Tracking A Major Winter Storm

By Meteorologist Joe Joyce, WBZ-TV

What a week it has been! What a Christmas present this could become for Snowstorm lovers! The Back and forth has been maddening. Glad to see the models finally starting to catch on and handle the energy involved in this pattern. A concern was how , when and where the northern stream and southern stream would merge. Things seem to be falling in place not for the pattern to develop a major winter storm for the Northeast.  Check out the upper low at 500 tomorrow morning.

gfs 500 036l Tracking A Major Winter Storm

The streams have merged. The upper low has shifted west from earlier runs and is in a perfect place for the storm to explode once it reaches the coast and be directed towards New England.

Watching the 850 temps for warm air advection into the storm. Depending on the eventual track ..There could be some boundary layer issues over the Cape and Islands with a change to rain. The snow rain line may try to push up to Plymouth..but that is as far north as it is going to get. There will be a coastal front which will become a convergence zone for enhanced snowfall which I think will set up south of Boston. Look for the -4 to -8 C lines on the 850 map. That is where we will see the best snow growth with ratios of 15 to 1.

850t f054 bg na Tracking A Major Winter Storm

We are always trying to find out where the band of heavy snow is going to occur….which I believe will be just on the other side of the coastal front…likely from the Attleboro /Taunton area to Boston. Snowfall will be coming down at 2″ an hour at times and I fully expect blizzard conditions to develop as winds really start to howl with this deepening storm south of Boston.

The Heaviest snow band tends to occur about 90 to 120 nautical miles to the NNW of the 850 mb low. What does it look like to you?

8502 Tracking A Major Winter Storm

That patterns looks like Eastern MA is going to be crushed with heavy snow overnight Monday. I will be live in Scituate Monday morning at 4:30. That could be pretty intense huh?

How much snow are we expecting? This storm is loaded with moisture. Significant overrunning will take place . Here is the QPF from the 00Z GFS. My apologies if some of this is hard to see. Printing over 1.5″ of liquid Boston south. My concern this morning is some of my numbers could be underdone…but there is time to fine tune. There is the potential for 12-18″ of snow if this storm verifies the way it looks this morning. Where there is colder air inland away from the coast…there will be better snow ratios…so despite less moiture..snow will continue to pile up…that is why I am expecting a foot of snow from Worcester to Manchester NH. The potential for a foot even near Plymouth…with amounts totaling over 1 foot in between.

gfs p60 072l Tracking A Major Winter Storm

The Winds are another major part of this storm. This storm is going to bomb south of New England as energy rounds the base of the trough and shoots off the coast. Howling winds at 850 to 70-80 kts will have a chance of mixing all the way down to the ground. Sunday Night into Monday morning will be the peak of the wind at the coast where there is the potential for wind damage and power outages. Check out the surface winds around Sunrise Monday out of the east. Incredible.

gfs 3 2010122506 f48 wspd 10 m above ground Tracking A Major Winter Storm

Winds will be gusting easily over 50. There is the potential for even a few hurricane force wind gusts. This could get really nasty. Onshore winds with high tide around 3:30 AM during the peak of the storm could mean minor to moderate coastal flooding for eastern facing beaches. Expect full whiteouts. Travel should be avoided Sunday night through much of Monday. This has the potential to be a major possibly historic winter storm…Certainly there will be more adjustments to track, snow totals, ect in the coming hours. I am here for the rest of the day. Barry “The Legend” Burbank takes the wheel tomorrow! Todd Gutner Tomorrow Night. See you in Scituate! Let’s hope this time the forecast sticks. Merry Christmas to everyone. Thank you so much for your interest in weather and WBZ news. We so appreciate your support and value your viewership and input in tracking these storms!

  • Mazza

    My plow is ready

    • itoldyouso

      Models have gone nuts , predicting a 960 mb low near the benchmark , blizzard watches or warnings will be later tonight

  • JMA

    Somethings to keep in mind – The local mets have a forecast area of vastly different regions. The Cape and Islands all the way out to Southeastern Vermont and the eastern part of the CT River Valley of Massachusetts. So what may be a giant storm for some may not be so big for others.

