Tuesday Storm Recap

Tuesday’s storm was an “everything but the kitchen sink” storm for southeastern New England.

While we started the storm with snow, we transitioned over to sleet and eventually heavy rainfall.  In fact, TF Green saw just 3.3″ of snow, but record-setting rain!

The highest snowfall totals in our area were found in the northwest corner of RI, where 10-13″ of heavy, wet snow fell.

Here’s a look at where the highest snowfall totals were in the Northeast.  As expected, this was a large storm with record-setting snowfall.  Parts of eastern New York state saw 2-3 feet of snow.  Ski country and the Berkshires picked up 15-20″ of snow.  Even Hartford saw more than 1 foot of snow.

So why didn’t RI and SE MA get the big snows? The storm track.

When we started focusing on this storm over the weekend, our computer models were all in agreement that a major storm was going to form along the East Coast.  The storm track at that point looked PERFECT for a major southern New England storm.  A track southeast of Nantucket – near the “benchmark” ( 40N 70W ) – would put our area in the highest snow-producing region of the storm.

However, the actual storm track was about 75-100 miles further west, over the Cape Cod Canal.  And that makes all the difference.  On that track, our region typically sees enough warm air that mixed precipitation and rain become the dominant type of precipitation, especially south and east of Providence.

We began to see our computer models trending west with the storm track by Sunday night, and we trimmed back our original accumulation forecast more than 24 hours ahead of the first flakes of snow.  We did leave some “wiggle room” to account for uncertainty in the track… keeping in mind that a track further east was possible.  However, as you know, the more westward/wetter track did verify.  So, while snowfall here “under-performed,” you can see just how close we were to the 12-18″ totals.

We may have been slightly off on our snowfall forecast, but it was still a well-“timed” storm, and the forecast impacts – difficult travel, strong winds, power outages – were on point.  We are proud of the hard work we did to forecast this storm and prepare southern New Englanders for the impact it could bring.

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