Monday November 11, 2013 | 09:48 PM
Posted by David Epstein

Winter doesn't arrive until December, but it's going to feel like the 12th month for a couple of days ahead.  Yes indeed, for many of you some snow is going to be in the air tomorrow for the first time this season.  The ground could turn white tomorrow morning in spots, but most of the roads should remain wet, not white.

 I'll be updating the forecast for the snow and the warm-up later this week on Twitter at @growingwisdom Please follow me there. Feel free to comment or ask questions too.

 An arctic front is rapidly approaching the east coast from the west.  This front will be offshore during Tuesday morning and behind it, the coldest air of the fall arrives. Temperatures will fall very little tonight until the front passes. Once the front goes by your area, you can expect temperatures to fall several degrees in a short period of time.

An interesting feature on our weather maps is located at 30,000 feet. As this level of the atmosphere we find the jet stream. It is here I notice very strong winds over 130 knots in places and close to 150 knots. These strong winds are moving weather systems rapidly across the country.

 This jet stream will put an arctic air mass eastward and bring the coldest air of the season to the area tomorrow and Wednesday. The rapid movement of air also means the cold won't last. As a matter of fact, we will warm up significantly by the end of the week and the mild air looks to remain with us all weekend.
First snow
As the arctic front crosses the area early Tuesday, there will be a period of rain and snow showers developing along and just behind it. From about 1AM tomorrow morning, and during the commute, there could be a period of snow squalls lasting an hour or two.  These snow showers or squalls will start at rain showers and then turn to snow as colder air moves into the area.  Squalls are difficult to forecast, because like thunderstorms in the summer, not everyone sees the same thing. The squalls won't last very long, and the window of time I am speaking about allows these squalls to move from the northwest to the southeast and off the coast. Those of you west of York, Saco and Portland will be done with the squalls by 6AM and south of that line by 9AM.
Based on the latest computer models I am going to forecast some whitening of the ground in parts of southern Maine  the chance you could see up to an inch of snow on some grassy spots at most. If you follow my blog you know I don't hype the weather. What I am reporting is the chance of these squalls in the morning. It doesn't mean everyone is going to awake to white on the ground, rather some squalls could put down a coating and in a case or two, there could be an inchif the squalls last long enough, this is most likely in the mountains. Think of tomorrows situation very similar to a forecast of scattered thunderstorms in the summer. 
The first snow is notoriously difficult to predict. No one wants to be wrong about the forecast at anytime, but particularly the first snow of the season. This isn't a big storm and while the ground may turn white, it's not going to be a plowable situation.

The timing is such however, a spot or two on a few roads could become briefly icy in the morning as temperatures near freezing. However, the roads are still quite warm, so most, if not all the accumulation will fall on the grass, cars and other open ground. The image below shows where the precipitation will be at about 6AM tomorrow morning.


Warm up
On Thursday, temperatures turn milder again and reach back into the 50s. By Friday, some areas will be nearing the 60 degree mark making the cold and any snow but a brief memory in a very dry and relatively mild overall pattern.

Gardening this week

 This week my video is on raised beds and how they can help extend the season.  I show you several ways you can use raised bed or cold frames to allow your gardening to start earlier and end later each year.

I'll be updating the forecast for the week on Twitter at @growingwisdom Please follow me there. Feel free to comment or ask questions too.




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About the Author

David Epstein has been a meteorologist for more than 25 years. He spent 16 years in Boston and currently freelances at WGME13 in Portland.

In 2006, David founded, a business producing educational and marketing videos for the green industry. He currently is a professor at Framingham State College, teaches Jan Plan at Colby College and owns Bloomscapes Inc., a landscape design business.

David authored "Gardens Of New England" and his work has been published in Grolier's Science Annual for 10 years. He lives in South Natick, Mass., and has a summer home in Harpswell.

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