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Some accumulating snow likely this weekend

Posted by David Epstein  February 15, 2013 10:20 PM

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A winter storm watch in effect for coastal Plymouth county and Cape Cod as well as Nantucket and the Vineyard. The watch has been put in place for the potential for heavier amounts of snow late Saturday night and Sunday. wsw.pngAs far as the forecast, I wrote yesterday the details of the weather are quite tricky during this time period. If you don't like the forecast you see, just flip to a different station, because the differences in snow amounts being forecast are going to be large.I'll updating the latest information on the weekend storm as I get it on Twitter at @growingwisdom you can send me a question there.

A cold front will push through the area tonight and usher in colder, but not bitter air. By morning most areas will see temperature readings in the upper 20s. Saturday look for a period of snow and/or snow and rain. There will be some accumulation of the snow especially away from the coast. A few areas can see up to 2 inches during the day, but this not the main storm. Weekend storm situation.png Notice on this map there is a stationary front to our east. (blue and red). That is a front that will cross the area tonight and tomorrow and then stop. That front is why I am forecasting snow showers tomorrow with a trend towards the rain changing to snow before it ends at the coast. Any snow that occurs during this time will not amount to more than an inch or two. If the front kept moving, that would be the end of our forecasting dilemma.

The problem is this front bringing the colder air to the region will not make it very far offshore. This means that the contrast between the mild air and cold air will also sit just off our coast tomorrow night. That contrast is the perfect breeding ground for a new storm.Weekend storm.png For a storm to grow large it needs a good temperature contrast combined with a strong jet stream. The strongest winds in part of this jet stream will be blowing at speeds over 170 knots off the east coast Saturday night and Sunday. You can see just how strong the winds are forecast to be in this map. jet stream.png
I am sure that when the strong jet stream combines with the temperature contrast, a large storm will develop just to our east Saturday night and Sunday. What is still questionable is close the storm comes and how much snow this will bring to the region. This afternoon our two main models are still forecasting vastly different solutions for Saturday night and Sunday. The American model is giving Boston a full-fledged snowstorm with 6 to 12 inches of wind driven snow. The European model is giving Boston a glancing blow with a dusting to a couple of inches of snow. snow base.png Most forecasters are just averaging the different models and forecasting several inches of snow for the east and less than that west of 495. I expect Boston and surrounding areas will see closer to what the European model is predicting and get 1 to 3 inches of snow Saturday night and the first part of Sunday with up to 4 inches over the outer parts of Cape Cod and extreme eastern Massachusetts. As you get west of Worcester look for little or no snow as the storm will be too far away. This is still a fluid situation and the forecast snow amounts can change dramatically as we get more information. A worse case scenario would be a moderate storm of 8 to 12 inches of snow. On the other end of the spectrum the entire system could just leave a dusting. That is why you are hearing so many different forecasts from so many different media outlets. As it stands now, I would plan on slippery travel later Saturday night and early Sunday and as the situation unfolds I will update the blog and of course give new "tweets" via Twitter.
accumulation.png
Any accumulating snow would occur overnight Saturday into Sunday morning. By Sunday afternoon windy and colder air will be streaming into the area. Monday will be sunny, blustery and chilly with highs remaining under freezing for most of the area. Another weather system will impact the area Tuesday with rain at the coast and some snow inland, but that is quite far away at this point.

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.
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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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