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Dangerous wind chill readings as snow ends, one more flooding high tide for coast

Posted by David Epstein  January 3, 2014 09:13 AM

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The back edge of the snow continues to press eastward. The image below is as of 8:00AM and you can see much of eastern Massachusetts is still experiencing some accumulating snow. 8am.jpgThe snow is basically over, but there are still snow showers/light snow around. You will likely still see some snow in the air as late as 12PM in the city, but it won't be accumulating and the sun will be able to be seen through the clouds. I have noted the areas of heaviest snow bands on this radar image. Notice the green color, that's the indication of heavy snow on a this radar.
radar 9am.jpg

The storm has produced over two feet of snow across parts of Essex County where bands of ocean effect snow gave those areas a jump start of 10 or more inches before the main part of the storm even arrived. Logan Airport has seen just shy of 15 inches of new snow since this storm began. Boxford was one of the hardest hit areas with over 2 feet! ocean effect.jpg The snow was caused by the identical meteorological phenomena that bring big snows to Buffalo and Watertown, New York. As the bitter air rushed over the ocean water it picked up moisture and dumped it on a narrow area of Essex County.

You will no doubt want to know when this is over. The accumulating snow will end first, then there will be snow in the air a bit longer, maybe an hour or two after that. You could even see some breaks of sunshine with some flakes still falling. The map below gives approximate times for the snow to end. I’ll be updating on Twitter @growingwisdom all morning as the back edge of the snow progresses eastward.
snow end time.jpg
snowfall 5.jpg
The cold is incredible. When I started blogging this morning it was 2 above in Boston, just three degrees shy of the January record for today. It's now a balmy 5. I don’t use the words bitter, frigid, or dangerous very much when it comes to cold, but today they are all appropriate. This kind of cold and wind will impact not only people, but pets and even some plants. This spring, I suspect some winter damage to some of our gardens to be evident. Spring is 75 days away, so I’ll think more about it later.

If you are shoveling, snow blowing, be sure to take breaks. It will only take a short period of time for your skin to get frostbite. The chart below gives you an idea how quickly damage to your finger and nose could occur if you are outside. windchill1.gif Wind chills this morning are in the 15-20 below range. This is Canada cold. Wind chills remain below zero all day, staying in the 5 to 15 below range until sunset.

There is one more high tide cycle for the coast and there will be minor or moderate coastal damage. The chart below shows which harbors are susceptible to the high tide. There hasn’t been any structural damage thus far from the storm, but this next high tide could do some of that type of damage. That type of damage isn’t going to be widespread if it did occur at all.
Coastal flood warnings.jpg

The cold relaxes tomorrow afternoons temperatures rise over 25 degrees. When you get up tomorrow, it will be below zero in most areas, including Boston. Milder air will push the arctic air away and I think you will be surprised how warm mid-20s feels after today and tomorrow morning.

Our next storm is a warmer one with rain. Temperatures by Sunday will reach well into the 30s to lower 40s and rain moves in by nightfall. The rain continues Monday with highs in the 40s, there will be significant melting, but not 2 feet of it for those of you with the super big accumulations.

Another cold blast returns for Tuesday, but not as cold as this one. Highs on Tuesday will be only in the single numbers to lower teens, certainly bitter again, but not quite as extreme as today.

Indoor Flowers You Can Grow Easily
Indoor flowers are a great way to chase away some of those winter doldrums. Check out this week's video on these wonderful indoor bulbs known as amaryllis.

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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