Ghost of Ophelia Coming Back Friday

By tonight we will see scattered showers work in. An interesting setup as the area of low pressure is WELL off-shore… a spoke of energy will be extending northwest of the center. It’s called a Norlun Trough. These things mean feast of famine. There will be some that see 1/2″ to 1″, others 3-5″. We’ve seen it happen with SNOW… several years back Brigantine ended up with a foot of snow and surrounding areas saw very little. So what IS it exactly?

A Norlun Trough is a specific type of inverted trough that is associated with a unique weather pattern primarily in the Northeastern United States. It extends northwestward from a primary low-pressure system, typically located over the ocean southeast of New England. This trough is characterized by its “inverted” orientation, meaning it extends northwest from a low rather than the typical northeastward or eastward extension that is more common with cold or warm fronts.

Here are the key points related to a Norlun Trough:

  1. Weather Impacts: Norlun Troughs can lead to narrow bands of intense snowfall during the colder months. The nature of these troughs often makes them challenging to predict, both in terms of location and snowfall amounts, as small shifts can significantly change the outcome.
  2. Rain Connection: If a Norlun Trough occurs during a time when temperatures are above freezing, it can lead to rain rather than snow. The intensity and placement of the rain bands might be influenced similarly to those of snow bands during colder times. That is, a narrow corridor might receive significantly more rain than surrounding areas.
  3. Mechanism: Norlun Troughs develop due to a combination of factors, including the interaction of shortwave troughs in the mid-levels of the atmosphere and low-level convergence of air. This leads to enhanced upward motion in a narrow zone, resulting in the potential for heavy precipitation.
  4. Challenging Forecast: Norlun Trough events can be tricky for meteorologists to predict accurately. The narrow and intense nature of the precipitation bands makes small changes in the trough’s positioning or orientation crucial for forecasting snowfall or rainfall amounts.

While Norlun Troughs are more often discussed in the context of winter weather and snowfall, they can also influence rain patterns when temperatures are above freezing. The precise placement and intensity of this rain can be difficult to predict, much like the snowfall associated with such troughs in colder months.

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