Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Hey, New England! Hope You Like Snow Because More Is Coming

Love this photo. Somebody kept removing
snow from the Boston Marathon finish line
during the Blizzard of 2015 yesterday.  
Boston's second Big Dig is underway today The first was that big road construction project that until recently consumed the city for years and years.

Today, of course, is the Big Snow Dig for much of New England.

They'd better dig fast because there's more snow on the way. Definitely a little snow, possibly a LOT of snow. More on that in a minute.

Blizzard of 2015 Recap:

It truly was a historic storm, as advertised ahead of time by the National Weather Service in Taunton, Mass.  Worcester, Mass. had its biggest snowstorm on record, with 34.5 inches. Boston had its sixth largest snowstorm, with 24.6 inches. The most I've seen so far is 36 inches in Lunenburg, Auburn and Hudson,  Mass.  

Then there was the two rounds of coastal flooding. I'm sure some areas will be declared disaster zones. There's a lot of damage to businesses, homes, roads and utilities.

NECN reports at least two houses have been condemned in Marshfield, Mass. after a sea wall collapsed in the storm and waves battered the buildings.

Just picking up the mess, getting rid of the debris and tons of snow and ice are going to be a huge undertaking.

The blizzard lasted a long time in much of New England, too.

According to the National Weather Service, blizzard conditions lasted 14 hours in Marshfield, Mass., 11 hours on Nantucket, and nine hours in Boston. That's a pretty long time for official blizzard conditions to last in New England.

For conditions to qualify as an official blizzard, falling or blowing snow must reduce visibililty to a quarter mile or less and winds must frequently gust to 35 mph or more for at least three consecutive hours.
A man removes items from a Massachusetts home
damaged by a storm surge and battering ocean waves
during yesterday's blizzard. Photo by Greg Derr/AP  

As I noted, more snow is on the way. Not on the magnitude of this last storm, but still.

The weather pattern lately has featured storms crossing the nation with not all that much fanfare, then blowing into big storms along the New England coast.

That happened last Saturday with the six or so inches of wet snow that hit southern New England. Of course it happened with this Blizzard of 2015. There are signs that it's going to happen again. And maybe again. And perhaps again after that.

We'll take them one at a time.

Storm Number One: 

The first one is coming across the northern United States. It's getting it's act together in the Dakotas now, and will scoot across the Great Lakes then on toward New England Thursday night.

The storm is pretty far removed from the Gulf of Mexico, but it will be able to tap some moisture, so it looks like it will squeeze out 2 to 6 inches of snow in much of  New England Thursday night, Friday and maybe into the first part of Saturday.  

Like the past recent storms, this one will explode into a pretty strong one once it moves toward and off the New England coast.

This one is starting out more north than the other ones, though, so this storm will blow up in the Gulf of Maine, too far north to give Boston, Hartford and New York any kind of big snowstorm. Just light snow and a lot of wind.

However, the eastern two thirds of Maine and much of the maritime provinces of eastern Canada will get a big storm out of this. There's already a winter storm watch for much of Maine for more than seven inches of snow.  
A man battles the weather during the Blizzard of 2015
in Portland, Maine. Maine is at risk for two
more fairly substantial snowstorms within the
next week. Photo by Robert Bukaty/AP  

Since much of Maine got a lot of snow out of the last storm, this one will make a real mess. For example, Eastport Maine got 20.3 inches of snow with six foot drifts with the just ended Blizzard of 2015.  Add another foot to that Friday and Saturday, and possibly ANOTHER foot next week, and you've got trouble.

Storm Number Two

After a shot of bitterly cold air this weekend in New England, another storm wants to get going for Monday and Tuesday. This one will come out of the southwestern United States, go along or near the northern Gulf of Mexico and then ride up the coast as a nor'easter.

It's way too soon to say how strong this one will be, how much snow will fall, and whether some areas will go over to rain.

So far, the forecasting computer models, the ones that are sometimes spectacularly right, and sometimes majorly wrong, are in two camps.

One set of models takes the storm off the coast, focusing any heavy snow near the coast, the areas that got whammed by the Blizzard of 2015. There's even a chance it could go so far off the coast that only light snow would hit the Northeast, but so far, that's not the most likely scenario.

Another set of computer forecasting models would take the storm inland, right over, say, New York City, central New England and on into Maine. If that were to happen, the areas that got hit by the blizzard would get snow, mixed precipitation, then a quick shot of heavy rain. That would be a mess.

Under this second scenario, northwestern New England, especially most of Vermont, northern New Hampshire, and outside New England, northern New York, would get a pretty substantial snowstorm out of this. (These areas only got light snow, on the order of a trace to six inches, out of yesterday's blizzard)

This is a case of just waiting to see what happens. They'll refine forecasts over the upcoming weekend.

Following THIS storm, it looks like what could be the deepest, coldest cold snap of the winter for New England around Tuesday and Wednesday.

Storm Number Three

Signs point to another storm running up the coast late next week. This one is way off in the future. So far, I can't give you much. It might not even happen. It's just the weather pattern, as it looks now, anyway, strongly favors storminess on the East Coast late next week.

I don't yet know if that means a lot of snow, a lot of rain, a lot of ice, a lot of wind, all of the above or even none of the above.  It's just something to keep in the back of our minds while we figure out what's going on with these first two storms.

Incredible Warmth Elsewhere

While the Northeast is dealing with what has turned into a real, REAL winter in the past couple of weeks, the western half of the country is definitely wondering, "What winter?"

On Monday, no fewer tha 86 towns and cities in the western third of the nation had record high temperatures. Yesterday, they had incredible record highs of 83 degrees in Hill City, and 79 in Goodland, both cities in the high Plains of western Kansas.

Oklahoma City had a record high of 78 yesterday, beating the old record of 72. The forecast high in the north Texas city of Wichita Falls, Texas today is 83.

It's been in the 50s the past couple days at my in-laws'  home of Yankton, in southeastern South Dakota, making this Vermonter for the first time ever jealous of South Dakota winter weather. It also has me threatening to move in with my in-laws if this very wintry New England weather keeps up.

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