    There are somethings with the modeling of this storm I am not comfortable with. Look at the 00z NAM MOS for ORH. It has dew points of in the mid teens yet wants to dump LE precip of 15” that seems suspect to me. The dew points actually drop when the most precip is supposed to falling. Despite this dry air the NAM’s snow tool is only converting it to 7-9” of snow. Then highest POP for a 6 hour period is 80. Other times during the storm it is in the 55-60 range. All this tells me the models are still have significant problems ingesting the data and processing it to a logical conclusion.

    I believe within 24hrs the models will start to run home to mama or closer to their original solutions. My thoughts have not changed much. A more significant storm south and east of Boston with a moderate to heavy snowfall. A moderate snowfall west of 128 to 495. ORH in the light-moderate category and lighter amounts with sharp cutoff west of there.

    This may not be the sexy solution, but I believe it is the more prudent one.

    Merry Christmas to all. Even all those one here who exist multiple times….

    • Longshot

      JMA, I am with you. Models may trend east a little. I see decent snowfall but not some dumpster.

      • Topkatt88

        If dumpsters start falling from the sky, we’re in trouble. ;-)

  • leo

    Good luck Monday morning in Scituate Joe! Going to be incredible there at that time!

    • mack

      Lots of buildup and excitement and then it will be a huge letdown to all.

  • Scott

    there are going to be some serious drifts from this storm

  • Lawrencewx

    Merry Christmas JJ! Thanks for the present…Blizzard conditions are on tap!!

  • leo

    I see this as almost a 24 hr storm along the coastFirst flake to last flake. How are you seeing this Scott and others?

  • Scott

    there is a chance for blizzard warnings to be issued by tomorrow morning. hopefully the afternoon runs dont change

  • leo

    Keep mix away from East Bridgewater

  • josh081290

    cant wait for the 12z euro to come out. should be interesting!

  • crashralph

    If this storm does explode as much as it could, how doesnt it cutt itself off from the progressive flow as it becomes vertically stacked???? Ideas?

    • Topkatt88

      No stacking & stalling this time. Not the right synoptic setup.

  • WeatherWizard

    Thanks Joe and Merry Christmas.

  • Longshot

    My forecast.

    350+ blog comments by day’s end.

  • Hadi

    Thanks Joe!! Merry XMas.

    Looks like I will be inn the thick of it in Maine as well.

  • Tim

    I’d echo ralph’s question. At that strength, does it become a much slower moving system? Are there any indications that it is trending less progressive than earlier thought? Or will it be quick and intense. it would be good to know for travel later monday

  • leo

    Im no expert but it doesnt look very progressive to me anymore. Can somebody else with more experience comment onTims question.

  • Scott
  • Old Salty

    Excellent Blog Joe!!! Thank you!

    Merry Christmas to all bloggers!!!

    Looks like a biggie!!!

  • mike

    Joe Joyce come on now!! this will be a good foot of snow ,nothing we havent seen before.your blog is overdone just like your noon report yesterday. historic? i dont think so. i know its xmas but chill out pal!!!

    • Chillax

      Mike, you relax…JJ is merely reporting what could be a whopper…..when you have the potential for over 15 inches with winds 50-60, that is a major storm. So instead of mocking someone that knows a million times more about weather than you, maybe you should just focus on opening your Xmas gifts or something, instead of mocking JJ who is delivering great updates for the public.

      • marky

        JJ does NOT know that much more about the weather. NFW

      • coach23

        Still feel we are not going to get a storm of that intensity. Not saying it isn’t gonna snow, but I do not think it will live up to the hype IMO.

    • jack

      12″ snow and 50mph winds is a BIG deal!!! And we have not had a storm like this in years.

      • shotime

        Jack, what happened to Translation = NO storm!!
        Looks like Scott and I did get it!

