Thursday's storm bringing widespread snow and wind
Bitter cold conditions continue but we're in for a potent storm on Thursday.
Let's first take a look at the timeline: The latest information on Tuesday morning suggests that this system begins after 12am on Thursday with the Rhode Island coastline seeing the first flakes/raindrops. Through the course of the day, as the system slides to the east of Cape Cod, the snow bands will get steady and heavy at times. The hours to focus on are 1-6pm. By the evening commute, this system will make for messy road conditions, thus we need A LOT of extra time when driving home.
How much are we expecting? This is where the forecast wobbles a bit. As the system stands now, the premier models are beginning to agree with 3-5" for Rhode Island with those need the MA line measuring slightly higher amounts. Southeastern MA will hit the jackpot with 6"+ of snow.
With our somewhat small geographic area, a shift in the final placement of this system will make for far different impacts. Models are coming to a conclusion that it should remain offshore. But, a little shift in the final location (ie. 50 miles) and we're in for a much different event. If this pushes west, southern New England will see much higher snow totals. At this time, the North American Model (NAM) is hinting at that possibility so we certainly are keeping an eye on the track.
Wind comes along with this one too. In fact, the wind is the #1 issue with this system and blowing snow is going to make travel extremely difficult. Wind gusts could reach 55-60+mph. With the combination of this much snow with intense winds, power outages are almost imminent. Be prepared for your power to go out. Bitter cold conditions like this would be a tough scenario with no power.
We will continue to update this blog over the next 36 hours to ensure everyone is up to speed on the impacts. Chief Meteorologist Mark Searles will be in later today with the latest information.
-Meteorologist Zack Green