Weather

Ocean storm will miss most of Southern New England

Marginal snowfall events can be just as difficult to forecast as the big ones. When southern New England is right on the edge of an upcoming ocean storm, the difference between a few flakes and an inch or two becomes the benchmark to forecast. Slight shifts in the precipitation field mean a difference in some snow or none at all.

The forecast trend with this storm has been for the snow to have a smaller, not larger, impact on Southern New England. In other words, I think this continues to be a non-event or nuisance one for most of the area and a light to moderate type over Cape Cod and the Islands.

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The greatest chance of snow appears to be Friday afternoon through early Saturday morning. Across the North Shore and into Boston, the northeast wind off the water may help create some ocean-effect snows. It’s the type of event where snow is in the air blowing around. It may coat the ground or even bring an inch, but nothing greater.

Closer to the center of the storm, over Cape Cod and the Islands, the stakes are somewhat higher. Since it’s more likely there will be at least some snow, the question becomes whether it’s a 2-inch event or a 4-inch one. The snow will be lighter near the canal than the elbow, which sticks out closer to the center of the storm.

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Over southeastern Massachusetts, the snow will be steadier and therefore can accumulate more. If we use 2 inches as the plowable threshold, then perhaps a few of those areas may need to plow, but certainly the majority won’t.

 

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There are some other aspects to the storm besides the snow. Extreme winds over southeastern Massachusetts may gust strong enough to bring down a few tree limbs, and the wave action during the time of high tide might bring some splash-over or minor coastal flooding. Neither of these issues will warrant any action or become major player.

The weekend begins a warming trend with highs around 40 by Sunday. You can expect to add nearly 10 degrees to those readings by Monday and another 15 by Wednesday when it will be in the mid-60s. If winter isn’t over, it’s pretty darn close.

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You can follow my forecast on Twitter @growingwisdom

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