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Christmas snow followed by a larger storm

Posted by David Epstein  December 24, 2012 09:47 AM

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This morning the ground is bare across southern New England and up the coast to Maine. I know many of you would love to see just a bit of white for Christmas and you may get your wish. The good news for snow lovers is that this year we have a small system that will impact southern New England. The snow begins later Christmas eve and continues Christmas morning. snowforchristmas.png The snow will be over by noon Christmas and we will then see a bit of clearing. Wednesday looks dry and sunny for the mass return of gifts. By later Wednesday night, snow will break out across the entire area. There could easily be plowable amounts of snow during the night and into Thursday morning. Warmer air, on a strong wind off the ocean, will change the snow to rain across the south shore, Cape Cod and the Islands. However, how far north and west the warmer air moves will be critical in determining if the changeover makes it to Route 128, Route 495 or as far north as the New Hampshire border. What we do know is that were the entire storm to stay all snow, a foot of the white stuff is likely.I'll be blogging about this storm and the next one on Twitter at @growingwisdom

I hate to even use the word storm with this first of two systems to affect New England in the next few days. The one for tonight will barely bring measurable to snow to the border towns near New Hampshire while a couple of inches is likely for those of you 20 miles or so north and south of the Mass. Pike. A winter weather advisory has already been issued for much of Rhode Island and parts of the south shore of Massachusetts for the light snow and sleet that is on the way. This advisory could be expanded north later tonight.

Timing
I expect the snow to breakout across the region late this evening to just after midnight. This does mean that if you go to midnight mass, especially south of Boston, you could be leaving in a bit of light snow. The snow may not reach northern areas until closer to sunrise Christmas.
I expect once the snow begins that it will last about 6-8 hours ending from west to east in the morning. By noon, the last of the snow should have exited the coastline and there may be a nice sunset to enjoy. There will be enough warm air near the south coast and across Cape Cod that any snow should melt. As you cross the bridges over the Cape, much of the morning Christmas will be wet, not white.

Amounts
We are looking at very light amounts on the order of a dusting to 2" across the region. Once you get up into southern Maine, there will just a be a few flurries. For those of you who plow for a living in the winter, this will be a marginal event and it might just be a sanding for many towns. Remember, the trend at the Cape will be for mild air to keep the precipitation in the form of rain or a mix Christmas morning.
snowforchristmas1.png

The next storm
Wednesday we have a break in the weather with sunshine and cold afternoon temperatures in the 30s. This break will be short lived as clouds and snow will quickly overspread the region at night. The models have been trying to move warmer air into the region as the center of the storm moves close to Boston. If this happens, there is no doubt a change to rain will occur quite far north and west of the city. However, there are some indications the storm may stay a bit further east and this would keep the cold air in place longer. If this happens, then any changeover would occur later. For some, the change might never fully happen. Since this is a larger storm, the amounts, where it remains all snow, could reach a foot or higher. I expect for skiers, this is going to be a great storm with many inches of fresh powder!

Gardening
This weeks video talks about soil compaction. If you have an area of your lawn that won't grow grass very well or a tree that isn't performing, the issue might be soil compaction. Take a look at this video and see how soil compaction can be fixed.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this blog or any others. Please 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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