The weather the next couple of days looks typically cold for January along with brilliant blue skies and decreasing wind. Tomorrow in particular looks like a nice day to hit the ski slopes with a bluebird background. All this is to say we have the calm before the storm which does arrive Friday night.
It’s looking increasingly likely that we are going to see a major winter storm Friday night into Saturday evening. While this storm will likely be large along with a lot of snow, it’s not going to be unprecedented, it’s just a typical Southern New England winter storm. The exact snow amounts are not yet known but the potential is there for a foot or more. Until the specific track of the upcoming nor’easter is known, or I have a bit more confidence, it’s still too early to say where the most snow will fall. But it’s likely to be east of Worcester.
Whether you’ve been through many of these nor’easters or this is your first one, there are a few things that all of them bring. Of course snow is the most notable as it covers most of the area and everybody has to deal with it in some way. During the storm it looks like the temperatures will be mainly in the 20s, keeping the snow on the lighter side and easier to move. As you get close to the coast — or especially over Cape Cod and the islands — the snow is likely to be wetter and heavier.
In the morning, Saturday snowfall rates are likely to be over an inch per hour in several communities. Where these heavier bands set up will ultimately determine who sees the jackpot.
As the storm becomes more intense, winds will increase and could gust over 50 mph along the coastline. It is likely to be quite windy inland as well. Wind speeds of this strength combined with the heavy snow could mean we see a blizzard watch issued at some point in the next couple of days. Remember, a blizzard has nothing to do with the amount of snow. We could have a blizzard with 2 inches of snow or 20 inches of snow. A blizzard is a visibility warning for being unable to see more than a quarter mile due to the blowing snow and strong winds of 35 mph or more. These conditions need to last for three hours in order to be an official blizzard.
The tide on Saturday morning is astronomically high, over 10 feet. This makes it easier for the storm surge to create flooding. However, if the peak of the storm occurs six hours later at low tide, significant flooding is much less likely, and this is one of the timing issues that still needs to be worked out. It’s enormously significant as to exactly when the peak of the storm arrives.
The snow ends Saturday evening and it clears out on Sunday. I am confident sunshine returns for the second half of the weekend and you’ll be able to drive around by the middle of the morning Sunday after things are cleared up. This is not going to be a prolonged snowstorm, nor will it cripple the area for days. Logan Airport, however, is likely to be significantly impacted starting Friday and continuing into Sunday.
For those who are not a fan of cold and snow, February is likely to be significantly less cold than this month and I do expect some degree of melting during the first week. Sunsets after 5 p.m. are also back early next month.