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Midwest blizzard to bring rain wind to our area

Posted by David Epstein  December 20, 2012 08:34 AM

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If you look at December snowfall in Boston since the late 1800s you can find several instances of back to back years with under 1 inch of the white stuff during the month. It appears that we are on track to have our second year in a row without an inch of snowfall in the last month of the year. As fall comes to an end and the first full day of winter arrives this weekend, another storm will move in and out of the region. Again, like nearly all of our storms this fall, it will just be too warm for any significant snow in southern New England. If it seems like a long time since our last inch of snow you are correct. It's been 332 days, about 11 months, since Boston got an inch of snow. Normally we see our first inch around December and our last inch sometime in March. As our next storm approaches, once again I have heavy rain and no snow in the forecast.f

Dry Thursday

Winds will relax and skies will shine bright all day today with seasonable temperatures. The sun rose this morning at a late 7:09 and will set on this last full day of autumn at 4:14 a couple of minutes off the earliest sunset of the year a week ago. Our nice weather won't last however as clouds and more rain are rapidly approaching. A large and intense storm is moving through the middle of the country and will spread a blizzard into parts of the Midwest. This is an intense and dangerous storm and if you are traveling into that area be advised for major delays. blizzard.png Even Chicago, where rain will fall much of the day will eventually see a turn to snow as night falls. For us, rain will move into the area later tonight and continue, heavy at times into Friday. blizzard3.pngThe commute Friday morning will be impacted by large puddles of water, but no frozen precipitation. Across ski country rain will eventually be the predominant precipitation type, although there will be some snow at the start and end of this storm. Temperatures will stay in the 30s in ski country so that melting snow will be minimal. Some of the far northern and western ski areas could see 6-12 inches of snow when you combine what falls before and after the rain.

Such a strong storm moving to our west has the potential to produce very strong southerly winds. windsnow.pngThe most likely areas to see high winds over 35 miles per hour would be the south coast. If it becomes more likely the winds will occur, a warning will be issued. The biggest impact of these strong winds would be a few scattered power outages.

Why rain not snow?
There are two reasons much of our precipitation this month has been liquid. Both reasons are connected as well. The jet stream is allowing some cold air to come into the country. Temperatures are going well below zero across the upper Midwest the next week and that air is quite typical for late in the year. The jet stream is allowing that cold air to only move so far east. Take a look at the two images below. The first one shows the storm track thus far this late fall and early winter season. As storms follow the jet stream, the cold and snow is mostly to the left of the center of the low pressure. As storms move up the Appalachians the cold and snow remains inland from the coastal plain. Contrast this with our storm track from say December and January 2009-2010 when the track was a couple of hundred miles further east and the snow and cold followed. That winter, Boston saw near record amounts of snow in the first part of the winter.

Jet stream.png
snow storm east coast track.jpg

Any snow for Christmas?
There is a chance for a few snow showers Christmas as a weak system moves through the area, however, this is not written in stone and I am less than confident this will materialize. I need to see a few more model runs of the forecast before I commit to any Christmas snow.

Christmas tree care
Speaking of Christmas this is the time to either get your tree or keep the one you have healthy for a few more weeks. Check out the video below on how to care for and select the perfect tree.

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

This blog is not written or edited by 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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