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Snow plume continues off ocean, ending later this afternoon

Posted by David Epstein  March 8, 2013 12:45 PM

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Snow bands continue to rotate inland from the ocean. Our storm is very far to the south and east but the storm is so large that it is transporting moisture, as heavy snow into southern New England. snow bands.gifThis is going to end up being a large storm for all of us. Snowfall totals have exceeded 18 inches around Mansfield, Foxboro, and back up to Worcester. Much less snow has fallen south of Plymouth and on the Cape where the heaviest part of the storm was rain. The radar image above shows the way the snow has been coming in off the ocean. The darker green areas are snow at rates up to 1 inch per hour. I'll be updating my weather forecasts on Twitter at @growingwisdom please follow me there.
March 8th 2013 satellite.jpg

Snow is continuing to fall, but as roads are cleared it will be harder for any falling snow to stick there. However, more accumulation can certainly occur on top of the fresh snow.
So, when does this completely end? Snow will continue to fall the rest of the morning; the accumulation will slow down later this afternoon. latest radar now.gif Another 2-6 inches can accumulate. The snow has begun to wind down in southern New Hampshire, but not yet in eastern Massacusetts. Those of you northwest of Worcester will see the snow end first about 2 PM and folks on Cape Cod will see the snow or snow/rain mix end last after 4 PM

The good news is that we have a mild weekend. Now, it will take several days to melt over of a foot of snow. Those of you with highest snow totals will have to wait the longest to see the ground again, but it will melt quite fast. Sunshine will be abundant both Saturday and Sunday with highs in the 40s. The deeper snow will prevent temperatures from getting as warm as they might have with bare ground. This is because some of the energy of the sun will go to melting the snow and not heating the ground which heats in turn heats the air.

A front will cross the area Monday with some rain showers. We should see high temperatures in the lower 50s Monday further melting the snow. Tuesday, there can still be a shower and temperatures will be mild again.

Coastal flooding continues to be a big issue. Usually, the flooding lasts about 2 hours either side of high tide which was around eight this morning. Winds have turned to a slightly more northerly direction and this may help to minimize some of the damage along parts of the coast. After this storm is all over, it will be the flooding, the erosion and the big snow totals in the aforementioned areas that will be noteworthy.

Looking back as the computer models, the European model once again had the best forecast of the snowstorm. Even that model kept the rain/snow line too far west. What the model did show was the area with the highest totals; I just didn't go high enough. While I never like to miss a forecast for anyone, situations like this show the high variability of snowfall.

All storms are interesting to me. One of the ways I forecast is to try to think of what the majority of people will see and experience, not the minority. This will end up being an under forecast storm in terms of snowfall. Additionally, the timing of the heavy snow impacted the morning commute. I'll end up beating myself up way worse than those of you running to the comment section. Hindsight is 20/20 and by this afternoon it will be time to move on to the next forecasting challenge. No forecaster is going to be right all the time, it's the nature of this business. The flooding along the coast while certainly noteworthy, isn't catastrophic. There will be towns that see big damage, but this isn't the widespread damage we have seen in other storms. In the "Blizzard of 1978" 1700 homes saw damage or where destroyed.

I watched some of the coverage of this storm on the various networks and cable outlets. I find these storms have stopped being weather forecasts and have now become events. The entire language and urgency that is used with each inch of snow that piles up is more dire than the previous one. Storms are used as a backdrop to create a performance in which the goal is to find the highest total, shoot the most damaging scene and create a sense this IS somehow something different than the thousands of storms before it. Generally, with very few exceptions, they are not. As it turns out, this particular storm will end up up most noteworthy for unexpected heavy snow that has piled up to near 2 feet! As I write this blog I can hear the Carolina Wren singing as he sits on a branch just under my window. That tiny little bird is just dealing with the storm, while he starts his day, something most of us will be doing this morning. Yes it’s a big inconvenience, but this is what March brings here in New England and tomorrow we go on with our lives pretty much the same as we would on any other day.

Lastly, we spring forward this week as daylight saving time begins. Spring will come, though be it a bit slow this year.

Gardening this week
Depending on how aggressive you want to be in the garden, March does begin planting season. Fava beans, peas, lettuce, radish, carrots, and other cold weather crops can be planted by the end of the month. Inside, you can start many of your seedlings this month. I generally start my tomatoes in the first couple of weeks of March, which is about 8 weeks before they will go into the ground. Early this month is also the time to prune your blueberry bushes. In this week’s video I show you how to keep your blueberry bushes healthy and yielding big, juicy berries.

I'll be updating my weather forecasts on Twitter at @growingwisdom please follow me 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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