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Don Paul: Snow isn't likely Sunday, but hints of winter may appear

During a week away from my television duties, I’ve seen online hints as of Sunday of an east coast storm next Sunday, Oct. 28. In fact, I alluded to that potential in an article I wrote on the Oct. 16 about this: “There are such hints, but even if such an East Coast storm develops, its track could easily be too far to the east to have much of an impact in Western New York. On the air, I’d probably just say ‘it’s something we’ll be keeping an eye on.’ ”

We’re still keeping an eye on that system-to-be. However, as of this writing it appears its track will be too far to the east to have much of an impact in Western New York.

This storm will have its roots in a monstrous Category 5 hurricane heading for the western coast of Mexico as of Monday.

Hurricane Willa will spend most of its energy and rainfall as it moves over the mountains of interior Mexico and then move across south Texas, already saturated from flooding rains. By that time, the amount of rain Willa can turn out is not likely to pose the kind of catastrophic, deadly flooding parts of south Texas suffered last week.

From there, the then-extratropical low will travel as an ordinary area of low pressure across the deep south. Here is the American/GFS model depiction for late Thursday. By Saturday morning, the low has made it over to near Cape Hatteras, N.C., where nor’easters are often formed. By Sunday morning, the GFS takes the storm well east of Cape Cod, with its main snow potential in Maine.

The Canadian model has a very different idea and takes what was the coastal low well inland. If there were a truly cold air mass in place, that would be your Sunday punch. But there isn’t that kind of cold, so the model has us mainly in a cold rain.

By Monday, there are hints of a very modest mix in the wake of a weakened low, with a little snow in higher elevations. Speaking of modest, snow chances this week are exactly that. Late Tuesday night into Wednesday, there will again be fairly cold northwest flow producing scattered lake-effect showers with limited moisture. As per last Wednesday and Wednesday night, there will again be a bit of snow on the hills and a little rain or a wet mix at lower elevations … nothing shovelable.

As for the Sunday low, whichever path it takes, true arctic air will be absent. Chilly, yes, but not cold enough for widespread snow in the data as of this writing (“as of this writing” is always an important caveat).

The overall pattern favors below average temperatures most days into at least the start of November. The average high this time of year is in the mid-50s. If you click on the arrow above the map in this Canadian ensemble, you’ll see the cool shade of blue indicating a seasonably chilly trough aloft dominating our part of the country most days for a couple of weeks.

Still, the ensembles are not indicating a sharp, warm western ridge and truly deep eastern trough with staying power during this time. Above average Siberian snowfall in October, which has been associated with a cold, deep eastern North American trough in the winter is running near or below average so far.

As I wrote last week, patterns we experience in October are seldom a reliable indicator for the patterns during winter. It is a transitional month, to be sure.

In the meantime, if you don’t care for the chill we have, here is a straw you may grasp at. The American ensemble shows a return to above average temperatures a few days into November.

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