/or snowman creating), snowfall is anticipated. Snowfall is forecast to begin during the overnight hours on New Year’s night, and last through at least the later portions of Thursday night, before tapering off by Friday morning.

Total storm accumulations, as of this time, are estimated to be between 6 to 12 inches in the immediate Capital Region. Perhaps as much as a foot or more of snow may fall over the Mid Hudson Valley, Taconics, Berkshires, and portions of southeastern New England. Of course, should the track of the storm change, this may cause forecast accumulations to increase or decrease.

Upon the cessation of the major snowfall on Friday morning, the focus will shift to an intrusion of bitterly cold, Arctic air. The combination of a fresh, and perhaps deep snow pack, and temperatures struggling to escape the single digits above zero on Friday, will lead to dangerously cold conditions not only then, but on Friday night. Overnight lows should dip well below zero. At such temperatures, even a light wind can drive wind chill equivalent temperatures to very dangerous levels.

Stay tuned for further updates and statements concerning this potential storm and bitter cold aftermath. Official weather watches and warnings will be issued by the National Weather Service, should it be deemed necessary.

Useful links...

Capital Region Weather Examiner Home Page
Capital Region Weather Examiner Facebook page
Current Surface Weather Map
Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (HPC) Surface Weather Map 48 hour loop forecast
Albany, NY office of the National Weather Service

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