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End Of The Snow? Odds Are Against Any More Meaningful Storms This Season

BOSTON (CBS) - I have a confession to make.

I took out my patio furniture Sunday. Yup, I did it. March 13th and I declared the winter (in my backyard) to be over. So, I will take full responsibility when that freak, late-season snowstorm comes later this month.

You should know, I didn't go so far as to stow away the snow shovels or drain the snow blower of gas. We're going to need a few more weeks before I take that final step.

So, I guess you could say I'm hedging my bets. I have lived in New England too long to go all in on the end of winter in mid-March. But, I will say that given the current forecast, there is a decent chance that we have seen the last of any meaningful snowfall. Sure, we could still see some snow flurries or minor snow accumulation in the next several weeks, but a plowable or impactful snowstorm? The odds are against it.

First, some climatology to back up my hypothesis.

Today, March 14, happens to be the average date of the final 1 inch of snowfall in Boston. Last year, the final inch came in mid-February. The year before it actually came in mid-January! So, just looking at recent years and averages, you would say that odds favor no significant snow from here on out in Boston.
Considering we know that we are not getting any snowfall this week, I figured I would look at how often Boston gets snow after March 21st, which is a week from now).

(WBZ-TV graphic)

One inch or more of snow has fallen in 7 of the last 20 years after March 21 in Boston. So, you would say about 33% of the time. Again, the odds are in our favor.

If you look large scale at what is happening right now in the atmosphere, conditions are favorable for ridging in the eastern U.S. (meaning warmth) over the next 1-to-2 weeks. This is, in large part, due to a few very big atmospheric drivers being "positive":

  • EPO (Eastern Pacific Oscillation) forecast is positive, which indicates low pressure in Alaska, which drives mild, Pacific air into the lower 48 states.
  • AO (Arctic Oscillation) forecast is positive, which indicates strong low pressure (and cold) being bottled up in the Arctic and not being released into our area.
  • NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation) forecast is positive, which indicates the lack of "blocking" up near Greenland. A negative NAO is a great way to get cold and stormy weather this time of year. Remember the four nor'easters in March of 2018?

So, given all this, the forecast for the next 1-to-2 weeks is for above average temperatures in the East.

Again, logically speaking, if we are going to be above average/warm for the next two weeks, the chances of any significant snow are low. And that brings us to the end of March and into April. We all know that New England CAN still get snow that late in the season. But when it occurs, more often that not, it isn't all that significant and thanks to a strong sun angle, it is wiped out quickly. Every once in a while, you get a big one, like the April Fools' storm in 1997, but, those are the exceptions.

Also, the later you get in the season, the snow is far more likely in elevated areas as opposed to the coastal plain. Just last year Worcester had what most would consider to be a major late season storm with 6.8 inches falling on April 16th. Boston had just 0.1".

So, the farther north and west you live and particularly the higher up in elevation you live, the greater chance that you MAY get some additional accumulation before all is said and done. That brings me to one final interesting thing to watch in the coming weeks.

Currently, the city of Boston has 0.4" MORE snow this season than Worcester. If Boston were to somehow hold on to that lead for the remainder of the season, this would be the first time in 48 years that Boston would come out on top of Worcester in total snow! That's a crown that the city of Worcester wouldn't mind giving up.

(WBZ-TV graphic)

There you have it. With a relatively warm few weeks ahead I say, why not enjoy! Sunsets are approaching 7 p.m. and I, for one, will be on my back deck soaking it in. So grab a chair or two, sit back, relax and enjoy!

Follow Terry on Twitter @TerryWBZ


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