Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Nor'Easter to Blast New England With Big Snow

If you like a big New England snow dump, here's your chance.
The National Weather Service in South Burlington
shows a tight west to east gradient in snow
fall expected. As little as three inches in parts of
the Champlain Valley to more than a foot
possible to the east.  

As mentioned yesterday, a nor'easter is going to dump a lot of snow on at least parts of New England. 

At this point, it looks like New Hampshire and western Maine will be the biggest winners from this upcoming storm, but a few uncertainties and questions remain, as is always the case when we're talking about a nor'easter. 

There is enough certainty that a good amount of snow will fall so that winter storm watches have been upgraded to warnings in all of New Hampshire, western Maine, all of Vermont except the Champlain Valley and northwestern Massachusetts. 

For my Vermont readers, I'll get specific about what will go on in the 802 with the storm in a bit, but first the setup and overview:


A weak looking weather system was coming across the Midwest toward the Middle Atlantic Coast this morning. 

Looks can be deceiving. It's got a lot of energy with it, and will crank up a fast-forming storm off of New Jersey or Long Island. 

The storm will get really strong really fast as it moves northeastward along the New England coast Thursday night and Friday. 

It's energy, and a nice feed of moisture from the Atlantic will give this storm plenty of water to work with. Enough cold air will be over northern and central New England to make this storm a snowy one.


At this point, the expected track of the storm would drop the heaviest snow over New Hampshire, western Maine and probably eastern Vermont. 

This has all the hints of being an exciting storm for New Hampshire with at least a foot expected, perhaps 18 inches in spots. Thundersnow is possible (paging Jim Cantore!) 

The snow is likely to be rather heavy and wet, especially in New Hampshire and western Maine, and winds will gust to at least 30 mph, so power failures are a good bet. 

With eight to 12 inches of wet snow in central and western Massachusetts, combined with wind gusts to 40 mph, there might be some power failures there, too.  
Thundersnow fan Jim Cantore might consider a trip
to New England Thursday night as there is a slight chance
of thundersnow with an anticipated nor'easter. 

It'll likely be too warm along the coast, especially from New Hampshire south, for there to be much snow with this. Looks like mostly rain there, although snow might start and especially finish the storm.

Winds could gust over 50 mph along the coast for time late Thursday night.

This is a compact storm, so the effects will be concentrated in parts of New England. The fact that the storm will probably be  compact and tightly wound makes this even harder to forecast than most nor'easters.

A very slight jog to the west or east could make a big difference. A track a little further ot the east would make the heaviest snow hit Maine and eastern Massachucetts. A bit of a turn to the west puts western Massachusets, eastern New York and Vermont in the most intense crosshairs. 


The National Weather Service in South Burlington is confident enough about this storm to put the entire state of Vermont except the Champlain Valley into a winter storm warning. (The National Weather Service in Albany, New York covers Vermont's two southernmost counties, and that office put that region under a winter storm warning, too. 

The Champlain Valley is under a winter weather advisory, because the snowfall is expected to be a little lighter there. 

At this point, the forecast has quite an west to east gradient of expected snowfall, with two to three inches in the Champlain Islands, four to six on the Vermont side of the lake, six to 12 in much of the rest of Vermont, and spot amounts of over a foot in the mountains and in the Northeast Kingdom. 

As noted above, this forecast has a high bust potential. A storm track a little to the west, and the Champlain Valley gets clobbered, too, and snowfall amounts would end up even heavier than forecast in central and eastern Vermont.

If the storm goes a little bit to the east, the Champlain Valley would get only a little snow, and the rest of Vermont would get a little less than now expected. 

It'll start snowing during the day Thursday, and the snow will pick up in intensity during Thursday night. The snow will be heavy and wet, especially during the first few hours of the storm and especially in low elevations, so watch out for that in terms of power outages, and wrecking your bak shoveling out. 

Blowing and drifting snow could be a problem on Friday as the snowfall wanes in the afternoon, but winds pick up even more by then. 


A weaker storm might drop some light snow on northern New England Saturday night, though it will probably be mixed with rain in southern New England.

A much stronger storm is likely to blow by to the west of New England during the middle of next week. Unfortunately for winter sports enthusiasts, that type of track almost always means mixed precipitation, then rain for all of New England.

Bummer, but enjoy this weekend, and the winter is still young, so more powder days will come for sure. 

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