A Gorilla At Sea

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Chapter 1 of the weekend snowfall occurred early today with most areas west of the I-95 Boston to Providence corridor receiving amounts from just under an inch to just under 3 inches. Are you ready to read Chapter 2? The birth of an eventual powerful ocean storm is taking place just off the North Carolina coast this evening. Streaking out north-northeastward from the center of this system is an elongated strip of precipitation extending right up into southeastern New England. There is some heavier rain and snow just off the Mid-Atlantic/NJ coast. Presently, it appears that some of this may be on its way to southeastern New England as this storm intensifies into a gorilla at sea! Like the blizzard, the stakes are very high with this storm but there are gargantuan differences. The support for rapid development rushes out over the ocean so the dynamics are limited for our region unlike last weekend’s blizzard. With that said, some spiral bands of heavier snow should eventually swirl and pivot around the bombing circulation offshore very late tonight and through tomorrow morning. As always, the precise path of the evolving monster is paramount to determining the magnitude of the hit here in our area. As the pressure gradient madly tightens, the wind will be ramping up again late tonight to 15-30 mph then up to 20-45 mph tomorrow. Some gusts to 55 mph are possible on Cape Cod prompting the National Weather Service to hoist a HIGH WIND WARNING down there. Parts of the rest of the region just have a WIND ADVISORY. With the current so-called deformation zone aiding in this evening’s snowfall and the eventual moisture to advect into the area from the southwest, my projected potential new snowfall by 7AM Sunday reveals the inch line from southwestern ME to southeastern NH to western Worcester County to central CT. The 2-inch line by 7AM runs from Rockport to Boston to eastern CT. Meantime, by 7AM, there is only a coating up to a half-inch or so east of the Cape Cod Canal. The banding rotating in from the beast at sea is likely to be most pronounced from 7AM to noon so I expect the totals to show the 1-inch line from Plymouth, NH to Concord to just east of Keene to Amherst, MA to Hartford, CT. The 3-inch line will run from near Portsmouth to near Lawrence to just southeast of Worcester to southeastern CT. The 5-inch line will be near a Marshfield to New Bedford corridor with more than 6″ from the canal across all of Cape Cod. Beyond noon, I expect nothing more than an additional half-inch to inch near Boston southward except up to 2 or more inches on Cape Cod. The snow will taper off to flurries from northwest to southeast across the region from late morning through the afternoon with the final flakes departing Cape Cod by late afternoon. Overnight, the snow will be rather wet over southeastern MA with a gradual transition to a lower density, fluffier snow as colder air is drawn into the region from the strengthening circulation. Temperatures will drop to 25-30 by dawn and barely budge a degree or so all day tomorrow. Untreated roads should eventually become slippery late as the night progresses especially in the early morning hours. Visibility will become poor where bands of heavier snow set up over southeastern MA and the wind gusts start drifting and blowing the snow. Some scattered power outages cannot be ruled out but there will be no repeat of the widespread problems that occurred mainly south of Boston in last weekend’s blizzard. Additionally, Sunday’s high tides of 4AM and 4:30PM are scheduled to be 2-3 feet lower than last weekend’s with less storm surge. It will be more of a north to northwesterly offshore wind for the afternoon tide tomorrow. Any new incoming data may result in a revision of this synopsis but I am not anticipating a large twist in the plot at this time.

Going forward, with this vicious storm slated to clobber Nova Scotia and the rest of the Canadian Maritimes, the wind will remain gusty through Monday. That day will commence with temperatures in the range of 14-18 with a max near 32 degrees or so in the afternoon under a deep blue sky with 100% of the possible sunshine in most of the region. The next weather maker will be approaching from the Great Lakes so the sky will cloud cover Tuesday morning with some rain showers to follow in the afternoon as a southerly breeze pulls up milder air from the southwest. Over the northern mountains, it will be sufficiently cold for a few inches of snow. After the main storm passes to the north and a weak secondary passes through late Tuesday, gusty winds will return on Wednesday with a mix of sunshine and passing clouds. There will be another shot of cold air in from Canada so anticipate highs in the lower possibly middle 30s again. Sunny and windy weather will last on Thursday as a ridge of high pressure moves toward the region from the Midwest. The system after is currently progged to weaken as it loses its support upon reaching us so just a bit of rain south and snow up north is presently predicted for next weekend.

For the skiers, shredders and snowmobilers, conditions are good on the trails thanks to the widespread snow of last weekend and a few small hits during the past week up north. Cold nights have enabled the resorts to make more snow in recent days but NO big snowstorms are foreseen at this time. The NH and ME mountains will receive an inch or two tomorrow and all of the northern mountains should receive a few inches of snow late Tuesday into early Wednesday. Next weekend’s storm may release a few more inches of snow up there as well with bigger storms possible the final week of February. Many of the northern resorts did not receive the huge snows from last weekend’s storm. Consequently, sources tell me that some of the natural trails and glades have thin cover or are closed. Always be prepared for changing conditions but, overall, I think that you will be pleased with what you find at your favorite resort.  Nightly grooming creates the best surfaces in the mornings.Vacation week ahead means lots of company on the slopes and trails. Please be courteous and cautious and take a few runs for me. I’ll be up heading for my favorite spot, Bretton Woods, for both alpine and nordic skiing and snow shoeing soon!

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