Early afternoon Update
Snowfall rates of 2 inches per hour have been occurring in some areas this afternoon. Although not blizzard conditons because we don’t have the wind, visibility will be very low with near whiteout conditions at times in heavier snow bands. Travel isn’t recommended until the final push of snow moves through later this afternoon and early evening.
The radar loop below shows the movement of the precipitation. Notice the yellow area blooming south of Boston. That is incredibility intense snowfall and will contribute to tree damage and power outages.
Try to shovel in small increments. Temperatures are going to go down well below freezing by Saturday morning so anything you don’t get up that is slushy will be rock solid.
Not much has changed this morning with the snowstorm. Snow continues to fall at various rates. In some spots, 1-2 inches of snow is falling per hour.
On the map below I included the possibility of 11 inches west of Boston. I think this is more likely based on the radar trends.
Travel will be difficult through the evening as road crews continue to clean up the area.
A steady stream of moisture continues to parallel the coastline this morning. The rain has changed to snow in many areas and is coming down at rate of at least one inch per hour.
We’re getting this stormy weather because a frontal system that crossed the area on Thursday has stalled offshore. Energy riding along this front has enhanced the precipitation.
If you’re curious why this snowstorm only ended up in the forecast a couple of days ago, it’s because it appeared the storm would stay off the coast. Slight shifts of less than 100 miles can have big impacts when precipitation goes from being forecast to fall over the ocean, where it has no impact, to over land, where it needs to be plowed. It’s much easier to forecast temperature trends than the exact placement of precipitation.
Now that the storm is underway, the next forecasting challenge is determining when will it end. It appears that the back edge of the snowfall should start pushing through Worcester by about 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., and then into Boston around sunset before clearing Cape Cod. The heaviest of the snow will be over by mid-afternoon, with the last few hours of the storm producing less accumulation.
The image below shows how the snow progresses through 7 p.m tonight.
The rain falling over much of southeastern Massachusetts this morning will change to snow before ending. Since the ground is warm and the rain will last so long, I am not expecting much in the way of accumulation.
The snow is very heavy and wet. This is a problem as it is collecting on trees and power lines, which could create some downed limbs and outages. I don’t expect a widespread issue, but it’s definitely something to keep an eye on through the morning.
Unlike nearly every storm last year, you need to be careful about the volume of snow you move in this storm. In some areas the snow will be extremely heavy, especially where the first inch was mixed with rain.
The weekend is still looking mild and dry with plenty of sunshine. Monday is also looks as though it will be a problem-free day in terms of the weather.
Our next storm possibility comes on Tuesday when another coastal storm takes shape. While there is certainly a chance of more snow, there is also a chance of rain or nothing. We won’t know details for another couple of days.
Each winter brings a different type of pattern, and unlike last year, when rain-snow lines and storm track where less questionable, those elements are much more in play this winter. This means a three- or four-day forecast can dramatically change, as we have just seen.
Arctic air will spill south into New England over the next seven days. It will arrive in pieces, with the core of the coldest air here for Valentine’s day and the start of school vacation week.
Please follow me on Twitter: @growingwisdom.