      • jack

        I said I was wrong yesterday. As i’m shure you saw!!

      • shotime

        No Jack, I sure didn’t see that comment yesterday but thanks for telling me.

      • jack

        Yea, whatever.

      • Topkatt88

        Some of us have. There have been a couple storms like this one in recent history in eastern New England.

      • Ryan In CT

        I will never forget shoveling 28″ of heavy wet snow on April 1st, 1996 in Plainville, MA.

      • philip

        I am sure that you mean April 1st, “1997”.

      • jack

        What would you compare it to topkatt? Been plowing 30 year beeen in every storm.

      • Topkatt88

        The first storm that comes to mind is March 29 1984, if it lives up to potential.

      • Keith Hingham

        That was interesting storm. I was living in South Boston at the time and working down on Congress Street at Russia Wharf. A lot of wind and heavy wet snow fell that day. IIRC the Tea Party ship broke away from its mooring and also right next to that was a very large houseboat that had been converted into office space and was anchored to Russia Wharf. Well sometime during the day or night that house boat partially sank. Wild Storm.

      • Topkatt88

        There were alot of cloud-to-ground lightning strikes at the height of that snowstorm (3-29-1984).

      • Bruce Reppucci

        Why does a storm I got caught in back in Feb 1969 never get any press, prior to the Blizzard of 78 it was huge??

      • Keith Hingham

        I remember that storm too. I was 14 and living in Holbrook at the time…..

      • Topkatt88

        There were 4 storms of note that month Bruce, but the 100 hour storm was probably the most impressive. I don’t remember it. I wasn’t even 2 years old. ;-)

      • Keith Hingham

        That will be something to watch for tomorrow night and Monday. That and the heavy wet snow. I’ve got all sorts of antennas for my radio hobby including a large 50×130 wire loop antenna that I will try to keep the snow off of.

      • john

        This thing has flipped-flopped every day. What’s the chance of waking tomorrow morning and it’s OTS?

      • Topkatt88

        It happened in Jan & again Feb 1987. It happened other times. Though it’s not likely, it’s still not out of the question.

      • john

        Down here in Plymouth and that after-Christmas storm in ’04 was a beast. Lost power for 36hrs. Not looking forward to a repeat…

  • southshoretom

    ocean waves were already at about 6 ft yesterday from the consistent N wind and monday’s storm. At 1pm tide yesterday, there was a light amount of seawater running into the Brant Rock area of Marshfield from waves hitting the sea wall.

  • Old Salty

    Here is a snowfall map from 06Z NAM data:

    We shall see what verifies.

    • southshoretom

      thanks Old Salty. I like its tight snowfall gradient near the coast. I think thats going to happen. Along the immediate coastline (couple of miles), anytime the precip lightens in intensity, I think it will mix with or change to rain. When it comes down moderate to heavy, it will come down as snow.

  • Cat966G

    I think i will be pushing many inches of snow in my loader tommorow night. I hope i see some lighting like i have with past storms

  • southshoretom

    if most of New England ends up with a decent snowcover after this storm, then I’m thinking that the moderation in temps due to follow will be tempered some, especially given the low sun angle and long nights.

  • mike

    chillax you are a complete fool ,if your sending negative comments my way be ready for a reaction.

  • Eric

    Question, like with most nor’easters in the fall or spring where sne gets mostly rain and some towns get those isolated 3 or 4 maybe 5 inch totals. Can we expect to see that with storm ? Obviously with snow instead of rain, we would be talking 2 feet in some towns ! Where abouts could you see this happening ?

    • southshoretom


      snow does fall in heavier bands…..I’m sure you may have seen this on radars before during a winter storm….so, yes…..some areas are likely to have amounts higher than most. However, its not usually a case where one town gets 25 in of snow and everyone else gets 12 in of snow. Its more likely to be a differential of a few inches.

  • leo

    GFS right on track,{hr 30} maybe slightly to right not much

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