Monday, January 26, 2015

Monday Morning Update: The Blizzard Of 2015 Is Still On, Big Time

I don't know if things will get THIS bad, but the
Northeast is still on track for a huge blizzard tonight
through Tuesday.  
A quick check of forecasts and computer models and such has revealed little change in the overall forecast for the Blizzard of 2015 in the northeastern United States.  

As the storm draws closer, and during the storm, us weather geeks will get excited or focus on all kinds of particular computer model outputs with this storm

Forecasters will keep fussing with picky details of the storm, based on new information that will keep churning out.

They'll raise or lower expected snow totals slightly in given areas, raise or lower wind speeds, that kind of thing.

For the general public, don't get too hung up on subtle tweaks in the forecast. Whether you get 15 or 20 or 30 or 40 inches of badly windblown snow, the impacts are going to be HUGE.

In that respect, who really cares if you get 23 or 24 inches of snow?  I'll get into some of the picky details a bit later in this post.

Already, the effects of this storm are being felt, and it hasn't really even started snowing yet. Airlines are cancellling flights left and right, and by early Monday morning, more than 2,000 were gone by the wayside for today and tomorrow.

If you're planning on driving anywhere in the Northeast today, don't bother. You'll probably make it to where you're going today, as things won't be too bad, but then you'll be stuck there as the blizzard blasts in tonight and tomorrow.  And who knows how long it will take to clear the roads when the snow tapers off Wednesday?

There's still time to get ready this morning and early afternoon. Especially if you live in the blizzard warning zone, lay in some supplies in case you're stuck at home for a few days.

Though I wouldn't panic like this guy:

Instead of panicking over BREAD AND MILK!!!  get some nonperishable food (in case the power goes out and the refrigerator doesn't work) your medications- enough to last several days, some bottled water to drink and for hygiene, and some flashlights, batteries and that type of thing.  Oh, and make sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors work and get some extra batteries for those, too.

You might want to keep your smart phones and such fully charged, too, in case the power does go out.

Once the storm starts, stay inside. Near the beginning of the storm during the day today and perhaps early this evening,  it won't be snowing that hard in most places so you might think, "This isn't so bad."

Then the real heavy stuff comes and you're stuck in your stalled, freezing car out on the Interstate until gawd knows when.  Not a nice place to die of exposure or carbon monoxide poisoning, let me tell you.

If you want to take pictures and video during the blizzard, go right ahead. But do it right near your house so you can get inside right away and not get stuck out there.

Check in on your elderly neighbors, too, to make sure they're doing OK during the blizzard.

As I noted, the overall forecast hasn't changed. Nobody has substantially changed the areas under blizzard or winter storm warnings. The expected areas of heaviest weather haven't shifted much at all.

If you want glimmers of good news (or bad, if you like extremes) there's a chance, just a chance, that New York City won't get as much snow as some of the higher end forecasts. But 18 to 24 inches at this point still looks like a good bet, and with winds expected to gust as high as 55 mph in the Big Apple, this is still going to be, as the National Weather Service puts it, a crippling and life threatening storm.

Up in New England, I see almost no changes in forecasts from Sunday evening. The National Weather Service headquarters in Taunton, Mass. is fussing with details of whether one or two particularly heavy snow bands set up northwest of the storm center and where those bands will be located.

Nobody is quite sure on that topic, but within those semi-stationary bands during the height of the storm is where we'll see the highest storm totals with this. Possible three feet or more.

I'm still the most worried about coastal flooding and storm surges with this storm, as that's what will cause the most destruction. It's hard to say whether the peak of the storm surges will come with Tuesday morning's high tide or during low tide a few hours later.

But in any event, definitely continue to expect coastal flooding and very nasty beach erosion. The flooding will be moderate in some areas, severe in a few others. I continue to worry that some houses in coastal Long Island, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine and especially Massachusetts could b badly damaged or destroyed.

Most of the snow in the blizzard region will be powdery, which means the strong winds will blow the snow off trees and power lines. That's a good thing, as that would minimize the risk of power failures. But with such strong winds, power failures are still a big threat.

In some coastal areas, like eastern Long Island, Cape Cod and the Islands, the snow could end up being wet and heavy and sticky. And those same areas are the ones that are likely to get the strongest winds, up to or even exceeding 70 mph in spots during the height of the storm.

With such strong winds and wet snow, the threat of long lasting power failures is greatest in the spots I just mentioned.

The storm, as forecast last night, will extend well into central and northern New England, where winter storm warnings are up for about a foot of snow,

The big snows look like they'll miss far northwestern New England, where it looks like at most, just a few inches of snow from Burlington, Vermont on north and west.

Don't expect the snow to melt anytime soon once the blizzard is over. Colder than normal weather is likely for probably the next couple of weeks, with maybe one or two days thrown in that aren't too, too cold.

It might even snow in the blizzard zone again on Friday, but that storm, if it forms, won't be anything close to what's coming tonight and tomorrow.

No comments:

Post a Comment