Monthly Archives: January 2017

Get Off Your Rear – Snow Back in Forecast

Milwaukee – The January thaw comes to an end this week. As early as tonight and Tuesday, a wintry mix hits the northeast. That means work! Here are the areas most likely to see 3-6 inches of snow and sleet:



The area in blue can expect 3-6” of snow and sleet. This includes northcentral Pennsylvania, most of upstate New York, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City.

Midwest Gets Snow Too

Snow is not just confined to the northeast. Snow returns Tuesday and Wednesday to the Plains and Midwest. There will be a healthy swath of 3-6”of snow. If you are in the blue area, you are most likely to receive 3-6” of snow before Wednesday evening. A few locations could even see a little more.



This includes much of South Dakota, northern Nebraska, northern Iowa, southern Minnesota and Wisconsin. Good news!

And, looking out the next one to two weeks, average to slightly below average temperatures are likely in the eastern two thirds of the United States and Canada. This pattern favors clippers coming with light snow every few days.


Meteorologist Mark McGinnis is on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter @fairskiesconsul

Melting Away in the January Thaw

Milwaukee – Is it warm where you are?  If you live in most of the United States and Canada, it probably is. The western United States, western Canada and Alaska are the only locations with below average temperatures on January 18th. After a cold beginning to 2017, the temperature tables have turned and we are looking at a week or more of warm temperatures. And this isn’t slightly above normal warmth. This is potential record warmth for some locations. In other words, this January 2017 thaw has some chops.

We are now moving towards the end of January and the next week to ten days looks warm. This is happening, when we are moving, climatologically, through the coldest part of the year. So, what gives? What is going on?

Define January Thaw

First, we need to define the January thaw.  According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the thaw is very noticeable because it arrives in the last week of January; lasts about a week and temperatures are about 10°F above normal. The almanac isn’t the most scientific organization.  So, what does the National Weather Service (NWS) conclude? The NWS is a part of NOAA and the Department of Commerce. NOAA defines the January thaw as a period of relatively mild temperatures between January 20th and 23rd. A quick look at other sources on the internet shows that most definitions are a blend of these two.

End of January Forecast

Well, for snow lovers living east of western North America, this next image is not promising. This is the temperature forecast through January 27th.

Fig. 1 Temperature Probabilities
Fig. 1 Temperature Probabilities

The area in red and orange is a high confidence forecast for above average temperatures – 70% and higher in the Great Lakes and New England. The blue area shows below average temperatures with a peak of 70% in Nevada and Utah. Again, these are high confidence forecasts that will confirm. If you live in the red and orange area, this means most and maybe all of your snow, if you have snow on the ground, will melt by January 27th. If you live in the blue area, snow will accumulate, especially at higher elevations.

The thaw is already starting. Here are two graphics of the atmosphere for January 18th. Figure 2 is a look at around 16,000 feet above sea level. Note the areas in orange and red over the Great Lakes and Canada.

Fig. 2 500mb Height Anomalies                    Fig. 3 850mb Temperature Anomalies

These areas show significant height rises above long term averages. This is a signature for warmer temperatures – the larger the anomaly, the larger the temperature departure, for the most part. This warm up is confirmed in the Figure 3. Figure 3 shows temperature anomalies around 5,000 feet above sea level. There is a large area of deep red over the central United States and Canada.  Locations in red have temperatures .9°C or warmer at 5,000 feet above sea level as of January 18th. In many areas, the warm air is overhead and in place. This pattern and the warmth will stay in place through next week.

Winter Does Return

Confidence is growing that cold air returns between January 25th and 27th. Multiple forecast models are showing a pattern change the last full week of January. This pattern change gives the western United States a break from intense storms and atmospheric river that has dumped feet of snow and inches of rain from California north to Washington.  It also means that cold air returns to Canada and the United States from the Arctic.

Here are two images for late January. Figure 4 shows anomalies at 500mb and Figure 5 850mb.

 Fig. 4 500mb Anomaly Jan 27th                        Fig. 5 850mb Temp Anomaly Jan 27th

Similar to figures 2 and 3 above, Figure 4 shows above average heights shifting to the high latitudes of Canada with a peak in northwest Canada. The blue areas in Figure 4 show heights below average. The greater the change in heights at 500mb, the more you can expect temperatures to change – positively and negatively. This again is reflected by the 850mb temperature anomalies. In Figure 5, areas of blue shows below average temperatures in degrees Celsius over the Central United States. Black, the most abundant color, is slightly below average. The orange to red areas show above average temperatures in northern Canada. Note how these anomalies in Figure 5 align with Figure 4.

