1-03-2018: “Warmer” Wednesday; Jan. 4 Storm Update

Good morning!!

A number of things have changed with our storm for tomorrow as a westward trend continued overnight. Let’s look at each detail – but first, today’s forecast: a high of 27 today and mostly sunny, with a light southwest wind. Tonight will be mostly cloudy and 12, with a light north wind.

Timing
This storm has a pretty high chance of wrecking your Thursday plans, with snow starting in the late overnight and early morning hours on Thursday. Heavy snow will fall throughout the day and end by late evening.

Snow
Increased confidence in higher precipitation, along with most remaining guidance shifting west overnight, has led to increased snowfall totals for many. I have placed Dracut into an increased and expanded 10-14″ zone (with isolated higher amounts), as higher confidence in 10 inch snowfall amounts is now present for all of eastern Massachusetts away from the very immediate south coast, as well as most of Rhode Island southeast New Hampshire, coastal Maine. The snowfall will be of a heavier/wetter consistency to the south, while it will be fluffier around Dracut/interior northeast MA and points north and west. Elsewhere, 6-10″ snow is likely in central Massachusetts going west to areas east of I-91 and south-central and central New Hampshire, as well as Connecticut east of I-91, Rhode Island closest to the Connecticut border and the south coast, and the Massachusetts south coast. 3-6″ is likely in western Massachusetts west of I-91, western and northern New Hampshire, most of southern Vermont, and western Connecticut as well as the upper Cape Cod. 1-3″ is likely on the outer parts of Cape Cod and the islands.

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Wind
This could be the bigger issue with the storm for some, which is saying a lot. Wind gusts of 35-40 mph are likely for the Dracut area with perhaps a few slightly higher gusts not out of the question. Higher wind gusts over 45 mph are possible closer to the coast (over 55 mph likely for the southeast coast), with lower wind gusts further inland. This, plus heavy snow, will produce blizzard conditions at times. (More on the “bigger issue” thing in a minute.)

Impact
Heavy snow will combine with strong winds to create very hazardous travel conditions, with not only the classic snow-related travel issues, but also near-blizzard to blizzard conditions being likely at times. Travel will be extremely difficult on Thursday as a result, and it is advised that any unnecessary travel be avoided. Power outages are also possible considering the strong winds.

Also, any power outages will be very bad because of the impending cold, which could create dangerous conditions even for a few days. (More on the cold in a minute.)

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning as confidence is not high enough in meeting an official blizzard: sustained winds of 35+ mph or frequent gusts of 35+ mph, AND less than 1/4 mile visibility, BOTH for three CONSECUTIVE hours. Nonetheless, these conditions are possible, and further upgrades might be necessary. Regardless, periods of near-blizzard to blizzard conditions are likely at times.

Temperatures
Mid teens to mid 20s during the storm; high of 26 on Thursday. After the snow ends, the low plunges to around 7 degrees in Dracut Thursday night.

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Beyond that, Friday through Sunday will be frigid with highs around 10 on Friday and 3 on Saturday, and 15 on Sunday, with cold mornings on both sides of the -10 level. After that, we may finally break 30 degrees by the middle of next week, but for now, a storm system is possible early in the week.

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Have a great day! More on this later today.
-Nathan

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