Major winter snowstorm with possible blizzard conditions Saturday – CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) – A major northeast appears to be on its way to southern New England.
This one has all the ingredients of a classic. All the buzzwords are in play… Blizzard, Bombogenesis, Blockbuster… you name it, we might see it on Saturday.
If you’ve been following at home, over the past few days we’ve discussed three possible scenarios…a coastal hugger (track above Cape Cod), a classic track (the perfect New England snow track) and a track further east. The big news today, we’ve narrowed it down to two.
Goodbye coastal trail and with that any chance of rain/mixture outside of the very Outer Cape and Nantucket. We narrowed the possible storm track to about 200 miles around Nantucket Island to an area about 200 miles to the east. It’s the ball game. The amount of wind and snow you will receive ultimately lies within this snow cone of uncertainty.
Scenario #1 “Classic snow track”
60% chance of happening (compared to 50% yesterday)
Scenario #2 Runway further east
40% chance of happening (compared to 25% yesterday)
Inside track…no longer an option…down 25% to 0% today
Now here’s the tricky part… any track close to the benchmark (40N/70W, the classic track) would produce pretty similar conditions. Essentially a raging northeast in its own right. Heavy snow bands, persistent and damaging northeasterly winds and significant coastal flooding.
In scenario #2 is a fairly wide range of possibilities. On the western edge of this envelope, we would essentially still face a major northeasterly, but just pushing the heaviest snow a little east. At the eastern extreme of that envelope, well, we’re now talking about a BIG difference in the forecast…somewhere between the heaviest snow on the Cape and about a complete miss, wide to the right. Yes, it remains within the range of the results, no matter how small.
So that’s what’s at stake… A LOT. For the remainder of this blog, we will assume the most likely scenario of a classic snowstorm path for southern New England and the impacts it would cause.
Light snow begins just after midnight Friday night, mostly over extreme southeast MA. As of dawn Saturday, light to moderate snowfall over southeast MA and lightly north and west of Boston. During Saturday morning, the snow slowly increases in intensity from south to north. If you must travel on Saturday, do so as soon as possible. The bulk of the storm occurs between noon and midnight Saturday. This is when we will begin to develop very heavy bands of snow that will cross our region from south to north.
Snowfall rates in some of these bands could reach 1-3 inches per hour…absolutely blinding in strong northeast winds. We may experience blizzard conditions at times, especially near coastal communities in Essex, Suffolk, Plymouth and Bristol counties. Expect significant snow blowing and drifting. The snow would finally start to taper off after midnight from west to east…I would say around 90% of the total storm buildup would be by midnight…just a few lighter flurries remaining until the wee hours of Sunday morning .
60-75 mph along the entire immediate coast from southern Maine to Cape Cod and the islands…this is where power outages and wind damage would be most likely
40-55 mph west of I95 back to about 495
25-40 mph across most of central and western MA
It looks like we will be spared a worst-case scenario with this storm. The highest astronomical tide of the day occurs around 8am, BEFORE the arrival of the strongest winds. We reach low tide in the early afternoon as the storm begins to peak. The most worrying time comes on Saturday evening with the high tide between 8 and 9 p.m. This tide is almost 2 feet lower (astronomically) than the morning high tide, which is very good news. However, I would still expect at least minor to moderate flooding in all vulnerable coastal areas on Saturday evening.
HOW MUCH SNOW:
The big question!
Given a classic trail, the highest risk of a foot or more would be along and east of I95, including Boston and most of southeast MA. The exception would be the extreme Outer Cape and Nantucket where wetter, heavier snow is likely (less than a foot).
West of I95 through 495 and most of Worcester County there would be less snow but still a high risk of at least 6”+.
We will refine these totals and give more accurate number ranges over the next 24 hours as the forecast trajectory becomes clearer.
The stakes are high! Stay with CBSBoston.com, WBZ-TV and CBS Boston News for updates…we’ve got you covered!
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