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Snow begining before sunrise and quickly becoming heavy

Posted by David Epstein  February 4, 2014 09:30 PM

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Clouds will continue to thicken overnight and snow is going to rapidly overspread the area before dawn. This is one of those situations where one the snow begins, it will quickly become heavy. I expect travel to become slow and difficult for the morning commute. While roads will be passable, the heavy rate of snowfall will create a situation where you should, if possible, stay off the roads in the morning.

9AM Snow.jpg
Here’s a look at how the snow accumulation will break down these numbers are for Boston and points west and north and are an average.



  • Between 5 AM and 9AM look for 2-4 inches to fall.

  • Between 9AM and 1PM look for 3-6 inches to fall

  • Between 1PM and 5PM look for a 1-2 inches to fall

  • After 5PM there will be some light snow falling with little or no accumulation as it finally ends between 6PM and 8PM


Across Cape Cod and the Islands most of the accumulating snow will fall before 10AM.
Wednesday storm8pm.jpg
Type of snow
The snow will be heavy and wet, however it will be heaviest and wettest south of Boston becoming increasingly lighter the further north you travel. North of the Massachusetts Turnpike the snow will be much lighter and therefore able to pile up to higher amounts. I recommend shoveling in stages through the morning and not waiting until it’s over. This will avoid the task of removing the full weight of the snow at once. If you see the snow in your area mixing with sleet, try to get out and clean-up. Sleet weights 3 times as much as snow and it can be very hard to move. This type of storm can bring on heart attacks, so take it easy out there.

Sleet and rain
Sleet is going to mix with the snow during the morning. The exact time when the sleet starts to mix is critical to final amounts. If the entire storm were sleet then the 12 inch amount would be cut to 4 inches of sleet or by one-third.

Power issues
Any time you get heavy wet snow there is possibility of power outages. While this storm won’t cause major power issues, I would have my phone fully charged prior to the storm in the morning just in case. At least if you did lose power there will snow outside to keep things cold.

Wind
There won’t be much in the way of wind with this system. Winds will come from the east at 10-20 miles per hour at the coast, certainly nothing even close to those storms which bring strong winds.

Commutes and Cancellations
There have already been some cancellations for Wednesday and more will follow. Evening events will have a better chance of still happening as much of the snow will be over. Flights in and out of Logan, LaGuardia and JFK will be impacted. Travel issues here will ripple through the entire system. Be sure to call ahead and have your cell phone fully charged if you get stuck at the airport.

Coastal issues
The good news is this storm isn’t going to create any coastal flooding.

Changes to snow amounts
As I wrote, sleet is the big unknown with this system. If the sleet starts before 9AM in Boston snow amounts would end up just under the low end of the total. If Boston stayed all snow and never mixed with any sleet, the city would be close to the higher end of my range.
I will be watching the sleet line closing all morning Wednesday. I would love to hear from you and what you are seeing as well. You can tweet me an update @growingwisdom.


Extended forecast
The weather turns calmer for a few days Thursday through Saturday with a blend of clouds and sunshine and highs in the upper 20s to near 30F. It will be nice to get outside and enjoy the new snow. The next storm threat is Sunday afternoon through Monday. There will be a big storm developing. However, the amount of snow could be near zero if the storm stays hundreds of miles off the coast or a much more significant storm if the track takes the system closer to the region. It’s still 5 or 6 days away and impossible to know at this stage.

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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