Messy Weather and Dreaming of Nor’easters

2013-12-20 15:38:06.000 – Michael Dorfman,  Weather Observer


Messy weather is on its way! While the bulk of the precipitation won’t fall as snow for the summit or the valleys, the storm has the potential to be a dangerous ice and mixed precipitation storm. One handy tool to use when storms are on their way is the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center’s maps (more specifically, their winter weather maps). Taking a look at their freezing rain maps, they are predicting a swath of ice across northern New England that has a high (70+ percent) chance of accumulating over 0.10″ in some places!

Every year, New England receives at least one or two major coastal storms. These storms generally tend to happen more in the beginning of the winter season, as warmth and moisture in the tropics are still present to fuel the storms. As storms develop in the northern hemisphere, they begin to spin counter-clockwise. The eastern edge of the storm then consists of warm air moving generally north and the western edge of the storm is cold air moving generally south, forming warm and cold fronts around the system. Unfortunately for skiers, if coastal storms push too far inland, the summit will often be stuck in the “warm sector” of the storm and receive a mix or rain. Although the storm currently pushing toward the region isn’t a “coastal” storm, it still has a colder region and a warmer region, the latter in which we are currently located.

It’s always a balance for snow lovers; the more moist storms bring more precipitation, yet they often tend to be warmer and threaten mixed and liquid precipitation. Since colder air can hold less water vapor in it, the amount of moisture which colder disturbances can hold is generally limited by their temperature, but they will be much more likely to deliver snow.

Whether you’re hoping for more snow, more rain, or just a sunny day, as they say in the mountains, wait an hour and the weather will change.

Observer footnote: We have recently been notified that some Christmas gifts which were sent to the address on our website were getting returned by the post office. After clarification with the post office, any USPS packages that are sent to the observatory should be mailed to the following address. We thank you for your generosity!

2779 White Mountain Highway
Unit 2310
North Conway, NH 03860


Michael Dorfman,  Weather Observer

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