BOSTON (CBS) – Could it be? Finally? Our biggest winter storm of the season MIGHT get under way later this week. I’ll tell you right away that this is not a lock yet. We still have a number of possible scenarios, from a foot of snow somewhere in our region to nothing at all. In the past few days, however, there has been increased confidence that a plowable blizzard could be on the way for parts of southern New England.
What is remarkable this season is the lack of snow so far. Boston has only recorded 0.4 ″ of total snow so far. As a reference, there is an average of about a foot of snow in the city in the first week of January, and last year we measured 17.5 “.
This isn’t just a Boston problem, either. Worcester, the unofficial snow capital of southern New England, is only 3.8 inches so far, nearly 16 inches below the previous average and more than 2 feet below the previous year’s total!
Could all this change?
But here’s the thing, the storm we’re talking about isn’t even on the map yet. The energy that we expect to be the driving force behind its creation is now spread across the northern Pacific. Therefore, it is difficult to make a final prediction before the models have even had a chance to adequately sample the pieces of the puzzle.
We currently know the following:
- In the deep south, a storm system is likely to form on Thursday.
- It will begin transmitting its energy off the Carolina coast Thursday night.
- A new coastal storm will form and will likely spill over to south New England early Friday.
- It will be a quick move, nothing downstream to slow it down.
- Given the speed of the system, we don’t expect a big / blockbuster storm, rather in the middle range.
The first flakes would arrive sometime after midnight on Thursday night. It will be a gradual process with the radar filling up with light snow between 1am and 6am on Friday.
The steady and accumulating snow would arrive between 5 and 7 a.m.
The main burden of the storm and most of the accumulation should be fast moving again on Friday between 5 a.m. and 12 p.m.
The snow would subside in the afternoon with very little additional build-up after 1pm.
With that in mind, Friday morning would obviously be the hardest hit to commute.
It is too early to determine where the heaviest snow and the highest snow accumulation will occur. To give you an idea, I think we could watch a medium type snow event. Think of areas like 3 to 6 inches.
I would prefer the Cape and Islands as the area with a lower risk of a lot of snowfall as there is a chance that something would mix there.
IMPACT ON THE COAST
I don’t see any major concerns about wind or coastal flooding right now. The tides are astronomically high right now, but by Friday they will be decreasing to some extent. Also, the highest tide occurs on Friday afternoon, well after the storm has reached its peak.
Looks like a different system on Sunday, but this one will be weaker and more westerly, which might mean a mix of rain and snow. This is followed by an arctic cold early next week. Right now, it seems that Friday’s storm would be our best chance of significant snowfall for the next seven days or so.
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