After a week of melt, in the north, or an early spring, in the south, expect the cold to return. Then we can start talking about the next round of snow and ice. Enjoy the break from the intense cold. Winter shall return!

Meteorologist Mark McGinnis is on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter @fairskiesconsul


Review & Compare Snow Plows: Boss XT VS Western MVP3 VPlows

Western v Boss graphic



Welcome to another snow plow battle. Follow Snow Plow News and stay current with snow and ice industry news, reviews, weather, equipment and more!

One of the great tools you’ll find for choosing a snow plow is our snow plow comparison charts. Let’s get this battle of the snowplows under way!

Snowplow Comparison Categories

The categories Snow Plow News examines to determine a SnowPlowNews Rating are as follows:

  1. Multiple Plow Specs
  2. Features
  3. Size
  4. Price – the price range provided should only be used as a general rule of thumb. We cannot be certain of actual market pricing as that will vary from area to area as well as dealer to dealer.
  5. Moving Capacity – this is intended to give you a general idea of snow moving capacity. This is based on the size and style of plow.
  6. Warranty

A high ranking does not constitute a product endorsement by Snow Plow News.

Today’s Snow Plow News Match-up Pits Western MVP3 VPlows VS Boss XT V Plows

We’ve poured over the numbers from each category to find out how these VPlows stack up.

SnowPlowNews has ratings for 5 models of Western MVP3 and 5 models of Boss XT snow plows, including steel and poly Plows.

Check in with our interactive comparison charts to get the low down on the Western MVP3 vs the Boss XT.

Comparing Snow Plow Price, Warranty, and Moving Capacity

Let’s break it down. Both Western and Boss offer a 2 year warranty on their snowplows.

On price, we’ve got another close one. Both the Boss and Western plows average  4 out of 6 on our price scale.

Western scores an average 4.6 out of 6 in moving capacity while Boss checks in with an average 5 out of 6. Moving capacity is neck and neck on the bigger plows, but Boss shows an advantage on their smaller plows.

The numbers indicate some variances with regard to snow plow specs. Digging into the specs show some differences in trip springs, vertical ribs, blade thickness, blade height, etc.

Battle Of The V Plows: Western VS Boss

In our limited comparison formulas, it looks like Western wins the SPN ratings battle. It’s not an overwhelming win by any stretch, but our numbers show a narrow margin of victory. Our congratulations to both Western and Boss for making fine snow plows.

Western Snow Plow Results


MVP3 chart











The previous chart indicates the numbers for the Western MVP3.

The Western MVP3 averaged: 50.6

Boss Snow Plow Results

BOSS XT chart











The previous chart indicates the numbers for the Boss XT snow plows.

The Boss XT averaged: 49.2

Again, this is a battle on paper. The real story is told where the blade meets the road.

Other Real World Variables To Consider When Purchasing A Snow Plow

  1. Dealers
  2. Mounting
  3. Innovation
  4. Non-truck applications

Here are a few more things to remember. When you’re considering a snowplow, your relationship with the dealer is a big deal. Does your dealer have a reputation for being open during snowstorms? Do they carry a large assortment of parts on hand or can they get them fast? Do they have a service department with a good reputation? When you’re out in blinding snow and a part breaks on the plow, you want to know it can be fixed fast.

Mounting is also a concern. Will you have to leave the plows on the trucks all winter because it’s such a headache to dismount and re-mount the plow to the truck? Are hookups a one man job or do they require a team and a skidsteer?

Stay on top of winter weather, snow and ice news and reviews, manufacturer updates, comparisons and more. Sign up for SPN’s online newsletter and get it all delivered right to your inbox.

Brent Jarvis for SnowPlowNews

Winter Outlook – January 2017 Update


Meteorologist Mark McGinnis brings us a January 2017 Winter Outlook Update for Snow Plow News.

Recently we have seen temperatures throughout the Northern US hover near the freezing mark, allowing a lot of our snow to melt.


jan 2017 temp forecast


January 2017 Winter outlook

Four of the last five weeks we have seen the El Nino pattern in neutral and the current

La Nina phase will slowly fade away.

What can we expect over the next few weeks?

Well stay the same cold then warm then cold pattern for the next few weeks.

We will see in January surges of cold, arctic air followed by a warm spell and then back

to another cold surge every 7-10 days or so, which is typical of a weakening La Nina during this time of year.


jan 2017 precip forecast








For the rest of January expect the West coast will get stormy weather –

snow in the mountains and rain in the valleys while Eastern US and Canada

will get more rain.



This forecast was brought to you by Berlon Industries, manufacturer of the Snowger,Berlon Industries Logo

the safest and fastest way to remove snow in hard to reach places.