Quiet Monday, Snowy Tuesday

Good morning!

Starting sunny and ending partly sunny, expect highs today in the upper 20s and low 30s with light west winds, perhaps around 5 mph.

It’s a good thing that today is quiet, because tomorrow will not be. Here’s the latest on the storm:

Precipitation Types

Locally, it’ll be all snow and for the majority of the area it’ll be a somewhat fluffier snow. However, expect a slightly wetter snow at the coast. Further south and east into south-coastal New England including southeast MA, there will be mixing issues. There is a slight risk some mixing could get up to the coast of the North Shore but this isn’t particularly likely.

Hazards

Heavy snow, blowing and drifting snow, poor visibility with whiteout conditions, very dangerous travel, strong to damaging winds. Coastal flooding and beach erosion at the coast.

Timing

Snow begins very early Tuesday morning and quickly becomes heavy. The worst of the storm is late Tuesday morning into Tuesday evening. The snow then tapers off during the overnight hours.

Impact

Travel will be life-threatening with heavy snow throughout the day Tuesday. You should have any travel completed by some time between 6 and 8 AM, and be ready to stay at that place until, at the very least, some point between 11 PM and 2 AM Tuesday night (Wednesday morning) if you absolutely have to – and preferably you should be able to stay at that place into later Wednesday morning; it is not particularly clear how fast that plows can clear roads once the storm ends and night driving should not be done if at all possible until more cleanup can be done. Contributing to the travel issues will be snow covered roads (to which plows may not be able to keep up with in spots during the worst of it), along with poor visibility with whiteout conditions due to strong winds that will blow around snow, along with all the other joys of driving in strong winds. At times, just about any travel of any type is going to be nearly impossible.

Those same strong winds may also cause tree damage and power outages, especially at the coast where coastal flooding will also cause problems. Winds may gust up to 50 mph to the west and up to 60 mph in eastern portions.

Schools are certain to be closed Tuesday, and probably on Wednesday too (to permit extra cleanup).

Snowfall Amounts

snow map 3-13-17 515a.png

 

A general 12-18″ is likely for most with scattered higher amounts. A zone of 16-22″ is in place for the Worcester area and portions of MetroWest into the Worcester Hills and Merrimack Valley. Note that this is our best estimate as to the jackpot zone and, given it is a mesoscale feature, it could shift a little bit, but there is an increasing confidence that the heaviest snow will be somewhere in this area. Further south in southeast New England, less snow is expected with mixing likely along with warmer temperatures promoting lower snow ratios – this will also make the snow of a wetter consistency at the coast, even to the North Shore.

(This is outside of my main coverage area, but a second area of 16-22″ is possible in parts of interior eastern New York and far western MA/interior northwestern CT. At this point, I don’t have enough confidence to introduce such a zone.)

Uncertainty

Most guidance is in general agreement with the snowfall amounts, but there is still some haggling left over. A southeast track now appears unlikely, but if for some reason the storm bucks pretty much all guidance now and does that, the 7-12″ zone may need to be expanded to include some western areas. The trend of the past 24-36 hours, a track closer to Cape Cod/the Islands, has pushed the mix line further north, but not enough to truly impact our area, except push the whole precip shield west and thus perhaps make a higher jackpot more likely.
There is also a low chance that the mix line may get up to the North Shore.
Also, as with any storm, there is the possibility of a dry slot forming somewhere. It’s not entirely clear where such a dry slot would set up – it could set up anywhere, and this includes what I am currently pegging as the jackpot zone (however, it is less likely to be in that zone). There is also a slight chance that the upper limit on the snow could inch a little bit higher.

More on the snow this evening. Have a good day!

-Nathan

Published by Nathan Coram

Hello! I'm Nathan Coram, a 19 year old meteorology student and weather geek, and am going into my junior year at UMass Lowell as a meteorology major. I am the current Vice President of the UML American Meteorological Society Local Student Chapter. Prior to at UML, I attended the Dracut school system for my K-12 years, having graduated from Dracut High in 2018. I first got into weather with the December 2008 ice storm, which knocked out my electricity for 4 days. I had no idea how it could be raining and becoming ice immediately, and how rain can knock out power. (Now I do - warm layer aloft, cold air at surface). But I didn't really get into it until the heat of July 2010 and specifically a few severe weather events during that month, followed by the year 2011, which featured several high profile weather events. Since then I have had a growing interest, and am hoping to make it into the meteorology field, preferably with NOAA/NWS. But for now, I'm blogging here, helping with the UML Weather Center social media, and tweeting about the weather on my own account as well. Thanks for visiting!

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