Sunday, January 25, 2015

Forecasts For Blizzard of 2015 If Anything Got More Dramatic Sunday Afternoon

This graphic from the National Weather Service in
Taunton, Mass shows how impressive
this storm will be. Click on the image
to make it bigger and easier to read.  
Blizzard warnings are up for a big stretch of real estate from northern New Jersey, through the New York City metro area, on through Long Island and much of southern and eastern New England.

I said this morning this storm would be a real humdinger, and with updated forecast, that seems to be even more the case.

Forecasted winds are a little stronger, and the forecasts for deep snow got deeper. And more widespread.

The Boston Globe quotes Benjamin Sipprell, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Taunton, Mass. making some daunting predictions:

"This storm definitely has the capability of being not only historic but also catastrophic," Sipprell said. "Everything's probably going to shut down. This is going to be all-out-white-out snow, crippling everything. We're highly advising no travel, starting late Monday, going into Tuesday, and on into Wednesday."

Emergency managers throughout the potential blizzard zone are saying the same thing as Sipprell. bly the time the storm arrives, you should be off the roads.

One exception might be coastal areas. I'm guessing there might be a few evacuation notices due to anticipated coastal flooding in New Jersey and especially Long Island and New England.

Right now, ahead of the storm, there's pretty much the usual panic buying ahead of the storm as people stock up on bread, milk and I suppose plenty of booze, too.

They're now saying some records for Biggest Snowstorm On Record might fall in some cities from New York through southern New England.
People dig deep snow while water from a storm surge
flows down a street in Winthrop, Mass during a blizzard in
February, 2013. Conditions are expected to be at
least as bad as this during Monday and Tuesday's expected
storm. Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images.

The National Weather Service in Upton, N.Y., which covers New York City, is calling the upcoming storm "life threatening" and "historic."

The biggest snowstorm on record in New York is 26.9 inches on Feb. 11-12, 2006. There's a decent chance this storm will exceed that.

Throw in winds gusting to 55 mph and temperatures falling through the 20s and you can see why this is dangerous.

Ground zero for this storm still looks to be southern and eastern New England, very roughly along the Interstate 95 corridor. I won't be at all surprised if some towns get three feet or more of snow.

Boston's two biggest snowstorms, each with just over 27 inches of snow, came on February 17-18, 2003 and during the Blizzard of '78. This storm might leave Boston with deeper snow than that.

Parts of New England, especially closest to the coast, could see wind gusts reach 70 mph or a little more. Gusts in the 40-50 mph range will be common in much of the southeastern third of New England.

While the snow, the whiteouts, the strong winds, the impassable roads, the impossible travel will affect millions, the most serious threat from this blizzard is more localized: Storm surges along the coast.

There's a chance some buildings might be damaged or destroyed on Long Island, and major coastal flooding is possible along some areas of the Massachusetts coast, including Cape Cod and the islands.

The storm surge, in combination with waves generated by near hurricane force wind gusts, are almost sure to cause structural damage in some areas. Unfortunately, I worry some houses might fall into the sea, we'll hope not.

I also hope nobody gets trapped in the flooding and everybody heeds evacuation orders if they happen.

Says the National Weather Service in Massachusetts: "This is a storm that could produce one or more new inlets along exposed east and northeast facing barrier beaches."

That's saying something!

The center of the storm will stay offshore, but the thing is so big that snow will extend way up into northern New England.

Central and southern Vermont and much of New Hampshire could see a foot of snow out of this, if not more. Even the far northwestern tip of Vermont, at least 400  miles from the storm center, could get two or three inches with this storm.

As I said this morning, the upcoming storm, scheduled to peak Monday night and Tuesday reminds me of the Blizzard of 1978. With the rather more dire forecasts coming out this Sunday evening, I think it's a little more like 1978 than I previously thought.

Everybody hypes storms, it seems. But if the forecasts are anywhere near accurate, this storm deserves the hype.

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