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No wintry systems for awhile, but
we may not be done for the season
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Long Range Outlook

Important information:

  • Eastern PA Weather Authority is no longer, and we have changed the business name to EPAWA Weather Consulting, LLC as of October 26th, 2018. Same great products, both free and paid, just a new name that better reflects what we do as the business of EPAWA.
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  • Winter-only text alerts and premium forum options for the 2018-2019 Winter are now available for purchase. A nominal one-time fee will bring you detailed alerts throughout the Winter between November 1st, 2018, and March 31st, 2019, or last snowfall. Visit http://epawaweather.com/winter-weather-alerts/ for full details and sign up.
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DatesThreatsSignificanceConfidence
2/16TemperatureNear to slightly above averageVery high
2/17-2/20TemperatureNear to slightly below averageVery high
2/21-2/25TemperatureSlightly above averageHigh
2/26-2/28TemperatureNear averageModerately high
3/1-3/10TemperatureSlightly below averageModerate
3/11-3/17TemperatureSlightly above to above average - flip to Spring modeModerate
2/17Snow/rain showersA weak wave moving through the region Sunday evening and Sunday night will produce light accumulating snow along and north of I-78, a mix of rain/snow just below it, and light rain showers farther south. This looks like a minor event and under 3" for most areas.High
2/20Snow/ice/rainA storm with higher potential for better organization and more moisture to work with affects the region Wednesday and Wednesday night, and in many ways mirrors the system from this past Monday night and Tuesday. Snow to ice to rain is the most likely outcome from this system, but specific areas will be outline and we’ll continue to monitor in the coming days.Moderately high
2/23-2/24Storm signalAnother period of interest comes next weekend, but also at a time where temperatures are marginal. This could be another cutting system, but beyond 4-5 days signals are misleading with possible precipitation type outcomes. Favoring rain/mix here for now.Moderate
February as a wholeTemperaturesNear to slightly above average (+1.0°F to +3.0°F)High
February as a wholePrecipitationSlightly above average (+0.5" to +1.5")Moderately high
February as a wholeSnowfallNear to slightly above averageModerately high
March as a wholeTemperaturesSlightly above average (+1.0°F to +4.0°F)Moderate
March as a wholePrecipitationSlightly above average (+0.5" to +1.5")Moderate
March as a wholeSnowfallNear to slightly below averageModerate

Outlook table last updated: Friday February 15th, 10:45am. Next scheduled update: Friday February 22nd.

This is a weekly updated public long range guidance product from EPAWA. For daily long range updates and more detailed updates M-F, please join the EPAWA forum. More information/sign-up at: http://epawaweather.com/my-pocket-meteorologist/ 

*Indications of above or below average temperatures in the table above are relative to what is considered “normal” using data collected over the long term for a particular date. This is collected and maintained by the National Climatic Data Center in conjunction with the National Weather Service actual data from previous years collected at official ASOS/climatology stations across our coverage area. Also note that as time moves forward into a different period as shown above, average temperatures for those dates will also change. See the example below using Philadelphia, PA as the climo station:

DateAverage Hi/LoEPAWA projection
February 16th44°F/28°FNear to slightly above average
February 23rd46°F/29°FSlightly above average
March 2nd48°F/31°FSlightly below average
March 9th50°F/32°FSlightly below average
March 16th53°F/34°FAbove average

The departure from normal uses the average temperature for the date, averaging temps over 24 hours for any given location, using both high and low temperatures hourly during any particular day. This outlook determines warm vs. cool periods relative to normal temperatures.

Long range analysis: Technical discussion is below for advanced readers:

Technical discussion below will feature two (2) subcategories: Precipitation, and Pattern Discussion. Storm possibilities will be discussed exclusively in the Premium Forum with intense model analysis leading up to any major rain or severe events, not publicly. To join this discussion and hear our updated thoughts from our team, visit The My Pocket Meteorologist Page by clicking HERE and select the “Premium Weather Forum” option.

Precipitation Discussion:

Precipitation:

The wetter than average looks like it will continue for a few weeks yet, and some of that, depending on location, will be in the frozen precipitation variety. Several systems and storm signals have been outlined in this outlook, the first of which will come Sunday evening/overnight with a weak wave moving through the region. At present time, this looks like a minor system that could produce a 1-3″ type snow from the I-78 corridor in PA/NJ and points north. Marginal temps just south of I-78 could lead to a snow/rain mix, and light rain even farther south. This is a quick mover, and ends late Sunday night.

The 2nd system is a bit more potent, and carries more moisture content. In many ways, as modeled, it appears to mimic the system we just experienced this past Monday night and Tuesday, 2/11-2/12. The GFS and others continue to suggest this will be a snow to sleet to freezing rain, and then rain system. Since it is several days away, we do think a system probability is high, but breakdown of precipitation types is lower confidence at this range. Expect a wintry start to this system at the very least right now, and we’ll hone in on details as we get closer.

