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Heavy Snow and High Winds Incoming to New England

Updated: Mar 4, 2023


The models are finally starting to come together. This storm is going to be large and powerful, with a large area seeing 8-12 inches of snow. On top of that, winds will be very gusty and at times strong, especially across the south shore of Massachusetts. Here's the very latest.


The storm's setup remains on track, with a primary low tracking to the north of New England and a secondary low forming to the south of New England. This secondary low will take over as the primary low decays.




NORTHERN NEW ENGLAND IMPACTS


Yesterday I wrote that somewhere in Northern New England will get hit by very heavy snow. This area looks like it will be southern Vermont and southern New Hampshire. Spots in this area could very well end up with 12-15 inches when all is set and done as snowfall rates of 1-2 inches an hour are expected. Exactly where this occurs will remain to be seen, but somewhere in southern Vermont and/or New Hampshire will overachieve.



The way the storm is setting up will allow a large area to receive relatively uniform amounts across much of Vermont and New Hampshire. The National Weather Service of Gray, Maine states:


"Initially a band of heavy snowfall is expected to move quickly northeast into the forecast area Fri evening. Strong warm air advection forcing will support snowfall rates in excess of 1 inch per hour into Sat morning. All guidance is showing a pretty classic laterally translating band of snow...which should produce a fairly uniform snow amount across much of the southern half of the forecast area before it starts to weaken."

A big question coming into this storm was the type of snow. Would it be heavy and wet or dry and fluffy? Heavy and wet would be a major concern as this much of that kind would lead to widespread power outages. The good news is that the snow type is trending toward drier and fluffier. This is due to cold air aloft. So while temps will be around or slightly above freezing across southern areas, the snow should not stick too much.


There will likely be a mix of dry and wet snow, but there should be more dry snow. The exception will be near the coast, where a wetter snow is expected. This week lead to isolated power outages.


Higher snowfall rates do appear that they will reach further north than anticipated this morning. The snowfall map this evening reflects that with Vermont and New Hampshire in the 5-8 inch range all the way to Canada. The cutoff as you head north and east into Maine will hold up, with Caribou still looking at just overcast skies during the storm without as much as a flurry on Saturday.


NORTHERN NEW ENGLAND TIMING


Friday night: Snow moves into Vermont in the late evening.


Around midnight: Steady snow falling in Vermont, snow falling in New Hampshire and western Maine.


Saturday morning: Bulk of the snow. Heavy snow falling across Vermont, New Hampshire and the southern half of Maine, minus downeast.


Around noon: Steady snow continues.


Saturday afternoon: Snow very gradually lightens up in Vermont and New Hampshire, steady snow still falling in southern Maine.


Saturday evening: Light snow showers continue.


Saturday night: Stubborn snow showers hang around.


Around midnight: Finally drying out region wide.



SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND IMPACTS


The storm gets complex southern New England. Snow is looking to mix with sleet across most of Massachusetts. A shallow layer of warm air aloft will likely manage to get to northern Mass, which will lead to sleet. This, in turn, causes total accumulations to drop off. The storm does appear that it will start off as snow across the area, but by Saturday morning, most of the area will have sleet or rain. The National Weather Service of Boston states:


"We expect a mix and possible changeover to sleet after midnight in the interior, with a changeover to sleet then rain near the coast as increasing easterly winds overwhelm the boundary layer. Soundings show a fairly deep cold layer in the low levels supportive of more sleet than freezing rain where changeover occurs."

The strong easterly winds will create a sharp cutoff in snowfall amounts at the Massachusetts coast, where the storm will bring rain and snow. Areas across Connecticut and Rhode Island will also remain too warm to support much snow accumulation, with only an inch or two expected in these areas.


I would not be surprised if there is a noticeable difference in snow and sleet totals from the east side of Boston to the west side. At this time, it looks like Boston is looking at 2-4 inches, with 2 inches near the coast and 4 inches further inland. There will likely be a thump of snow at the beginning before mixing begins.


The highest accumulations will be across far northern Massachusetts as well as in the Berkshires. Elevation will not play as important of a role in snowfall as initially expected. These areas could see in excess of 4-6 inches, with some areas seeing as much as 8 inches.


Winds will gust along the coast in excess of 40-45mph. Winds along Cape Cod and the islands could see gusts in excess of 50mph. Wind advisories will very likely be issued, but widespread wind damage is unlikely.


SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND TIMING


Friday night: Snow moves in from west to east starting around late evening.


Around midnight: Steady snow across most of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, mixing begins in Connecticut.


Saturday morning: Mixing begins in Massachusetts, switchover to rain in southern Connecticut. Raining on Cape Cod. Mostly rain in Boston.


Around noon: Snow continues west, steady snow/sleet/rain falling east.


Saturday afternoon: Light precipitation continues.


Saturday evening: Storm begins pulling away, scattered snow showers around.


Saturday night: Drying out.





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