BOSTON (CBS) — If I were to tell you that winter was half over, would you believe me? Well, meteorologists measure winter from Dec. 1 through Feb. 28, meaning we’re just about to mark the halfway point. While that may be technically true, I don’t think that there is a soul alive in New England that believes we have “endured” 50-percent of what winter has in store for us in 2018-2019.
Boston averages about 44” of snow in a given season. Thus far Boston has had 0.2″.
Worcester averages just over 60” of snow, they are currently at 9.7”.
Down year? Maybe. Slow start? Definitely. Winter half over? Hell no.
Most recent atmospheric signals are pointing toward a cold and active six-to-eight week period of winter ahead, starting right about now. No doubt the second half of winter will be much rockier than the first, but whether we can completely make up for lost time with regards to snowfall remains to be seen. I should note that we have only gone this far in winter with less than 2” of snow in Boston on seven other occasions and all ended up with below average snowfall for the season.
Will this year be the exception?
Time to get this thing started with two storms to watch in our immediate future:
This looks like another one of those fast moving, weak systems that we have had an abundance of in the last several weeks. More of an open wave than a consolidated storm system, the event on Friday morning looks fairly minor right now. Look for light snow to break out after midnight Thursday and continue through the early part of the Friday morning commute.
More snow-showery in nature and scattered, I wouldn’t expect any significant accumulation to occur before the commute, perhaps scattered coatings to an inch here and there. Then, during Friday morning, the air temperature warms a bit and the light snow flips to light rain from south to north before ending by midday. Final snow totals should be confined to a coating to a few inches with highest amounts in the Worcester Hills and Berkshires. Any and all early morning snowfall will be washed away close to the coastline.
This is the time frame to watch – late Saturday night and all day Sunday.
We’ve had our eyes on this one for a while as it will likely be a significant storm system for the northeast. However, it remains a bit too early to determine the exact storm track as models are doing their typical dance 5-7 days in advance. Some things to note:
The model trend is for a more inland track. If this holds true there would likely be a lot more sleet and rain involved than snow for southern New England. While the entire area would likely start as a thump of snow late Saturday night, a storm track to the west would inevitably flip the snow to a mix of ice and rain during Sunday morning. Exactly how much snow falls before the change and how far north the flip to rain happens is still TBD. Under this current scenario, this would be much more of a snowstorm for the mountains in central and northern New England and a mixed bag (kitchen-sink-type storm) in southern New England.
Also of note, there is a full moon this weekend and a total lunar eclipse! This comes with good news and bad news. First the bad, thanks to the full moon, our tides are going to be exceedingly high over the weekend. The peak tides arrive late morning on Sunday and again on Monday. Too early to determine how much, if any, coastal flooding we will receive as that will come down to the timing of the storm and location and direction of the winds. However, with the track being farther west, the strongest winds would likely be out of the south-southwest ahead of the storm and then west-northwest behind the storm, not your typical nor’easter type event.
The good news is that by the time of the eclipse on Sunday night, the storm should be exiting and skies should be clearing! Granted it will be very windy and cold (far from ideal viewing conditions) but if you are willing to brave the elements, it could just be a great show!
So what have we learned?
While we may have reached the halfway point in our hike through winter, all the steep, uphill climbing is still ahead.
Be aware that Friday morning’s drive may be a bit slow and snowy, but more of a nuisance than anything else.
The weekend storm has real potential, but too early for details. At this point odds are weighing more heavily in favor of a mixed bag (i.e. less snow, more ice and rain) in southern New England.
And, oh by the way, if you are headed to Kansas City on Sunday (I hear there is a football game there) it looks VERY cold. Highs struggling to get out of the single digits and wind chills below zero. Go Pats!
Follow Terry on Twitter @TerryWBZ