One more storm signal presents itself next weekend, but with temperatures marginal, we favor a rain/mix event with this one. Beyond 4-5 days is more guesswork, and we will monitor for changes and trends next week. The idea that a large and impactful mostly or all snow nor’easter will affect the region this winter is slowly drifting and fading, and the pattern is not looking like it will set up that way for the limited time we project the wintry threats to still remain. If we will see something more impactful in that regard, it will have to come before the end of the first week of March. After that, the flip to Spring occurs, and ends the chances for the remainder of this season most likely. While possible, I wouldn’t rest my hopes on that occurring this year, especially for SE areas and the coastal Plain. It’s just not the year for that it seems.

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Breakdown of precipitation departures from normal over the next several weeks:

February 18th-February 24th: Slightly above average

February 25th-March 3rd: Near to slightly above average

March 4th-March 10th: Slightly above average

March 11th-March 17th: Near to slightly above average

Public/free available maps will be updated when a threat is imminent for significant weather or snowfall on the weather alerts page throughout the Winter:  http://epawaweather.com/weather-alerts/

 

Note:  Any image in the outlook is clickable for larger viewing

The GFS for Sunday evening and overnight shows a weak wave moving through the region, which brings minor snow accumulations along and north of the I-78 corridor, a mix just below I-78, and light rain even farther south.

gfs2

Another more organized and moisture-laden storm will affect the region midweek, and may in may ways mimic the storm from earlier this week, Monday night/Tuesday. Snow to ice to rain is modeled on most guidance currently.

gfs3

Pattern Discussion:

Pattern:

The Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO): The Madden-Julian Oscillation is currently moving into the phase 8 octant, and the best forcing is expected to move through phase 8 over the next week or so, then phase 1 for the last full week of February. These phases are typically linked to colder and stormier conditions along the US east coast, but with a raging Pacific jet, these effects are expected to be muted somewhat. The Pacific jet has been the culprit this season leading to less snow, and more of a milder/Pacific zonal flow. What appeared to be a promising season for much of the area went down the tubes quickly when the fast Pacific influence gripped the pattern and never let go. In addition, a tanking SOI thanks to this eastward propagating MJO wave also would suggest more amplification to the jet, and colder/stormier in the east. With the Pacific jet extension and speed, and the more recent Pineapple Express connection between Hawai’i and the western US coast, it has muted the amplification potential, and at the same time, prevented any favorable teleconnections from setting up. Western US ridge is flattened, the cold air source in Canada remains locked to the north, and no blocking to be realized in Greenland.

With that said, and with the active jet expected to remain in place, there will be plenty of opportunities during the rest of February, but marginal sloppy events with mixed precipitation involved. As stated in the precipitation discussion above, I don’t foresee a situation where we have high amplification and the Pacific jet slowing down, and as such, the large shutdown nor’easter ship may have sailed for the remainder of the winter season. It is not impossible, but the wintry events the rest of the way look to be fast/progressive, with marginal temperatures, and a multitude of precipitation types with several of those systems.

So is winter over? Well no, but if you’re holding out for an all or mostly snow storm that produces over a foot of snow, those chances are much slimmer. Time is also very limited… right now the going feeling is that we see the transition to above average temperatures and the onset of Spring between the 1st and 2nd week of March, and never look back. Tropical forcing for that transition week will most likely continue into phase 3, and then head toward the Maritime Continent thereafter, signaling an early start to Spring, and a continuation of that going forward.

The February outlook is for a near to slightly above average month (+1.0°F to +3.0°F) as a whole with high confidence. Our forecast has been adjusted to near to slightly above average snowfall for February with several smaller and mixed precipitation opportunities going forward. The early look at March suggests the flip to Spring after a cold start for the first 10 days, and the month as a whole ends up slightly above average (+1.0°F to +4.0°F) in spite of that colder first 10 days or so. Precipitation will still remain relatively active, and snowfall will be likely limited to early March, and near to slightly below average as a whole for the month.

Note:  Any image in the outlook is clickable for larger viewing

The GEFS show near to slightly below average temperatures through at least the middle of next week, with a few marginal storm threats that could yield at least some wintry precipitation, mainly Sunday and Wednesday.

gefs2

The GEFS/EPS also indicate that after this period, we turn milder as the SE ridge begins to flex, and that continues to dominate for the 5-6 days after midweek next week. It does turn colder after heading into the first week of March.

gefs3

Next 3 weeks of US temperature departures

Images below are clickable for better viewing

Days 1-5 – confidence VERY HIGH

1-5

Days 6-10 – confidence HIGH

6-10

Days 11-15 – confidence MODERATELY HIGH

11-15

Days 16-20 – confidence MODERATE

16-20

Current U.S. Soil Moisture Anomaly

Below is a look at the latest Soil Moisture Anomaly for the Contiguous United States. This is used by NOAA/CPC for the purpose of drought monitoring and drought outlooks.

This image will automatically update daily.

My Pocket Meteorologist

The My Pocket Meteorologist text alert program is a year-round program, and seasonal options for Spring/Summer will be available soon. Click on the image below for more information.

mpm3

Forecaster: EPAWA Meteorologist Bobby Martrich
Discussion last updated:  Friday February 15th, 10:45am