BOSTON (CBS) – Being a meteorologist lately is kind of like being a parent driving to Florida with the kids in the backseat chanting ‘Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?’
WELL, are we there yet? No. For those hoping for some springtime warmth, you’re going to have to wait a little while longer. The long-advertised cold start to April is most certainly verifying and we have several more chances for snow in the pipeline. Will any of them have a big impact? Perhaps not. It gets tougher to thread to needle this time of year. But let’s take a look at the timing of each, and when things may finally wind down for the season.
Looking like arrival time will be mid-morning in our area Friday
The first one up is a unique system that moves in on Friday morning. We have an area of low pressure, moving northwest of us, with gusty southwest winds, and precipitation falling in the middle of the day, during April. If you put all those factors together in almost any other year, there’s no way you would think there is snow coming. Alas, there is. The air mass is cold enough preceding the system that a burst of snow is likely starting Friday morning and going until midday/early afternoon before we start to change over to raindrops from south to north. Considering the timing and the initial chill, we’ll likely be able to snag a coating to a couple inches of snow before any changeover. The accumulations will be most likely on grassy surfaces but some slick travel will briefly be possible in the mid/late morning before we warm things up. Not thinking high impact…more like what we had on Monday instead. Afternoon temperatures will climb into the 40s, so we will likely melt away most of what falls before the day ends.
After that, the frontal boundary will sag just offshore as waves of low pressure move up along it Saturday into early Sunday. We’ll have dry air pumping down from the north to help deflect some of it, but areas of wet snow and some rain look likely on Saturday. Considering this doesn’t look overly intense, I currently don’t think it will have a big impact on the area except the psychological one of more snowflakes falling in April and minor accumulations. Once you get to this time of year, you need some strong snowfall rates to have it do anything on the roads when the sun is out and the highest odds of snowfall look to be during the daylight hours. And with Saturday marking the first day of the season with 13 hours of daylight, there’s plenty of that sun (through the clouds) to be found.
With all that being said, a little nudge farther north could bring several inches of accumulating snow and a bit more of a headache, so it would be best to monitor the trends over the next 24-48 hours to see if the outlook needs tweaking. We’ll make the first snow accumulation call on Thursday.
The final wave on that front is the most potent, and moves to our east on Sunday. It looks like that will stay far enough offshore to spare us any impact other than another chilly day in the low 40s. Sorry to say, that’s the pick of the upcoming weekend.
Okay…how about the final shot? There is strong guidance agreement that a coastal low will approach the region on Tuesday, and that we’ll have enough cold air around to keep snow in the cards. The final track will dictate whether we get significant accumulations, or more rain than snow in the area. Being that we’re talking about April 10th/11th at this point, it’s really starting to become difficult to see anything add up in a big way around Boston. If you can sneak in freak higher-end event, it’s the towns with elevation that stand the most risk. We’ve had some 6″+ snows that late in the season a few times before, including *May* in 1977! So it is definitely not impossible and has happened before.
With that in mind, let’s assess some risk for more snow after that Tuesday-Wednesday threat. We will be talking about April 11th-onward at that point. You’re seriously battling climatology to keep winter going. Dating back to 1891, we have picked up more than 1″ of snow in Boston 11 times after this date. So it’s still *possible*, but definitely not likely. The last time it happened so late was in 1993. And we’ve never recorded a half foot or more that late in the season.
Snowfall from April 11th-onward in the city of Boston since 1891. Source: xmACIS
We can also take a look at the pattern late next week into Marathon Monday. It appears we will get a respite from this chilly and active stretch as a ridge finally builds into the east for a few days. Let’s say this means there isn’t another snow risk through Sunday the 15th. Run the math again, and now we have only seen 1″+ in Boston 5 times since 1891. The odds are higher with elevation (pun intended), as Worcester has seen 1″+ 18 times on record from April 16th onward and two of those produced over a foot! So we will be feeling safer near the coast than in the hills.
Snowfall from April 16th-onward in the city of Boston since 1891. Source: xmACIS
There is light at the end of the tunnel. I think the risk of wintry weather early next week may finally be the end of it for us. Doesn’t mean we’ll just burst into continuous warmth, but at least we can probably put the shovels away and start to at least think about the gardens more than the snow removal and heating bills. The only time we had a year without a summer was due to a massive volcanic eruption (Tambora, 1815) so barring a cataclysmic natural disaster safe to say we’ll be enjoying warmer times soon enough.