From February 2013 – View Latest Forecast
BOSTON (CBS) – Before you accuse us of “hyping” up this storm potential on Friday, let me ask you this – would you rather not know what might happen?
There will be no hype here, just the plain old facts as we see them right now, about 72 hours ahead of any sort of storm on Friday.
First the basic meteorology. A large area of cold, Canadian high pressure is going to crest over New England on Thursday, supplying a significant amount of cold air, one obvious ingredient needed for a significant snowstorm.
While that is happening, two storm systems will be racing eastward across the country, one in the upper Midwest and another, more juicy storm, in the Deep South.
Originally, most weather models were keeping these two systems separate as they hit the Atlantic, not causing much of a weather story.
Now, there is mounting agreement between weather models that these two storms will come together and “phase” somewhere off the New Jersey coastline on Friday morning.
The rest of this blog will be written on the assumption that this phasing actually occurs, which is the most likely scenario at this point.
Snow would begin during Friday morning, mainly light, not expecting a great deal of accumulation at the start given that it is during the day and relatively light.
The intensity of the snow would ramp up during the afternoon along with the east winds, especially along the coast, where gusts could reach 20-to-40 mph by late afternoon.
The peak of the storm would come Friday evening and night from about 5 p.m. through 1 a.m.
During this time frame snowfall rates could exceed 1 inch per hour in parts of eastern Massachusetts.
A strong east northeast wind, gusting to 50 mph or higher could create blizzard-like conditions near the coastline at times.
Thankfully, the tides are not astronomically very high, but the high tide to watch would be Friday night’s just before 10 p.m.
Driving conditions would be very hazardous during the Friday evening commute and only worsen Friday night.
And of course the million dollar question – how much snow are we talking?
There is the POTENTIAL for well over a foot of snow in eastern Massachusetts from this storm IF everything comes together just right (which again is very possible).
Certainly a large area of at least 6-to-12 inches is possible for almost all of southern New England including the coastline.
This would be the biggest storm not only this year, but last year as well.
It would likely be the biggest storm since February 1-2 of 2011 when Boston received 10.4 inches of snow. It sure has been a while!
Now all of that being said, we still have 72 hours before this storm arrives and the phasing of two storms and two jet streams is a complex process.
No doubt there will be some changes to the forecast in the next 24-to-48 hours.
We would stress the importance of staying tuned at this point to updated forecasts and beginning preparations for a stormy Friday.
You can follow Terry on Twitter at @TerryWBZ.