Thursday, December 29, 2016

Big Slamming Nor'easter Still On For Today, Tonight In New England

One map of expected snow accumulations. Pinks are the heavier
accumulations - over six inches. Note the sharp
cutoff in amounts just inland fro the coast
and in the Chanplain Valley in Vermont 
The forecast for the big nor'easter set to hit New England over the next 24 hurs has stayed remarkably the same overnight, though things look, if anything, a little more intense than the scenario we were looking at yesterday.

Vermont specific forecasts are further down in this post, but the New England overview is definitely something to behold.

I mentioned last night that the computer models were battling a bit, with the American model bringing the storm over Boston, then into the eastern Maine, while the European model had the storm staying just offshore.

This morning the models have all pretty much come into agreement, with the American model appearing to be the correct one now. (Go USA!!)

That means central and northern New England will take the brunt of the storm. New Hampshire and Maine look to be the big winners here.

Snow was spreading across New York and into New England as of 8:30 a.m. and will encompass all of New England during the day today.

With the storm track over the coast, the snow will change to rain everywhere along the coast from southern New England all the way up to Bar Harbor, Maine and beyond.

A zone from northern Massachusetts, eastern Vermont, New Hampshire away from the coast and western Maine are still in for 12 to 18 inches of snow, most of which will come down in just a few hours tonight as the storm races by.

I still think there might be spot accumulations of two feet in and near the White Mountains, a couple spots in western Maine and maybe in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom.

National Weather Service meteorologists in New Hampshire are considering upgrading the winter storm warning to a blizzard warning in some parts of the state because of the expected heavy snow combined with strong winds.

This storm is the bomb. It's not slang. This is a classic, "bomb" defined as a storm that strengthens super, super fast, blowing up into a monster like a bomb.

What that means is precipitation will come down really hard near and just to the northwest of the storm, winds will increase big time, and  thunderstorms could easily sprout in some spots.

There's a good chance of thunder snow tonight, especially over eastern New Hampshire and western Maine.  Snow in those areas could come down at a rate of up to three inches per hour. Note that snow plows on highways can't keep up with that, so travel could become nearly impossible for a time tonight in some areas.

The White Mountains region of New Hampshire is the bullseye for deep snow, with one to two feet still likely. There's going to be so much snow, and so much wind creating unstable snow drifts that an avalanche watch has been issued for Mount Washington and surrounding mountain terrain, including Tuckerman and Huntington ravines.

Back country ski adventurers might want to postpone a trip to that region, despite all the new powder.

Though there will be rain along the coast, the wind will really howl there. Wind advisories are up for coastal Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and downcoast Maine. These advisories might be upgraded to high wind warnings as gusts later tonight might go over 60 mph.

There's already a high wind warning and coastal flood advisory in Downeast Maine for gusts expected to get to 60 mph or more.


The National Weather Service in South Burlington has not changed its forecast philosphy at all since last night.

They, too, are pretty much sold on the American computer model. The consensus among forecasters is there will still be a sharp west to east cutoff in snow amounts in the Champlain Valley, with just a few inches right near the lake to maybe a foot once you get to the western slopes of the Green Mountains.

Winter storm warnings are still up for all of Vermont, except the Champlain Valley, where it's still a winter weather advisory. 

There's still a big bust potential, as the area that has the sharp cutoff in snow could shift just a bit. The current thinking is four to six inches in the Champlain Valley in places like Middlebury and Burlington, and perhaps six to eight inches in St. Albans, with less right along the lake shore there.

A solid 8 to 14 inches is likely through most of the rest of Vermont, with most places getting a foot or more in the eastern third of Vermont north of White River Junction.

A few places in the Northeast Kingdom will get 18 inches or more.

Blowing and drifting snow will become a problem everywhere in Vermont. Some areas will get strong southeasterly winds as the snow arrives this morning and afternoon, and everyone will get into the wind gusts tonight  and tomorrow as the wind picks up and turns to the west and northwest.

Even in places where the snow ends by noon Friday, strong winds will continue, as will the blowing and drifting snow.

Bottom line: A lousy commute home this evening, another lousy one on the way in Friday morning and an iffy one on the return trip Friday evening.

I mentioned the thunder snow possibilities in New Hampshire. There's probably a slight chance you might get some thunder during the height of the storm in the Northeast Kingdom, but I'm doubtful. Further west, I think you're out of luck in that department.

Snow will taper off fairly quickly in the lowlands and in the southeastern third of Vermont  tomorrow morning. By then, the storm will be up in northern Maine and heading into Canada.

Wet air wrapping around the storm in the northwest winds will keep heavy snow showers going in the western slopes of the Green Mountains and the Green Mountain peaks much of the day.

Ski and riders note: POWDER DAY!!!!!!!

Over in New York state, the Champlain Valley will get only a few inches of snow, but the Adirondacks will score a decent four to as much as ten inches of snow.

A couple inches of additional light snow is likely Saturday night as a weak storm blows by, but another strong storm around Tuesday will probably bring mixed precipitation and rain to the North Country. It'll go by to our west, which is not what you want for snow

I can already hear the boos and hisses with that one from the winter sports enthusiasts.

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