Major Storm Brings Rain, Wind, and Warm..

By Meteorologist Joe Joyce, WBZ-TV
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Joe Joyce

Joe Joyce, WBZ-TV meteorologist

A powerful winter storm is pounding Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa today.  With Blizzard warnings in 6 states this snowstorm will barrel through the Great lakes dumping well over a foot of snow on some. Green Bay to Minneapolis and the upper Peninsula of Michigan will see close to 15-18″ of snow. Chicago could see 3-6 of snow before the storm exits with strong NW winds on the backside. Dangerously cold air will follow in for the areas who are seeing the the worst of the snow. Cold night for the Patriots in Chicago. Game time temp 22. Winds NW 20-40+, Wind Chill near zero.

Luckily, nothing as severe or as extreme is going to happen here, but we are definitely in for some wild swings from Mother nature!  Roads started of a bit slick in some NW valleys this morning thanks to residue moisture left over from last nights snow showers and flurries. Temps in the Lwr-mid 20’s made untreated surfaces a bit tricky to navigate in the predawn hours.

The warm front which help to trigger that brief spell of wintry precip is now off the coast with weak high pressure providing enough subsidence and sinking air to provide ample sunshine in southern new England with a milder SW wind at the surface. This will return our temps to a more seasonal airmass of 40-45. A pleasant afternoon for most. There are more clouds in Northern New England with a cold front draped across the Canadian border. These clouds will remain in place for the rest of the day.

Clouds will be on the increase tonight. Upper level winds from the SW will transport the increasing moisture, warmth and lift so that the precipitation will be arriving in CT and RI shortly before dawn with the lowering clouds. With this estimated time of arrival, Ptype will be an issue, especially in areas where the cold will be slower to budge.  The precipitation could start as a mix of snow/sleet mainly in the northern Worcester Hills and Pioneer valley with cold air damming in place thanks to high pressure supplying the cold from the north.  The National Weather Service in Taunton has issues a Winter Weather Advisory for areas including Hartford, Springfield, Berkshires, Orange, Worcester, Fitchburg…among others. The further north you go…the longer the cold air will hold so places like the White mountains of New hampshire and the   Carrabasset Valley of Maine could see several inches of snow before any change over.

For most of us…Ptype will not be a factor at all as SE winds will push in too much warm air from aloft and off the water..so any precipitation will fall as rain as the primary low will tracks through the Ohio Valley and Northwest of us. The rain fall will have varying intensity..sometime light, sometimes heavy..but a general 1-2″ of rain is likely in the steadier downpours which will likely occur during the afternoon and evening. Upslope areas like the Berks, Worcester Hills, SW NH, and RI could see pockets of 3″ rainfall.

Winds will be racing up to 70-100 mph just above our heads about 5,000 ft above in the low level jet. The set up is not ideal for these winds to mix down to the ground but by tomorrow afternoon some of these strong winds may start to mix with a few of the heavier downpours. Strongest winds will be along the coast and in the hills which are high enough to be effected by the howling steering winds. Scattered wind damage will be possible in any gusts upto 40-50 mph. The peak wind will occur Monday afternoon and night along with the heaviest rain. The National weather service has issued a Wind Advisory for SE MA for just this reason.

The deep upper level trough will continue to provide this feed of moisture up the coast through Sunday Night and Early Monday morning. Plenty of mild air will be in place with temps in the Lwr 50’s both Sunday late and Monday.  The cold front will finally push through Monday afternoon. Winds will shift to the cool NW wind direction, so any available moisture will turn from showers to snow showers and flurries. The best chance of accumulating snow Monday will be in the NW hills. Temps will start out near 50, but cool down to 30 degrees by the end of the day.

Strong NW winds on the back side of this departing low will funnel in more Arctic air from Canada from Monday Night Through Thursday with blustery NW winds adding to the chill. With the upper low cut off right over us in this high latitude blocking pattern, we can not rule the low spinning back a few snow showers or flurries. The trend will be for more clouds than sun but some increasing sun by the end of the week with the Arctic air running out of steam for slight moderation of temperature.

And finally…For whatever it is worth the Euro is cranking a snowstorm over New England next Sunday! Woo Hoo!

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