Good Wednesday morning from Chief Meteorologist Tony Petrarca..
Its 1:00AM here in the weather office and looking at some new data coming in. Just want to give you a quick update before calling it a night and getting some rest. Please check with Michelle Muscatello from 4:30AM to 7AM on WPRI and from 7AM to 9AM on FOX Providence with more updates.
Confidence is high for a major Winter Storm to impact our area starting early Thursday. Now thru Wednesday night we will continue to analyze new data and fine tune our snow accumulation numbers. Please check back with us next 24 hours in regards to final snowfall amounts expected on Thursday.
Snow is not the only issue…strong winds during the storm will be followed by extreme cold Friday into Sunday. The concern we have are for power outages followed by the outbreak of bitter air. Home heating and frozen pipes will be a problem for those without power. Wind gusts are expected to range from 50-65 mph at times.
IS THIS A BLIZZARD?
The combination of strong winds and reduced visibility will produce near blizzard conditions at times Thursday. The criteria for a blizzard is actually a function of wind speed and visibility and NOT on the amount of snow. It is possible that a “Blizzard Watch” may be issued for parts of our area.
Lets take a look at some of our updated graphics
STORM TIMELINE REMAINS THE SAME
Accumulation forecast has been adjusted to include a broader area covered with 8-12 Inches of snow. These amounts will occur by Thursday evening. It should be noted that some computer guidance are forecasting totals even higher than what is shown here…we will monitor to see if this trend continues
Storm, will be south and east of Cape Cod Thursday afternoon and will continue to rapidly intensify.
Any slight deviation in storm track east or west will change the location of where heaviest band of snow will fall. This is the tricky part of the forecast. A track closer to coast may introduce a brief change to rain on Cape Cod, but then flipping back to all snow.
HIGH WIND WATCH remains in effect…this may get upgraded to a HIGH WIND WARNING
WIND GUST FORECAST THURSDAY. Strongest winds along the coast and offshore.
One of our high resolution computer models at 2PM Thursday showing gusts ranging from 70mph on Cape to 50 mph in Westerly. Again, wind will be a major factor with this storm too.
HIGH TRAVEL IMPACT FROM MID MORNING THURSDAY INTO THURSDAY EVENING
HEAVY SNOW, STRONG WIND AND POWER OUTAGES ARE THE MAIN IMPACTS. This would include major travel issues
Chief meteorologist Tony Petrarca