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Wind and waves batter coast, snow and rain through Friday

Posted by David Epstein  March 7, 2013 12:15 PM

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This morning we continue to see a big storm spinning off the east coast. This storm is causing strong winds and high seas, and will continue to influence our area through Friday morning. While there will be snow with this system, the waves and wind continue to be the major effects from this storm. I'll be updating my weather forecasts on Twitter at @growingwisdom please follow me there. sat_ir_enh_east_loop.gif Some snow is accumulating this morning, but after about 9AM the snow will be harder to stick. During the past few hours the bands of heavier snow have been south of Boston. Throughout the day winds can be strong enough to take down tree limbs and cause scattered power outages. The storm is hundreds of miles away, yet the wind field is very large and intense between the storm and high pressure well to the north.

Slightly colder air has worked to the coastline and rain has changed to snow in many areas along the water. Depending on when you read this, it might have changed back to rain. Periods of snow and rain will continue to pass through the area today. In Boston, I expect the precipitation to oscillate between snow and mixed rain and snow while it's daylight, but trend to all snow when it comes down hard and especially after the sun sets. West of Route 128, the precipitation will be in the form of snow most of the time during the day. I wouldn't classify this as a big impact snowstorm. The reason for this is that the snow will fall over a long time and much of it overnight tonight. That said, there can be cancellations tomorrow morning. A few higher elevations could see heavy amounts over 10 inches. The map below has a fairly large area with 4-8 inch snowfall totals, quite typical of a March event. The rain/snow line will fluctuate along the coast and if it the precipitation comes down hard enough slushy accumulations will occur even along the water south of Plymouth. A two degree difference colder will increase these totals closer to the coast. In Washington, DC yesterday it was two degrees too warm and they ended up getting nothing. The exact temperature during any given hour of the storm will make an enormous difference in what falls and what accumulates.

During the middle of the day most well-traveled roads should remain wet, not white. This time of the year, the sun still has heating power even when it is cloudy. (it's why you can get burned on a cloudy day in summer). Tonight is when the bulk of the snow will accumulate and because of the heavy wet nature of the snow, there can be some tree damage and power outages with this storm. The snow will end tomorrow morning and after about 7 or 8 AM it will no longer accumulate. There can be a few rain showers during the day and winds will still be brisk.

The map below shows how much snow will fall from the entire storm. There will be more accumulation on the existing snow, your lawn, side roads and areas that face north. Tomorrow morning, I expect everyone to have a slower commute due to snow on roads. Since the snow is coming over such a long period of time, most of the main roads may remain wet with just some slush at worst, while secondary roads are snow covered for time later this evening and Friday morning. Those area southwest of Boston around Route 24 have seen some heavier bursts of snow this morning.
Thursday snow map3.png

The coast
Already there is a coastal flood watch up for much of the southern New England coastline. Erosion and not flooding to be a big issue with this ocean storm. That said, there will be road closures and basement flooding along some coastal communities.

There are 2 more high tides (after 7AM) that will create some problems during this storm. Each of these will see a surge of water bout 2.5 to 3 above normal. (Thu, 7p.m. Thu, 8a.m. Fri). Seas are also going to build and I expect some waves to exceed 25 feet just offshore. Also, the tide may not retreat completely between tide cycles exacerbating the erosion.
The town of Scituate is one of the most vulnerable places during this storm. I expect to see some parts of that area have evacuations and road closures. The impact to that area from this storm could rival or exceed other storms this winter.
Thursday night tide.png
Tides Friday.png
The weekend looks quite nice with temperatures reaching for the 40s and lower 50s with sunshine. That is just a break in the pattern, not a change. There is another storm of rain or snow likely for later next week. Remember, we set the clocks ahead Saturday night we will have a later sunrise on Sunday, but more light in the evening.

Gardening this week
Depending on how aggressive you want to be in the garden, March does begin planting season. Fava beans, peas, lettuce, radish, carrots, and other cold weather crops can be planted by the end of the month. Inside, you can start many of your seedlings this month. I generally start my tomatoes in the first couple of weeks of March, which is about 8 weeks before they will go into the ground. Early this month is also the time to prune your blueberry bushes. In this week’s video I show you how to keep your blueberry bushes healthy and yielding big, juicy berries.

I'll be updating my weather forecasts on Twitter at @growingwisdom please follow me there.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

David Epstein has been a professional meteorologist and horticulturalist for three decades. David spent 16 years at WCVB in Boston and currently freelances for WGME in Portland, ME. In 2006, More »
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