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Sleet, rain and snow rapidly ending this morning.

Posted by David Epstein  December 15, 2013 05:00 AM

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Milde air has spread west to about the Route 495 belt. East of that line, sleet and freezing rain are falling. However, snow continues to pile up across parts of northern Worcester and Middlesex Counties. The last batch of precipitation is moving through the area now and will exit the entire state within an hour or two of sunrise.

I'll be updating the snow forecast as it changes on Twitter at @growingwisdom Please follow me there. Feel free to comment or ask questions too.

There is a tremendous contrast in temperature from Boston west to Worcester as I write this on either side of something called a coastal front. The front divides marine air off the ocean from arctic air inland. The temperatures along the coast have risen to near 32F and even above while it's in the teens inland. The contrast in temperature is helping lift the moisture up high into the atmosphere where it is producing billions of snowflakes and then falling back to earth. The western side of a coastal front is where the heaviest snow will ultimately fall.
2 am coastal front.png
The front will move a bit further west, but then start to return eastward later this morning. The mildest air is over Cape Cod where readings are well into the 40s.
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Snowfall rates are going to increase dramatically over the next several hours and at times, between now and just before any change to rain, the snow could fall at 1 or 2 inches per hour. I would not advise traveling during this time unless you need to be out.
The snow will be light in weight inland, but begin to become wetter and heavier along the coast during the night. Once it mixes with sleet and rain, the snow will be even more difficult to move around.

I expect the entire system to quickly exit the area between 6 and 8AM north to south. After that time there could be a quick rain shower or snow shower, but the bulk of the storm will be over.

There is a high wind warning for Cape Cod where winds are going to increase and gust up to 50 miles per hour. Speeds such as this can cause scattered power outages, but nothing widespread. The good news is there will not be an extended period of icing.
I am going to leave the snowfall map as I drew it this morning. While there might be a few areas that don?t meet what I expected then, I still feel good about it. Logan Airport will likely be on the lower end of the range they are in (4-7 inches). Cohasset, Situate and Marshfield are right on the edge of the 1 to 3 inch and 4-7 inch zone so you can likely expect around the 3 or 4 inch amounts before the changeover.
Snow map estimate Sunday.png

The map below is based on one computer model and closely resembles the overall forecast. Notice the tight gradient from Boston west, this is why amounts are very difficult to pin down within 25 miles of the coastline.

latest model.jpg
The bulk of the storm is over around sunrise with lingering lighter precipitation until mid-morning. Temperatures will be quite interesting tomorrow. Boston should be near or above 40F in the morning and then fall back through the 30s during the morning and 20s by dark. This means any slush you don?t clear away is going to be with you for the entire week, therefore I recommend cleaning up as quickly as possible in the morning.

Weekend garden tip
The video is from a few years back, but the tips on caring for a living Christmas tree are the same. Enjoy.

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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