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Weekend storm to bring heavy rain and snow

Posted by David Epstein  February 20, 2013 10:10 PM

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All day people asked me how much snow I thought we would get this weekend. My answer was that there is potential for a heavy snowfall, but there is also the chance that a significant portion of the storm will fall as rain. As you know, we use computer models to help us make the forecast and the models, as usual, are providing conflicting information. A recent trend has been to have the storm be stronger and come further north. If this trend continues warm air from the ocean will push inland and coastal areas will be spared the heavy amounts of snow. The other challenge with this storm will be how much coastal flooding occurs. Several new pieces of information will be arriving throughout the night and I will have an important update in the morning.

I'll be updating the forecast all on Twitter at @growingwisdom please send me your reports there.

I don't see any particularly cold air on the horizon, although tomorrow will be chilly with highs only in the lower 30s. We are now several weeks beyond the coldest part of winter and temperatures would typically be around 40°F, not the lower 30s. Averages are just made up of extremes around here, so one year it's colder than the average and then a year later it's warmer. Speaking of averages, we are now running above normal for snowfall across nearly all of New England. snow fall per decade.png This has been typical for the past decade. Even when you factor in last winter, snowfall in nearly all of New England has been running about 8-10% above the averages of the past 100 years. (click on chart) If we don’t have another flake of snow this winter (which I don't expect) the 40.8 inches of snow that have fallen in Boston and the 67.5 inches in Worcester would make this winter just about normal in terms of snowfall. Interestingly, we seem to be in a snowy period analogous to the 1960s, a time of many coastal storms and hurricanes.

Friday is my pick of the next few days with abundant sunshine and the temperature trying to reach the lower 40s in the afternoon. It will likely remain in the upper 30s across the border towns of New Hampshire. Light winds and February sun will help it to feel quite comfortable in the afternoon. If you’ll be skiing, here’s a friendly reminder to use some sunscreen.

The weekend forecast remains a bit of a challenge. For the third weekend in a row, I will have a storm to forecast and all of us will be impacted. A storm will move northward from the Gulf of Mexico while another storm over the Great Lakes moves east. The interaction of these two storms and their exact tracts are going to be critical to both precipitation amounts and type. Early thinking is for a plowable snow event over northern and central New England, but still a big question mark along the coast. It's only Wednesday and, with 4 more days until the storm hits, I just want to make folks are aware that some plans will likely be impacted this weekend, especially Sunday. The map below is for Sunday morning and shows a strong coastal storm just offshore. Since many will be returning from school vacation week, I realize the timing on any snow is critical, so please stay tuned.
Coastal Feb 24th.png

Gardening this week
With another storm on the horizon for the weekend you might feel like spring is still very far away. The reality is that in just a few weeks, many of you will be able to get into your gardens and start growing for another year. Earlier this month I went to New England Grows which is a trade show for those who work in the industry. Although not open to the general public, in this week's video I share some of the latest trends and newest plants for 2013.

I'll be updating the forecast all day on Twitter at @growingwisdom please send me your reports there.

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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