A very intense but quick hitting area of snow is still moving through much of the area and will end after midnight. The map above shows what the situtation was like as we headed towards midnight. Some towns have seen snowfall rates of 1 to 2" of snow per hour and there has been thunder with the snow across southeastern Massachusetts this evening as the most intense part of the storm passes overhead. This storm reminds me a bit of that December 13th storm back in 2007 when everyone got let out of work at noon. That day, the snow came in hard and fast and was done 8 hours later, but the traffic was the worst I have ever seen. By 2 AM the heaviest snow will be long over and tomorrow skies will clear leaving a fresh coat of white for the sunshine to blind all of us. The period of rain is not changing back to snow so areas that haven't seen much snow will still see a couple of inches. The rain on the Cape this evening will also change to snow as the night progresses and even there a coating to a couple of inches could fall. I'll continue to update the forecast on Twitter at @growingwisdom
The radar has been showing the intensity and movement of the storm all evening. What I am noticing is how strong the bands are inside the main area. This is why the snow will come down so hard so fast this evening. Click on this image which shows how much snow falls in a three hour period just about 7PM, it's quite impressive. Those are not totals, just how much we get in that intense window.As far as travel, I don't advise driving around tonight unless you must. It's not that the storm is that huge, but it will snow so hard during the middle of the evening that roads will be difficult to travel. So if you don't have to go out, save the dinner, the movie, the walk in the mall for another night.
I am expecting a general 6 inch snowfall across the region. Some areas already at 6" could see 8-10" before this winds down. There will be less than that to the far northwest of Boston and more to the southwest. Cape Cod and the south shore are the trickiest forecast areas and the snow amounts will change significantly depending on where you are along the Route 3 and Route 6 corridor. West of the canal will see more snow, and further east will see less. It appears the rain will hold for much of the storm on the Cape so amounts will be minimal. I like the image below that really shows the lack of snow on the Cape and the bulls eye of snow southwest of Boston.
The weather service puts out a map for how much snow they think will fall as well. I agree with these numbers and they match up with most every forecaster at this point. The amounts inside about 5-10 miles of the coast on the south shore and outer Cape Ann are probably a bit high because of the rain that has mixed in with the snow.
Where is the storm?
Our storm is now moving off the Massachusetts coast and will move northeast east of Maine later tonight. Because the storm is moving so quickly this will limit our area from receiving a major snowstorm. The storm has a lot of moisture will it, but it won't hang around long enough to have a big impact. Winds will be a factor tonight but not too strong and not nearly as intense as the last storm.
Fluffy or heavy?
This won't be a heavy wet pasty snow inland. However, at the coast, including Boston the snow will be wetter and heavier as it begins and tend to dry out as it ends. As you move southward to Cape Cod, the snow will have even more water content and will be quite slushy to start but even there the snow will end lighter as it turns colder.
2013 will come in under clear skies and typical cold for early January. There won't be any arctic blasts nor will the ice sculptures melt. I expect temperatures to be around 32F in the afternoon, 30F at 6pm and 25F at midnight.
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