Thursday’s Nor’easter

Thursday’s storm continues to take shape in the Southeastern United States.  At the time of writing this blog entry, more than 300,000 customers were without power throughout Louisiana, Georgia and South Carolina….mainly due to an historic ice storm underway there. 

The center of low pressure which will eventually be our nor’easter is currently in the Gulf of Mexico.  The system is loading up with moisture and will move to the east coast, hug the coastline and move across Cape Cod Thursday night.

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As the low center moves from the mid-Atlantic across the Cape, it will rapidly intensify.  In fact, it may come close to acheiving the process of “bombogenesis”, which is a surface pressure drop of 24mb in a 24hour period.   Whether it will be classified in that manner, isn’t as important as knowing it will be intensifying rapidly, and this will help bring very strong winds into Southern New England especially Thursday afternoon and evening. 

wind_gusts_SocialAbove is the RPM computer model output for winds in the early afternoon on Thursday.  Notice the wind gusts of 40-60mph! Even during the morning, the winds will be gusty, but the worst will be Thursday afternoon and evening.  Winds of this strength, along with branches weighted down by heavy snow could cause power outages.  In fact, this storm may be better remembered by the wind than the snow.

Here’s the timing of the storm, which should start moving in just before dawn on Thursday.

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During the morning, expect periods of heavy snow creating poor visibility.  Even southeastern Massachusetts will see a period of heavy snow, but rain will begin more quickly there.  Through the morning, warmer air will work its way through Southern New England and by mid-day, we should begin to see some mixing in Providence.  The precipitation turns to an all afternoon wind-driven rain.  The rain may end for awhile Thursday evening.  Late Thursday night and early Friday morning we may see another round of snow.  This is something the models have been indicating during the past 24hours.

Here’s the storm breakdown for Providence.  Note: Expect more snow in the beginning and a later changeover in northwest Rhode Island and a quicker changeover and less snow along the coast and over southeastern Massachusetts.

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Notice the amount of rain we will be getting (0.7 to 1.0″).  With clogged storm drains, some areas could see localized street flooding.  

The snow, ice, rain and wind will have numerous impacts on commutes, travel, closings, etc.  Here are some thoughts about the impacts this storm will have on us.

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While not a prolific snow maker for us, we are expecting significant impacts.  We encourage you to use extra caution while driving Thursday morning, Thursday evening and again Friday morning as road conditions could be poor due to snow, ice, slush, water or maybe even downed branches and or power lines.

I don’t expect widespread delays and cancellations, but the snow could come down heavily at times for a little while Thursday morning before a changeover to rain.  Scattered power outages are possible and airline / ferry services could be affected.

Here’s how much snow I expect for Thursday….

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Please keep in mind that a 20-40mile change in the track of the storm could alter these snow amounts significantly.   We encourage you to check back to further forecasts. 

-Meteorologist T.J. Del Santo

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