BOSTON (CBS) — Are you ready for Snowvember 2019? How about some potentially record breaking, mid-winter-type cold this weekend? Are you in the “it’s too early for this stuff” camp? Or are you one of those that are chomping at the bit for a taste of winter? Ready or not, here it comes!
First off, let me just step off the hype train, the snowvember thing was just a joke. . . sort of. Yes, there is potential for some accumulating snowfall later this week. However, it is simply too early in the game to hone in on storm track, rain vs snow lines and snowfall amounts. Perhaps you are wondering, then why the blog if you can’t tell us anything? Don’t stop reading! There is plenty to discuss with regards to the cold and snow forecast later this week. While we cannot yet give specifics, I will walk you through the possibilities and which way we are leaning at this point, including who is most at risk for a plowable snowfall! Enough teasing. . . let’s dig in.
If it seems too early for snow chatter, it really isn’t. We only need to go back one year – November 2018. We had a whopper of an early season snowstorm on November 15-16th. A large portion of Essex, Middlesex, Worcester and Norfolk counties was blanketed with 4″-10” of snowfall. There was a bit less at the immediate coastline, but just about everyone, including a good portion of Cape Cod, got some plowable snowfall. That was then followed by record breaking cold on Thanksgiving Day. Boston had a high temperature of 24 degrees and a low of 14 on Turkey Day in 2018. Yikes! The great irony of that early snow last year was that we essentially didn’t see another significant snowstorm until mid to late January! So, snow haters, an early season snowfall does NOT always equate to a big snow season in general.
Given all that, most models agree that there will be a cold front that comes through our area on Thursday. And most models agree that there will be a wave of low pressure that forms in the deep South along this front early on Thursday. From that point on, it gets interesting. With no real cold air in place before the storm arrives, the track of the storm is key in determining rain versus snow. In the last day, models have trended somewhat milder (a track farther west). If this trend continues, that would mean mainly rain for southern New England and the accumulating snow would be confined to the highest elevations, mainly in northern New England.
At this point, we rely more on past experience and knowledge of early season (November) storms, to guide us more than anything else. That past history tells us that the odds significantly favor higher snow chances inland and in elevated areas, largely due to a still relatively mild ocean to our east. This doesn’t totally exclude Boston and areas along the coast from getting snow in November, but the odds there are much lower.
Thursday will start off dry with clouds increasing. Raindrops arrive after dark on Thursday with a rain snow line developing in southern Vermont and central NH. We do not expect any significant disruption to the evening commute on Thursday. Steady precipitation arrives after 8 p.m. The heaviest will be overnight into Friday morning, from about midnight through 6 a.m.
SNOW or RAIN?
While it is still too early to pinpoint the exact rain/snow areas, odds favor snow the farther north and west you are from Boston. And likewise, rain is favored in southern New England and especially closer to the coastline and over southeastern Mass., Cape Cod and the Islands. There will likely be some snow mixing in on the backside of this system Thursday night through the Berkshires and northern MA into New Hampshire. Less than 1” is possible, with just some patchy coatings on branches and grassy surfaces when you wake up early Friday. There may be a few snowflakes mixing in as precip exits even in the Boston metro area, but expect little to no accumulation.
There is potential for 6 inches or more snow accumulation with this storm across the higher terrain of northern New England. 1-4” is more likely for parts of the Berkshires into Vermont and New Hampshire. Closer to the coast, less than 1” is possible. Again, with a quick changeover across the Worcester hills and northeastern MA overnight, patchy coatings are possible.
There does not appear to be a great risk of damaging winds early on in this storm, nor are there any coastal flooding concerns right now. However, it is likely that we could get some very strong winds on the backside of the storm during the day on Friday. Gusts up to 40 mph are possible. That is going to create quite the chill with highs stuck in the 30s. Expect it to feel like the 20s most of the afternoon and evening with a drop in wind chill values into the 10s Friday night into Saturday morning.
If I haven’t stressed it enough already, let me do it one more time. . . there is still a lot to be determined with this potential storm. Stay tuned to updated forecasts on WBZ-TV, CBSBoston.com and CBSN Boston.
And, it wouldn’t hurt to dig out the shovels and start up and test the snowblower. . .
Follow Terry on Twitter @TerryWBZ