Nor'easter on track to bring rain to SNE Thursday, heavy snow to north
UPDATE (12/28): We're keeping a close eye on how this system plays out, and it's developing just as we anticipated.
The latest models have now aligned and agree on both the timing and the type of precipitation we'll see in New England. Let's first talk about the timing. By Thursday morning, the developing low pressure will situate itself towards southern NJ. It's then expected to track northeast with the first showers by noon. Depending on location, the rain and/or snow will be consistent and hard hitting through Thursday evening into Friday morning.
Now, let's talk about who sees what. For the coastline, from CT to ME, I'm expecting rain. RI and southeastern MA (including Cape Cod and the Islands) will be engulfed in steady, heavy rainfall for Thursday afternoon. Most locations will record about 1" of rain by 7am Friday morning. But what about the snow? Southern New England will not see much, if any at all. Northern RI may be the only spot to see roughly 1". Inland spots from central and western MA to northern New England will see the accumulated snow you generally associate with a "nor'easter". While models are still disagreeing on total amounts, I'm expecting 6-8" for Worcester and central MA. The Berkshires will accumulate slightly higher amounts. As for VT, NH, and ME, models are suggesting 10-15" with 18"+ at some of the higher elevations! Great for ski country.
Once the system pushes east, wind will be a major factor. Gusts will likely exceed 40mph along the coast leading to potential power outages. By Friday afternoon, skies begin to clear.
More updates to come!
Meteorologist Zack Green
Original Post (12/27):
The discussion has begun and will continue for the next two days: how does the upcoming storm play out?
This system will be the classic case of a nor'easter. An area of low pressure will slide off shore over a relatively warm body of water (relative meaning warmer than normal during late December). As that occurs, a colder air mass moves in from the northwest. The interaction between the two is what drives the winds to increase and the potential for a hard hitting event.
All that being said, guidance models are not exactly seeing eye to eye. The European Model (ECMWF) is projecting high amounts of snow accumulation for MA, NH, VT, and ME. The American Model (GFS), is forecasting much less. Those two models are generally the most looked for extended forecasts. Another, the Short Range Ensemble Forecast or SREF, has a mean of 2.25" for Providence and has been trending higher and higher with each model run.
So enough of the technical stuff, what can we expect in southern New England?
Well, that is something that models have come to a consensus about. The brunt of the system will by further north (hooray skiers!). But for RI and southeastern MA, it's looking as though accumulation stays under 2 inches. Localized amounts, especially northwest RI, may record more, but it's not looking too promising.
The wind will also be a factor. Tuesday morning was gusty. But, Friday morning will give it a run for it's money. Coastal locations will likely see gusts near 45-50mph. Inland spots will be slightly calmer, but, I'm anticipating a High Wind Watch or Warning to be issued by Thursday night. Power outages will be a concern with the strong gusts, so be prepared with batteries and flash lights.
In any event, this event is certainly going to dominate the discussion for the next 48-72 hours. Be sure you "Turn To 10" for continuous updates. The discussion will become more and more refined with snow accumulation maps and a breakdown of the system. For daily weather information and quick tidbits about the upcoming storm, follow me on Facebook and Twitter.
Thanks for reading and as always...keep an eye to the sky!
Meteorologist Zack Green