Windex vs WINDEX

2013-11-10 18:32:09.000 – Ryan Knapp,  Weather Observer/Meteorologist

Yesterday – a few inches of snow, Tomorrow – feet?

Windex, to most people, is a blue colored window cleaner. In meteorology, “WINDEX” stands for wintertime instability index and is used to assess the potential for snow squalls to form along frontal boundaries, mainly in New England. To assess this potential, forecasters use modeling software called BUFKIT, which is a profile visualization and analysis tool kit. In this modeling software, WINDEX is found by examining the parameters of relative humidity, differences in temperature, low level instability, and forcing at different layers of the atmosphere. When conditions are met, the WINDEX method identifies when and possibly where a snow squall may occur. In meteorology, a snow squall is defined as a sudden onset of strong winds with heavy snow and blowing snow that may cause whiteout conditions.

I mention all of this because using the WINDEX method, New Hampshire has a high indication for snow squall formation with the next cold frontal passage poised for Monday night. While most areas around the state (even the seacoast) will wake Tuesday morning to only a few inches on the ground, where these squalls set up, there is the potential for feet of snow by Tuesday morning. Right now, the highest potential for squall line formation is in the Lee of the White Mountains; but it can’t be ruled out completely elsewhere in the state. Since it is a holiday weekend some folks may be tempted to wait until Monday night to drive home, the time when these squalls will be forming. If this is the case, be aware that roads, especially through the various notches (I-93, 302, 16, etc) of the White Mountains, may experience white out conditions at times making driving difficult. So, please be mindful of this and be safe out there in the coming days New Hampshire/New England. And with the Veterans Day holiday in mind, a special thanks to all those who have served our country in the armed services.


Ryan Knapp,  Weather Observer/Meteorologist

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