You knew it would happen eventually, right? With all this cold around, we were bound to get hit with a snow storm. Well, it looks like the atmospheric conditions are becoming favorable for a winter storm to develop. The computer models have been suggesting for a few days that a large storm would be east of New England on Thursday. That suggestion has continued and with certain atmospheric ingredients in place, it seems likely now that we will be impacted by a large storm with strong winds and snow. The biggest question is how close will it get to Southern New England, which will determine how much snow we get.
Below are the two main computer models we use as tools to forecast the weather a few days out. The European model and the GFS (American) model show a storm center southeast of Nantucket Thursday afternoon. The GFS model has the storm a smidge closer to us than the European does. We’ll likely see some model fluctuations during the next two days.
That’s the end result and the uncertainty in the track is the reason for the uncertainty in the snow forecast. Here’s how we get there….
A piece of energy over Montana and Wyoming Monday evening will drop down to Louisiana by Tuesday night. This will help to develop an area of low pressure on a frontal boundary currently draped across Florida.
That low will be driven northeastward up the east coast Wednesday and Thursday. The question is how close will the storm get? Steering currents which begin to take shape on Tuesday will determine how much snow we get.
I’m not sure you really want this storm to get too close. The storm will be large with a large wind field. Although the low center could be far from New England, it will likely be able to produce snow a great distance from its center. Winds could be gusting between 30 and 50mph here in Southeast New England. That wind, combined with any snow, could create blizzard or blizzard-like conditions. In addition, we could have numerous power outages. Power outages in the middle of winter can be difficult to deal with as many furnaces may not be able to kick on. What could save us is that the snow will be a fluffy snow and likely won’t stick on trees and power lines too much.
So how much snow? We really need to see how the steering currents organize on Tuesday before we can create an accumulation map. However a general forecast of 4-8″ seems reasonable at this point. Again, the wind could be the more important factor with this storm.
Behind the storm, strong and bitter Arctic temperatures will return. Morning lows could be well below zero and wind chills could be as low as -30 Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Be sure to stay tuned to further forecasts over the next few days.
-Meteorologist T.J. Del Santo
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