Weather Wisdom

Blizzard Warning For Eastern Massachusetts

4PM Update
Watches have now been upgraded to warnings . Timetable for the storm remains the same.


3PM Update
The afternoon models have basically the same idea as the overnight ones with the center of the storm now forecast to be a bit further east. This means still significant snow across the region, but not a blockbuster amount. If this was any other winter this would be a big storm, but after the past two weeks, I think many us would be happy if we can just keep this under a foot. Amazing how perspectives change isn't it? Winds are going to howl Sunday morning and it will be the falling temperatures and the wind which make this a tough storm.

Morning Blog
A blizzard watch remains posted for the coast with a winter storm watch over interior areas for later Saturday and Sunday. The storm is still on track to impact the area this weekend potentially bringing blizzard conditions to the coastline.


One of the aspects of my blogs I try to convey is expectation. If I am stuck in traffic on the highway or on a plane thatís delayed, I can usually handle the inconvenience if I know whatís going on. I believe if we have a good idea what a storm will bring, it makes it easier to deal with, itís the surprises no one likes.

Itís frustrating to hear the snow will end at 8PM and itís still snowing at 11PM. By the way, itís equally frustrating for the forecaster. I sometimes scream at the radar when Iíve forecasted the snow to stop at a certain time and it still hasn’t. The radar never listens.

The upcoming stormís biggest surprise could come from its intensity and its movement offshore. The accumulation maps you are seeing this morning are all based on the intensity of the storm occurring at a certain position off the coast and that the storm keeps on moving once it does intensify.

The set up for the storm is this. We have a strong piece of energy with limited amounts of snow moving through the area Saturday afternoon and evening. As this area reaches the warm waters of the Atlantic it will spawn a much larger storm. This larger storm will then contain a lot of moisture, some of which is going to spin down the coastline from Maine and bring our area a period of heavy snow and potentially blizzard conditions.

The storm will end when its center moves far enough east to taking its precipitation shield out to sea. The difficult part of the forecast is as the storm is moving away, it will be getting stronger and the stormís coverage increasing. So, even as the low pressure area departs, it can still spin snow along the coastline.

The radar images below show how the snow will move in and out during the storm. The darker greens and yellows over New England are very heavy snow. The reds and yellows off the coast are actually thunderstorms over the warmer waters.


Snow will break out across the area Saturday afternoon. If you have errands and other normal Saturday activities the roads wonít become snow covered until between 1 and 3PM. The snow will quickly accumulate, but the wind wonít be an issue and travel will just be slowed, not even close to impossible.

I'll be updating here and on Twitter @growingwisdom throughout the storm.

Saturday Evening
Itís Valentineís Day tomorrow and I am sure lots of folks want to go out to dinner. I would still go, but understand there will be some areas of snow and roads wonít be bare. The height of the storm won't arrive until Sunday morning and the winds wonít have increased.

The storm will going at peak intensity during morning, but winding down during the afternoon.There actually might be a break in the snow from what falls Saturday evening, until the intensification of the storm resumes the snow early Sunday morning. If blizzard conditions are going to occur, this is when it will be happening.
Snow bands should be rotating southwest around the back of the storm which will be intensifying in the Gulf Of Maine. As the storm grows stronger winds will continue to increase and peak late in the morning or early afternoon.


The wind will whip the snow into drifts and blow it off the ground. A blizzard means visibility is a quarter miles or less due to falling or blowing snow. The snow may lighten up late in the morning or early afternoon, but the winds will still be creating blizzard conditions, especially along the immediate coastline. The snow should be ending between 4PM and 9PM, last over Cape Ann, Boston and the outer areas of Cape Cod.

Snow Totals
The afternoon models are showing slightly less snow than this morning. It's almost the same amount as last night, but the trend isn't up which is good.


Snow Weight
The cold air will keep the snow light and fluffy. The snow will blow off many higher roof tops, but create drifts on the roofs that are lower. Youíll need to assess for yourself if snow removal makes sense after the storm. If you donít have issues with ice dams and itís not too deep, you can leave the snow up there, it does act as a good insulator.

Coastal issues
The storm will bring the chance of minor to perhaps moderate coastal flooding. The greatest risk will be from Salisbury to Cape Ann and this includes Plum Island. Beach erosion is going to be an issue for Cape Cod Bay and from Dennis to Sandwich. High tide occurs around 7:30AM Sunday. Itís not an astronomically high tide. Since the storm is moving quickly the Sunday evening high tide should be less problematic.

Power Problems
Winds will be strong enough to blow down some tree limbs etc. along the coast and this can always causes a loss of power. The snow will be light so the weight of that wonít be an issue on power lines. During the blizzard in January many of us kept powers, I think it will be a similar situation with this storm.

Logan Airport
The strong winds will create big issues on the runways Sunday. If winds reach 50 miles per hour, flights are halted regardless of the snow. I think Sunday is a non-starter for most planes. Monday will be a day when the airlines are trying to get all the equipment back in place.

Next Storm
There is the chance for more snow during the middle of next week. I have no confidence in whether itís a significant storm or completely misses us, weíll have to wait a few more days to see how the trends develop.

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