Up until now, we have had it relatively easy compared to the rest of the country – Nearly 70% of the United States is currently covered by snow. From Minnesota to Texas and over to the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic, winter has come early and often this year with several bouts of snow and ice. We have escaped with just a few light, low impact winter storms (if you can even call them storms), but our time may be coming.
It is still just a bit too early to lock in the forecast for this weekend. In fact, the main ingredients for this potential storm are currently scattered all over the place. First, the upper level energy for this storm (the catalyst) is sitting some 4,000 miles from Boston, off the Alaska coastline! The moisture for this storm at lower levels is a mere 3,000 miles away, off the Baja Coast in the mild waters of the Pacific Ocean. So you can see how meteorologists might be just a bit hesitant to predict a rain/snow line or a snowfall total for Boston. As computer modeling goes, there are literally about a trillion things that can go wrong in the next 24-48 hours as these ingredients attempt to come together.
However, having said that, most of our trusty weather models have actually been very consistent over the last several days continually showing a significant event coming together for New England this weekend.
This is certainly hard to ignore and has us feeling a bit more confident than usual given the time frame and circumstances. There is no doubt, confidence is growing by the hour that New England will be affected by a significant winter storm this weekend.
While it would be irresponsible to predict local snowfall amounts, precipitation types and an exact timeline, at this point we can give some details on what we might expect should the current forecast hold.
Snow could begin as early as Saturday morning…however whatever falls during the day on Saturday would just be an appetizer, well ahead of the main course which looks to arrive Saturday night and Sunday morning.
Depending upon the track, there will likely be some mixing with ice and rain near the coastline. Everyone would start as snow, no doubt about that, there is an abundance of cold air…but if the storm is strong enough and tracks close to our coastline, it would draw in some milder air from the Atlantic and change the snow to ice and rain in parts of Eastern and Southeastern Massachusetts.
Snow amounts *COULD* be significant. There is certainly potential for well over 6” of snow, especially inland and at this point we can’t rule out a foot of snow.
I don’t foresee any major coastal issues, but given the right track, the winds could become gusty early Sunday and create some issues with power outages or downed limbs.
This is a very busy weekend for most, given a shorter holiday season than usual, I am sure there are still lots of folks who need to grab a tree, do some shopping, or perhaps have a Holiday party planned…so at this point I would urge that you stay tuned to updated forecasts.
There is still a long way to go with the storm but the potential is there for our first major winter storm of the season.
You can follow Terry on Twitter at @TerryWBZ.