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A break in the action for Tuesday, but more storminess midweek

Posted by David Epstein  February 3, 2014 08:27 PM

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On average one to three inches of snow fell across southern New England today with some higher totals along the south coast and into Connecticut. This is just a tease for the two upcoming storms over the next week.

Tuesday brings a nice quiet day to the area with mainly sunny skies and seasonable temperatures just above freezing. It’s a good chance to remove any of the snow from today. Both the morning and evening commutes will be precipitation free. Solar glare will be an issue heading into and out of Boston.

The forecast not only includes snow, but generally cold temperatures as well. I have to say although most meteorologists love a big snow storm. I would like nothing better than to be completely wrong with this forecast. I’ll gladly suffer the wrath of social media if the atmosphere would throw us a curve ball. Alas, it’s not going to happen, more snow and cold is almost a sure bet Wednesday morning and again late in the weekend.

Overview
A low pressure area will move rapidly from the mid-Atlantic region to just off our coastline Wednesday and developing into a strong storm. The track of this system will take it close enough to allow some warm air into coastal areas. Additionally, the cold side of the storm isn’t as cold as some of our snow events this winter. This means two things. First, the snow will be heavier and wetter than many previous storms. Second the rain/snow will be a factor over Cape Cod, parts of the south shore and the outer tip of Cape Ann. As the storms moves out to sea, any rain over the south coast will end as snow.


Timing
I expect the snow to break out just prior to sunrise Wednesday. This is horrible timing for commutes as it means snow will be on the road for the start of the work day. The snow will be heaviest from 7AM until about 1PM. During this time the bulk of the accumulation will fall. The snow will continue lighter in the afternoon and should be over completely during the evening commute. I will refine the timing on the start and end of the storm later Tuesday.

Amount of snow
The map below shows the amount of snow I am forecasting to fall. It’s very much in line with most other forecasters. Here’s what can change. First, the models have been trending colder, so those of you over Cape Cod could see the forecast amounts increase dramatically later Tuesday if the new information I get keeps things colder than currently forecast.
Wednesday storm2.png

I have a high level of confidence in at least 6 inches in Boston. It’s possible if everything came together just right (or wrong) even the city could reach 10 inches of snow. Based on everything I can see, what’s not likely is a miss or a change to rain in Boston.

Storm number 3
It turns cold and dry for Thursday through Saturday and even much of Sunday. Later Sunday and the first part of Monday another storm will threatened. This storm has the potential to be the largest of the three, but like so many nor’easters we see, the rain/snow line and track of the storm are going to be critical to forecasting amounts of snow and other precipitation. There are some models showing this storm missing our area, so let’s wait a few days before getting completely depressed about this one. I know some of you love the storms, but I think there are more of us who would like to see winter be little less active at this point.

With a stormy forecast this week, I recommend listening to latest forecasts often and keep in mind your plans are going to need to be flexible. Anytime we get into an active weather pattern, there are lots of rumors about the forecast, so listen with a grain of salt and follow me on Twitter and here for the latest updates this week.

Questions and comments
I am trying to read through the comments and suggestions as much as possible. A good idea was to put a time stamp on the accumulation maps when I make them. I will do this so you know when I have last updated.

Someone asked about millibars. Basically a millibar is a way to measure how much air is pushing down on the planet. The more air, the higher the millibars. Average pressure is 1013 millibars. A big storm would be 980 millibars and a big high pressure area would be 1050 millibars. The lower the pressure the more air is flying upward and the higher potential for a larger storm. Hurricanes and tornadoes have very low pressure.

Thanks for supporting my blog.
Dave

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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