3-2-2018 – Major Storm Update #1

Good morning!
 
It’s storm day and there is already rain in the area, as forecasted. Let’s do a rundown.
 
PREPAREDNESS:
There is a decent risk for power outages, especially this afternoon and evening, as strong winds could take out some tree limbs and power lines. Ensure that your electronic devices are charged and the like. Treat any downed wires as if they are live.
 
Heavy rain may cause minor road and urban area flooding. Do not drive into areas that are flooded as only a few inches of water can knock you off your feet; and your car can be swept away with less than a foot. You can never confidently estimate how deep water on the road may be. Turn around, don’t drown.
 
Heavy wet snow is difficult to clear at any amount. The weight of the snow may not only exacerbate the risk of downed tree limbs and power lines, but also could lead to fatigue in any shoveling. Please, be very careful tonight in that regard this evening.
 
CONTEXT:
What we see in Dracut will be far from the worst of this storm. Significant heavy and wet snow in the high elevations will not be good and will likely lead to power outages. Less or no snow is expected at the coast, but the east-facing coast will see the worst of the storm with major and historic coastal flooding expected, rivaling or beating out major storms like the Blizzard of ’78 and the January 4th blizzard from this year. Wind will be even worse at the coast as well with frequent gusts over 65 mph in plenty of spots.
 
FORECAST WEATHER:
Now until 4 PM:
Rain
High Confidence
 
Rain becomes heavy during this time period. The morning commute won’t be fun, and winds intensify to northeast at 15-30 mph with gusts up to 60 mph possible. Power outages are possible along with some minor urban and road flooding. High around 38.
 
4 PM to Midnight:
Rain to Snow
Medium-High Confidence on Occurence
Very Low Confidence on Details
 
Rain is expected to change to snow during this time period. That’s the only certainty with this part of the forecast. If snow takes over early, we will likely achieve the high end of the forecast snow ranges, if not even significantly exceeding them. If snow becomes the dominant precipitation type during the late evening, however, expect the low amount of the range if not falling short entirely. The uncertainty on the timing results in the uncertainty on the amounts, so I’ve gone fairly broad in the ranges and utilized zone overlap. With that said, any snow that falls will be very heavy and wet, and as such very difficult to shovel. The weight of any snow, especially if snow amounts achieve the high end of the ranges, will exacerbate the risk for power outages that is already there given the wind. Winds will be north at 15-30 mph with gusts up to 55 mph possible, especially early.
 
Midnight to 9 AM Saturday:
Snow Ending
High Confidence
Precipitation will be shutting off by midnight now, with any remaining flurries throughout the night done by mid-morning tomorrow. Strong winds and thus the risk for power outages continue. Low around 32.
 
RAIN/SNOW FORECAST
Rain: 1.5″ to 3″
Snow: 2″ to 6″ (high uncertainty forecast – see above)
snow map 2018-03-02 545A.png
 
BEYOND TODAY/TONIGHT:
Skies remain mostly cloudy tomorrow and things remain windy, with a high around 40 and a north wind at 10-15 mph and gusts to 30 mph. Lows hover around freezing Sunday morning and in the mid 20s Monday and Tuesday mornings, with highs in the low to mid 40s Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. A storm system is possible Wednesday and Thursday, but it’s too far out for details.
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Have a good day!
-Nathan
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