For those of us looking to catch a glimpse of sunshine, the outlook is rather bleak. A storm system that has been responsible for the rain on this past Saturday, Sunday, and Monday will continue to crawl east over the next several days. The movement of this system is extremely slow, as it has dislodged itself from the jet stream, and no longer has a substantial wind to force it along. Most storm systems that impact our area ride the jet stream, and thus exit the area within a day. The blue and purple in the image below represent the location of the jet stream for Tuesday and Wednesday, while the circular lines over the western Great Lakes show the center of the storm we are dealing with.
Rain turns to Snow
Up until Monday night, this storm system has brought rain to the Holland Patent area. On Monday night, as the storm begins to pull in colder air from Canada, precipitation will change from rain to snow. This transition will begin in the higher elevations of the Adirondacks and the Tug Hill Plateau, then will gradually occur in the lower elevations of Central New York. Temperatures will not drop much below the freezing mark for the Holland Patent area, making it difficult for snow to stick to the roadways. It will be a different story in the Adirondacks, where colder temperatures will allow for significantly higher snowfall accumulations and snowier roadways. Below is my snowfall forecast for the area. The forecast is from 12 AM Tuesday through 12 AM Thursday. The white shade represents 2"-4" of snow, the light blue shade is 4"-8", the dark blue shade is 8"-12", the red area is 12"-24", and the yellow area is 24"-36"+.
Why are they getting so much more snow??
Although there are differences in snow accumulation across Upstate New York with any winter storm, it is seldom that we see differences this large. While Holland Patent is only expected to pick up 2"-4" of snow, portions of Essex County will see over 3 feet of snow! This stark difference can be attributed to the snow to liquid ratio. Just like it sounds, this refers to the amount of water in the snow. In other words, if one were to melt down 10" of snow and was left with 1" of liquid, the snow liquid ratio would be 10:1. That number, 10:1, is the average snow liquid ratio, but the figure varies tremendously based on many atmospheric factors, with temperature being the primary one. The colder the temperature, the more the water expands when it freezes into a snowflake. Bigger snowflakes obviously take up a larger area, in essence creating more snow. On the flip side, if temperatures are warmer, that same amount of water expands less when it forms a snowflake, taking up less area, and leading to less snow. Less snow with the same amount of liquid leads to a lower snow liquid ratio, and vice versa. In the case of this storm, areas in the red and yellow will be a few degrees cooler and subsequently will have a much larger snow liquid ratio, and therefore will receive more snow, even though we will be working with the same amounts of liquid as the areas in red and yellow.
Our delay and snow day chances
Because we won't see a large amount of snow, I do not believe we have a great chance for a delay and snow day. It is also important to note, once again, that the snowfall forecast is stretched out over 2 DAYS. None of the models suggest a period of particularly heavy snow, but rather the accumulations will be slow and steady. That said, it will be snowing on Tuesday morning, and there will still be some slushy patches along untreated roadways. While I don't believe we will have a delay, it is not out of the question that we will. The latest delay and snow day predictions can be found here.