Tuesday Storm Update

The ingredients to Tuesday’s storm are now over North America and will come together during the next two days to create a monster storm, which has been named “Stella.”  The moisture and energy over Texas and the Gulf of Mexico will move off the coast of Florida through Monday.  Meanwhile, energy over the Pacific (and some more over Canada) will dive down across the eastern United States and help intensify the mini storm off the southeast coast.

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A major nor’easter will develop and head toward New England Monday night and Tuesday.  Below is the storm position from the European computer model for Tuesday at 8PM.

TIMING

Sunday and Monday will be quiet.  The first snow flakes in Rhode Island and southeast Massachusetts will be Tuesday between 4 and 8AM.  The Tuesday morning commute probably won’t be too bad, but don’t be fooled….it’ll be difficult getting home!

Snow starts to fall heavily after 9AM, and that will continue through the afternoon, coinciding with very strong winds. Blizzard conditions are possible late morning and into the evening.

Travel during the time of the evening commute could be extremely difficult in Rhode Island as strong winds and heavy snow could be falling.  Visibility could be near zero and roads will be snow-covered.  Also take note, there could be some mixing right along the coast in Rhode Island…some rain is possible on the Cape.

Expect heavy snow into Tuesday evening, winding down around midnight into early Wednesday morning. But strong winds will continue and blowing and drifting of snow is likely.

IMPACTS

Snow will fall heavily at times, with rates of 1-3″ per hour possible.  Thundersnow is possible.  Roads will likely become impassable as road crews will not be able to keep up.  Winds will be strong, perhaps gusting to 50mph along the coasts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts.  Wind damage is possible, as well as beach erosion.  Coastal flooding is possible, but mainly in eastern Massachusetts. Travel will become difficult during the morning as the heavy snow and strong winds create whiteout conditions.  Areas not in the Blizzard Watch could see brief whiteout conditions.  Much of the snow inland will be of the fluffy variety, but toward the coast it could be heavier.  Snow could stick to trees and wires near the coast, and with the strong winds, there is a power outage threat.  For now, that threat is a medium threat because we are unsure of how heavy the snow will be.

IF the storm follows the path we are expecting right now, school would be cancelled and many businesses would likely close for the day.  I get this question a lot: “Will the governor declare a state of emergency?”   Honestly, I don’t know.  That’s really dependent on how the state can handle the storm.  This is New England – we’ll handle it.

AMOUNTS

This could change, but for now it looks like one to two feet of snow is possible in Southern New England.  You read that correctly. The most would likely fall inland, with lesser amounts near the coasts.  There will be lots of “banding” with this storm, meaning small areas could get pummeled with snow for an hour or two, while areas nearby get very little.  It’s a little too early to make an accumulation map, but this is the general idea of what to expect.  Look for an accumulation map on Sunday.

So, while we could see some changes in the next two days, this is what it looks like right now.  Please check back for further updates.

Q&A

Now some questions from Twitter:

ANSWER:  Good question… there isn’t a Blizzard Watch for Providence right now.  The winds may not be strong enough for “official” blizzard conditions; however, whiteout conditions are possible at times.

 

 

ANSWER: The time of the morning commute (5-9AM) might be okay, but it will be going downhill quickly. Anytime after 9AM probably won’t be good… though this could change by a couple of hours or so as we get closer.   Driving Wednesday morning probably won’t be a treat either.

 

 

ANSWER:  Another good question.  Yes, if the timing of the pockets of energy don’t move as we anticipate, the steering currents could change and the track could be off.  That is something we will watch closely.  Mixing at the Rhode Island coast is possible…probably just sleet.

 

 

ANSWER:  Listened to your show this week….good stuff! Hiccup.  If you must travel Tuesday, do it before 9AM.  Beyond that time into Wednesday morning, the roads and visibility will be awful (based on the current expected track).

-Meteorologist T.J. Del Santo

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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