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Major nor'easter brings wide variety of weather to region

Posted by David Epstein  February 12, 2014 02:20 PM

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The storm is still on the way for Thursday and while snow amounts won’t be very heavy in Boston, there will be some areas which see over a foot of snow. I wouldn’t be surprised if a few spots across the western parts of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and northern New England see up to 18 inches of snow. This is going to be the storm the ski areas have been hoping for all winter and is perfectly timed for school vacation week which starts Friday.

The storm is going to ride up the coastal as what we affectionately call a “coastal hugger”. As these types of storm moves along the coast they carry a lot of moisture and also a lot of warm air on their right side. A difference in 10 miles of the exact place the center of the storm passes can change the amount of snow by 4 to 5 inches.

This is the same storm bringing terrible winter weather to areas of the southeast where this storm will be historical and some of those folks will be talking about this event for many years. For us here in New England, it’s a typical sloppy nor’easter with heavy snow inland, rain over Cape Cod and a mess in the middle.

I'l be updating on Twitter regularly. Look for updates here and on there as well.


The snow forecast is the biggest challenge. This is the toughest forecast of the winter because there is so much precipitation involved. When you see the two maps below notice how quickly the snow builds as you move west. I made a close-up map of the area where the snow accumulation gradient is greatest. The snow increases towards the next level within each zone. If the storm shifts a bit east, the zones move with them and we see more snow inside metro Boston.
MA snow and rain thursday3.jpg
ma wider.jpg

MA MA Close.png

There will be strong winds developing during this storm. The winds will contribute to the possibility of power outages, especially in the area with the heaviest snow. The map below shows the wind Thursday afternoon around 4PM. Use the key on the right to see how strong the winds might be. Notice the strongest winds are on the coast. Actual winds may be a bit stronger in gusts. Tides are astronomically low, however there still could be some minor beach erosion and splash over of sea water at the time high tide late this evening.
winds along coast.png

The snow moves in to the area between 7AM and 9AM. If you are headed to work tomorrow leave early. If you head into Boston before the start of the storm, you will still need to get home. Those of you who live west of Route 128 should seriously consider home commuting if possible. The evening commute will be particularly difficult heading west. It will not be nearly as poor of a commute heading south towards Cape Cod.
The storm will wind down in the late afternoon and evening between 4 and 9PM across the area. As the system pulls east and continues to develop there could actually be a thunderstorm over the coastal plain.

Friday morning snow

I am concerned about a new area of snow after 1AM Friday. The models are indicating another burst of precipitation in the form of snow early Friday and this may impact the morning commute. There could be a coating of snow or even a couple of inches. I will have more on this possibility later today and tomorrow.
friday snow.jpg


A weak system will bring some snow showers or light snow to the area Saturday morning. This won’t be a big system or even medium, but it could coat the ground or give a couple of inches of new snow. Behind this system it turns colder for Sunday. There may actually be more storminess during the first part of the next week.

When does this cold end?
There are signs of a moderation in temperatures later next week and some significant melting is possible. Several indicators show temperatures reaching the 40s sometime after the 18th. I’m just trying to give you all something to look forward to in this very rough winter season.

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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