Update 2:00p.m.: The latest model data suggests a very slight but important shift to the east with the storm on Sunday morning. This would not likely prevent us from reaching blizzard criteria but it could lessen the snow totals a bit. If this shift east does occur, the heaviest snow bands may be just offshore or scrape along the coastline. Essentially, the majority of the snow accumulation will occur with a southward moving band during Sunday morning. The location of this band is key. Eastern Massachusetts would still be most susceptible to the heavy snow and blizzard conditions, specifically Essex County and the immediate coastline. We’re still sticking with the snow totals below, but some shifting to the east of the heaviest bands and snow accumulations may be needed.
FEB. 13, 2015
BOSTON (CBS) – Just once this winter I wish I could write a blog saying “BIG CHANGES, storm headed out to sea!!”
That hasn’t happened yet and sadly this weekend’s storm is no exception. It’s still coming and there have been no significant changes in the forecast.
Blizzard conditions? Check
Foot or more of snow in Boston? Check
Powerful, damaging winds? Check
More pain and misery in New England? Check
Let’s get right to what we can expect.
Snow begins, innocently enough at first. Just some light to moderate snow as the storm approaches from the west and begins to transfer its energy offshore. A coating to an inch or two by 7 p.m. Saturday. Any early evening Valentine’s Day plans should be OK!
Another inch or two before 9 p.m. and then there may be a bit of a lull in the action. A dry slot of sorts forms over parts of southern New England as the storm begins to deepen and develop just offshore. Between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m. there may just be a light additional accumulation 1-to-3 inches or so.
Our blizzard begins. It appears as though the storm will undergo bombogenesis (a rapid deepening and intensification) just to our east and in the Gulf of Maine. The winds will really start to crank out of the north. Wind gusts along the coastline could easily top 50 miles per hour and be near hurricane force over Cape Cod.
Intense bands of snow will set up along the Maine Coast. Most models project at least one very heavy band to rotate southward from Maine, through eastern Massachusetts during Sunday morning.
Within this band, powerful winds and steady, heavy snow will create near zero visibility at times (blizzard conditions).
Snow will be nearly impossible to measure. Expect an additional 5-to-10 inches during Sunday morning alone. The highest amounts will be right along the coast including the North Shore, Boston, and certainly up into Maine.
The snow intensity lets up a bit, but the winds continue to be a concern. They may be slightly lower than their peak in the morning, but still strong enough to whip the snow around and create scattered whiteout conditions.
Additional snow accumulation should only be a few inches, but the winds will make it seem like the storm is still raging.
The snow is over. The winds will gradually slacken but remain gusty (20-to-40 mph perhaps) all night long.
Most of western and central Massachusetts, from Hartford, to Springfield, to Worcester and Fitchburg.
Eastern Mass., including most of Essex County, Suffolk County and the immediate South Shore. This would also include Rockingham County in southeastern New Hampshire.
Sixteen inches +:
The state of Maine, which appears to be the jackpot zone for snow accumulation with this event. Parts of the coastline north of Portland will receive well over 2 feet of snow.
The snow will once again be light and fluffy (powdery). This means it will pile up quickly but once again be relatively easy to push around. Some power outages are likely due to the strong winds, but the light nature of the snow should prevent widespread outages.
This is perhaps the biggest concern with this storm. Wind gusts on Sunday will top out 60-to-70 mph over the Outer Cape, Cape Ann and Nantucket. For the rest of eastern Massachusetts, gusts will peak between 50 and 60 mph. West of Interstate 495, expect gusts between 35-to-50 mph.
The high tide of greatest concern is Sunday around 7:30 a.m. The areas of greatest concern would be the North Shore from Salisbury to Cape Ann and the Cape Cod Bay from Sandwich to Dennis.
Minor to moderate flooding is anticipated. A few things working in our favor: tides are not that high astronomically and this is not a long duration event (just one tide cycle affected) so seas will not have a chance to build.
WHAT COULD CHANGE?
Sadly not much.
We are now within 24-to-48 hours of the main event and there isn’t much wiggle room within the model data. Other than a tweak to the snow totals map here and there, I do not anticipate any major shift in forecast.
Use the next 24 hours to prepare your homes as much as possible. Remove as much snow from the roof as you can (safely). If you have plans to be on the roads Sunday, it would be best to reconsider or attempt to change them, particularly on Sunday morning.
As always stay tuned for updates and stay safe.
Follow Terry on Twitter @TerryWBZ