Major Nor’easter Expected Tuesday

Friday’s snow was only an appetizer for what could arrive on Tuesday.  Things have changed a bit regarding Tuesday’s storm.  No  longer are we looking at the ‘potential’ of a storm because a storm seems ‘likely’ now.  All the major computer models are ‘locked in’ on a major storm coming up the east coast.  There are questions about the exact track (which is always the case), but we’ll take a look at some of the scenarios here..

Here’s the set up again…

A very energetic jet stream will help to develop a storm off the east coast over the weekend and early next week.  Some ingredients from the storm will move out of the Pacific Northwest and some will move out of the Gulf of Mexico.   A powerful storm will develop Monday and move up the coast toward New England on Tuesday.  The low position on the graphic below is from the European computer model.

As you are probably aware, the storm track means everything as far as how much snow and how much mixing we get.  There are three basic tracks that have been indicated by the computer models.

  • In the graphic below the white track has been suggested by the GFS (American) computer model.  The low moves right over Southern New England, bringing a big thump of snow then a mix with lots of wind.
  • The blue track is closer to what the European computer model has shown…passing near Nantucket.  This track would bring a lot of snow, and some mixing to southeast Massachusetts and perhaps the coast of Rhode Island.  Strong winds would be expected with this track, too.
  • The yellow track represents a farther east track as the Canadian model shows.  We would expect all snow with that track and lots of wind.

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The common theme with all the tracks is lots of wind.  It’s possible this storm could be a blizzard, but that’s something we wouldn’t be able forecast until sometime Sunday or early Monday.

The above forecast tracks are all from one model run of each model.  We also look at something called ‘ensembles’, where a number of slight variations are made to a computer model to see what variations would result.  The European has 51 different variations and the average of all the ensemble model runs is below.  You can see where the low center would be Tuesday evening…right over the ‘sweet spot’ for a lot of snow.  That is 40°N 70°, the benchmark.

Looking at the GFS model, with an average of its 21 ensemble runs, we can see a very similar location for the low center, just south of Nantucket Tuesday evening and near the benchmark.

And finally, the GEM (Canadian) ensemble with its 21 variations of the model.  The low is farther offshore, which would mean all snow for us.

After looking at the models mentioned above (and some others), here is the expected Tuesday evening position…passing just south and east of Nantucket, near the benchmark.  This would give us a lot of snow, potentially historic amounts for March.  Strong winds would be expected along with beach erosion and coastal flooding.  NOTE:  This track is NOT carved in stone.  It could still change.

As far as timing, the snow could begin early Tuesday morning and continue all day with strong winds and possibly blizzard conditions at times.  The snow should end Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning.

Some questions from Twitter:

On the expected track, the heaviest of the snow would be in southeastern Massachusetts.  With the strong winds, the best chance for power outages would be there.

Sounds yummy.  I’d always lean towards a nice stack of pancakes.  It’ll be a lighter snow in the Providence area and points north.  It’ll get to be a heavier snow toward the coast and especially over southeast Massachusetts.

Thanks, I play the air guitar in my spare time.  Again, power outages are possible from the strong winds and a heavier snow over southeastern Massachusetts.  The storm center could be moving about 30 miles per hour on Tuesday, tracking from near Cape Hatteras, NC to the benchmark (40°N 70°W) in 12 hours.  Snow totals could be measured in feet, but the exact track will determine that.

It’s definitely possible we see one on Tuesday!

There will be a lot of snow, potentially measured in feet, but it really is too early for specifics.  Some mixing is possible over SE Massachusetts and the coast of RI…probably sleet mixing with snow.

Also, Jodi Spaziano’s question:   “how much bread and milk should I buy in preparation for STELLLLAAAAA??”

On the current track, this could be a two loaf of bread and two gallons of milk type of storm.  Haha.  And, yes, this storm has been named “Stella”.  Fun name for a potentially major storm.

Thanks for all your questions.  Another important blog post will be posted this evening, and I’ll take some more Twitter questions.

-Meteorologist T.J. Del Santo

Update: There is now a Blizzard Watch for parts of our area. Read about it here.

STORM READY LINKS: Storm Ready Resource Guide | Interactive Hurricane Tracker | Evacuation Routes & Storm Surge Maps | Ocean & Bay Forecast | Latest 7 Day Forecast | Pinpoint Weather Blog | Live Pinpoint Doppler 12 Radar | Threat Tracker | Pinpoint Traffic | WPRI.com Flight Tracker | Closings & Delays | Download: Pinpoint Weather App | Download: Eyewitness News App | Sign Up: Weather Alerts

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