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Rapidly changing forecast for Saturday

Posted by David Epstein  February 14, 2013 10:05 PM

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LATE EVENING UPDATE
As I get ready to retire for the night the latest trends are keeping the majority of the snow away for the weekend. I will be giving a new forecast tomorrow, but early indications are of up to a dusting with the first burst, but more possible at night. This afternoon's blog is below.

After a wonderful afternoon with mild temperatures and wall to wall sunshine, we see changes on the horizon. First, we have one more spring-like day for Friday in which more melting will take place. Temperatures tomorrow will be in the 45°F to 50°F range. While the morning will feature a lot of clouds, we will enjoy more sunshine in the afternoon. This will help to boost those highs to March levels.There are big changes coming this weekend and I will be blogging here and updating on Twitter at @growingwisdom feel free to ask a question.

It's amazing how much of the deep snow cover has now melted. On Saturday afternoon, there was well over two feet of snow on the ground in my yard, today there is just about 14 inches. Snow disappears in a combination of ways. First, snow compacts and that lowers the depth of what is on the ground. Second, snow sublimates. Snow is a solid but can turn directly into gas without ever melting and is called sublimation. This process, is also the reason snow can seem to disappear even in very cold weather. If your ice cubes in your freezer seem to get smaller over time, you can blame sublimation. Lastly, snow melts. Temperatures have gone above freezing for several days and with the stronger February sunshine we are melting the snow much faster than you might expect this time of the year. Combine all three of these reasons and signs of our historical snowstorm are disappearing.

Just when you might think we could see bare ground by next week, another storm is on the way for the weekend. There are major differences in this weekend's forecast compared to a week ago. First, this weekend's storm will be exponentially smaller than last week. Second, unlike the confidence I had for last week's storm this weekend the models are not in good agreement with how the situation will evolve. Finally, temperatures will be mild enough during part of the event that rain can be an issue.
The basic scenario is that a storm is going to develop as the colder arctic air moves in the region Saturday. The exact position and strength of the storm is critical to how much if any accumulating snow we receive. A difference of 50 miles or a few hours in the storms development will be the difference between rain and snow showers or accumulating snow. The best chance for a plowable storm will be the Merrimack Valley and into New Hampshire and Maine. This would occur Saturday night.

Right now, I expect snow and rain during the day Saturday with a burst of snow after dark. If we were going to get accumulating snow, it would happen in that burst Saturday evening. Tomorrow morning I will update the forecast in much greater specifics. While this may seem frustrating to not know about Saturday in more detail, I just feel with the computer models are forecasting such different scenarios, it wouldn't be prudent to give amounts before I see another set of data later this evening.

I'd love to hear from you. Please find me on Twitter at @growingwisdom and send me a question.


Gardening this week
This week I have a video on one of the easiest plants you can grow. The jade plant is one of those houseplants that is almost foolproof. Spend a few minutes learning more about this minimal care plant.

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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