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Storm now over, cold and mostly dry into 2013

Posted by David Epstein  December 30, 2012 02:42 PM

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Our quick hitting storm is now heading east passing Maine after leaving anywhere from a coating to nearly a foot of snow in southern New England. The wide range of snowfall was thanks to some warm air which kept extreme eastern sections of the state from seeing snow until much of the storm had already happened.wind advisory.png Now we are watching cold air filter into the region and awaiting our first true arctic blast of the winter later this week. We are going to be fortunate in that the core of the cold air will hold off until a couple of days from now which means typical cold for First Night Boston. Winds this afternoon will be gusty and a wind advisory is in effect for much of the the state. I'll continue to update the forecast and the New Years Eve weather on Twitter at @growingwisdom

coastal front explainer.bmp
Last night while it was snowing hard across much of the area, rain was pelting against the windows from Gloucester to Boston, south to Norwood continuing throughout all of Cape Cod. While rain on the Cape with snow inland is nothing new, you might wonder why the snow changed to rain in Boston and surrounding towns. The answer is that something called the coastal front, a player in all coastal storms, moved westward into Boston. This front marks the point where winds bring mild marine air moves towards the coast and meets the colder land wind coming from the north. You can see a quick explanation on the image above. (click the image to read it better) Normally, a storm that took the track of last night's would have kept the coastal front just off the coast and east of Boston, Cape Ann and much of the south shore. I expected the front to move to the Cape Cod canal and then stop. Perhaps because the ocean is so much warmer than usual, the warm air associated with the front was a bit stronger. As a result of the warm ocean, the rain-snow line went a bit further west. Eventually, the line moved back towards the east but not before many hours of rain fell. All that rain, if it had been snow, would have amounted to an additional 4-6". Many of you ended up with a sizable storm, although I didn't expect towns within a few miles of the coast to see much snow, I didn't expect the rain to push inland to places like Brockton, Easton and north to Rockport. While this was far from a perfect forecast, it's important to remember that in these situations 5 miles makes a big difference and we just don't have the technology to get that level of specificity yet with the coastal front. When you see the snow totals from last night you really get an idea of how just a few miles would have easily given Boston that 6-8" that Newton, Natick, and Lexington received.
snowfall final.png

Next few days
Today is the coldest day of the next few until Wednesday when a blast of arctic air will arrive. Our last day of 2012 and first day of 2013 will both feature sunshine and seasonable temperatures in the lower 30s. For First Night Boston, and other communities, the weather will cooperate with temperatures in the middle 20s for much of the night and not much wind.First night.png There might be a few flurries later on the 31st up till about midnight. More on that tomorrow. Wednesday and Thursday are cold mid-winter days with highs in the 20s and many spots going into the single digits and even near zero Wednesday night. These cold temperatures are still a far cry from what we use to see more often in early January when temperatures went below zero more often.
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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