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Rain and snow to continue overnight and well into Thursday

Posted by David Epstein  February 29, 2012 09:00 PM

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After a snowy afternoon and evening we are moving into another phase of this weather system. We have bands of snow, mostly in eastern Massachusetts occurring now. The snow is sticking to colder surfaces like car tops, the lawn, and some sidewalks. The snow is not sticking to the roads inside of Route 128 and marginally sticking elsewhere. In Boston and immediate surrounding areas, it's raining. For the rest of the night, it will not get colder and temperatures may even rise a few degrees. This means new snowfall accumulation close to the coast and within 10-15 miles will be difficult.

Most areas got between 1 and 3 inches of snow with the first round of snow even down to the Cape Cod Canal. By the way, snow doesn't have to stick on the roads to end up in the record books.

Overnight
After midnight, a more organized area of snow and rain will move into the area. I expect this to be a moderate shot of rain and snow extending to the morning commute. It will snow quite heavily for a few hours over inland areas. Those that get all snow, mostly north of the Mass Pike and west of Route 128 may accumulate enough snow for schools to delay or possibly cancel for Thursday. This next round of snow and rain will be caused by a storm pulling away our south. Again, overnight, the rain snow line will run very close to the Route 95 corridor. Amounts will swing wildly from cold surfaces, like those with snow or the top of your car, to warmer ones like the roads. If roads are going to become snow covered, it is this part of the storm, it will happen. I don't see any problems in the immediate Boston area, it's just too warm. I will be updating frequently here, as well as on my Twitter account. Follow me on Twitter at @growingwisdom


Thursday
Thursday, bands of snow will continue during the day especially along the Mass Pike and north. There will be rain and snow mixed to the south, but the snow line will be moving south so by the end of the day even the Cape will see snow in the air. The heaviest additional snow accumulation will be along the New Hampshire border moving about 20-30 miles south. It will snow much of the day even into Boston, but what accumulates on the grass versus the roads will once again be vastly different.

This time of the year, as we get beyond 8 or 9 A.M., it becomes very difficult for snow to accumulate on the roads. Although it is cloudy, the sun is high enough in the sky that some solar radiation gets trough and heats the asphalt. It's the same reason you can get burned on a cloudy day in the summer. The sun is really that powerful. After 5 P.M. Thursday, if there is still some snow, that could coat the ground even to the coast. By late tomorrow night, the storm is over and skies will begin to clear.

How much snow?
In those places that stay all snow the entire length of this event, through Thursday, up to 12 inches of snow is possible. (High hills tops, etc.) In other spots, 3-8" will fall. However, there are three reasons those upper totals will not be on the ground Thursday night or Friday morning. First, by the time we get to Thursday night the snow will have been melting from the bottom up for many hours. This is because the soil is already above freezing. Second, compaction is going to take place throughout the storm. Third, air temperatures are above freezing in many places. Add up all these reasons, and the snow left on the ground, is less than what falls from the sky.

I made three accumulation maps to show what will fall during three different periods through Thursday night. Using my reasoning above, don't add up the three maps and their totals and think that is what will be on the ground. (map 1 amounts happened already) There will just be too much melting going on during the whole storm for all of this to stick. In the end, there will piles of snow in places where things needed to be shoveled. The ground will be white across much of the region. I even expect some areas to be tempted to close school Thursday, although a delay is a better idea as roads will not be so bad by mid-morning even though it will be snowing. However, as long as it will snow, this isn't going be a blockbuster storm. It's just that in a winter with not much snow, this is our event for the winter.

totals1.jpg

totals2.jpg

Totals3.jpg

The weekend
Friday looks dry with sunshine and temperatures around 40°F. As we head towards the weekend it does get quite mild with a period rain for Saturday. Looks like any white on the ground will be gone come next week.


Growing Wisdom Newsletter

Many of you know I am not just interested in meteorology and storms. I am also an avid horticulturalist. Each month I write a newsletter about gardening and other outdoor tips. You can see my monthly newsletter by clicking here. If you would like to subscribe you can at Growing Wisdom


Follow me on Twitter at @growingwisdom and check out my latest videos at GrowingWisdom.com

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

David Epstein has been a professional meteorologist and horticulturalist for three decades. David spent 16 years at WCVB in Boston and currently freelances for WGME in Portland, ME. In 2006, More »
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