PROVIDENCE, R.I. (NEXSTAR) — WPRI meteorologist Steven Matregrano joined WGN’s Chip Brewster on this week’s “Watching Winter Live”. The pair discussed upcoming patterns and what February is shaping up to look like across the U.S., but also particularly along the northeast I-95 corridor.

This week’s topics included:

  • Recap of the most recent storm in New England on January 25th
  • Comparing recent storm tracks in the east
  • Where the cold air is and has been
  • A glance at the early outlook for February
  • What role surface water temperatures play along the East Coast

Lately, it seems like every few days there’s a new storm to talk about and that’s because for the most part it’s true. Our most recent storm tracked to the west of New England, which put much of our area on the warmer side of the storm.

What little snow fell was quickly washed away by a heavy, windswept rain for much of Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts, making for yet another storm that passes with little to no snow.

Storm to impact New England, Wednesday January 25, 2023.

What we haven’t seen yet so far this winter season is that “ideal winter setup”, the kind that gives the I-95 corridor from Washington to Boston a shot at a mainly wintry/snow event.

So what’s needed? Well for starters, A high pressure system should be nearby to help funnel in cold air. An ideal location of the center of the high would be over Quebec.

In addition, a storm track south and east of New England, preferably an intensifying one.

Many other factors involved include temperatures in all layers of the atmosphere and at the surface along with ocean surface temperatures.

Surface water temperatures have been above average all season and that plays a role in weather locally across southeastern New England. A north, northwest, or west wind direction is ideal for snow across the coastal plain as it allows colder air to reach the coastline. However, with warmer water temperatures, it will seemingly be a battle zone as to which in the end wins out.

With the Gulf Stream noticeably warm, it would be a huge boost to any storm that forms or tracks off the coast as the warmer water will help fuel the storm and intensify it.

Are there any pattern changes on the horizon for February?

As we head into early February, the chances of below average temperatures increase for the northern tier of the country, including slightly in Southern New England.

Cold air is one ingredient needed to support east coast snows. In fact, the outlook even further into February could feature colder air sticking around through mid-February.

In addition to the increased chances of below average temperatures, above average precipitation also seems to be in the cards.

This would hint at potentially some more wintry weather across the northeast.

We’ve had no shortage of moisture this winter, in fact, we’re about 10 inches above where we should be for precipitation this time of year. What has been lacking, is the cold air.

Remember, even in the mildest winters on record, we’ve still seen snow. It really comes down to aligning the cold air with moisture.