Monday, March 13, 2017

Monday Evening Update: Wow! This Storm Is Really Turning Into Something Big!

One forecast for the storm. Areas in bright red, pink
and very pale blue (northeastern Pennsylvania and
Maine) can expect 10 to 24 inches of snow.
That's an awfully wide area for one storm. 
I normally don't like to be a big hype monster when I do this here blog thingy, but this upcoming storm keeps getting more and more impressive.

I'm pretty sure this will be the Northeast's biggest, worst and most destructive nor'easter for the month of March since the infamous "Storm of the Century" of March 1993.

(There have been storms I consider as bad or worse than this one in other months of the year besides March.)

I'll try to update as briefly and concisely as I can this evening, and then I'll keep at it for the duration. As always, Vermont impacts will be listed beneath the overview.

Blizzard warnings with this storm have been greatly expanded to cover eastern Pennsylvania, much of New Jersey, the New York City area and the mid ad lower Hudson Valley of New York, most of Connecticut and Massachusetts and parts of coastal New Hampshire and southwestern Maine.

That's a pretty impressive area under a blizzard warning. Plus, surrounding areas near the blizzard zone will come damn close to a blizzard.

I won't call this the Storm of the Century or Historic, but it's definitely impressive.

A huge area of the Northeast, from Pennsylvania to Maine, is in for 12 to 24 inches of snow.

There will be one particular burst of snow that will move northward during the day Tuesday which will be especially  impressive. This goes from Pennsylvania to central New England. At times, snowfall rates could easily exceed four inches per hour.

This heavy burst of snow will start the day early in the morning, and move north into central and northern New England by late afternoon. The band might weaken somewhat over northern New England, but even there, two or three inch snowfall rates are certainly possible, which is really damn intense.

Combined with winds, travel during this several hour-long burst will pretty much be impossible.  There's some pretty extreme language being bandies about. The National Weather Service near Philadelphia is telling people to "shelter in place" during the height of the storm Tuesday because it will be too dangerous to be outside.

Snowfall rates will be so high that one Massachusetts forecaster said it will be "puking snow."

In coastal areas, after a serious thumping of snow with several inches per hour, precipitation will probably mix with ice or rain, making things even more difficult.

New York City, for instance, expects very roughly a foot and a half of snow, with an interval of mixed preciptation possibly thrown in.

Boston might get a foot before a changeover to a mix Tuesday.

Winds will be terrible along the coast and a fair amount inland, gusting to 50, 60 maybe even 70 mph.

With areas near the coast expected wet snow and ice, this combination could really lead to some serious power failures.

The storm will obvious cause coastal flooding too, with a storm surge combined with battering waves. I'm thinking some coastal homes structures might be severely damaged from Delaware to Maine.

The bottom line is everything is basically just going to stop in the northeastern United States on Tuesday. No travel, no business, no school, pretty much no nothing.

Any business stupid enough to require their employees to come to work in the hardest hit areas (a very broad area) deserves to go out of business.) If your employer tries to make you go to work tomorrow in the expected worse hit areas just quit your job, because your employer hates you.

Things will improve at least somewhat Wednesday in all areas except northern New England and maybe northeastern New York.

Still, it's going to take awhile to clean up this mess.


It will be snowing in at least southern Vermont by the time day breaks Tuesday. The snow will spread rapidly northward, getting to Burlington by at least 8 a.m. and the Canadian border by 9 a.m., as it looks now.

A familiar site in Vermont on the day before a big snowstorm:
The sun fades behind a thickening veil of high clouds late
this afternoon over Georgia, Vermont. 
The storm won't look that impressive in the first few hours, but don't let your guard down. The moisture will be moving into dry air now over Vermont, so it will come down lightly at first.

But that band of very heavy snow will work its way north during the day, first hitting southern Vermont in the late morning and reaching the central and northern areas during the afternoon and evening.  

The expected very heavy snow, which will be powdery, combined with increasing winds, will create very low, near zero visibility on the highways.

Plus, Vermont road crews probably won't be able to keep up with the pace of the snowfall. Our highway department people are really very good, but there is only so much they can do. When it's snowing at a rate of one to four inches per hour, you can't keep the roads clear.

So basically, if you can be home by 10 a.m. in southern Vermont and noon in the north, that will be a good thing.

I would not be surprised if most of Vermont gets 5 to 12 inches of snow in just a six hour period Tuesday.

The snow will likely lighten up to light to moderate intensity later Tuesday night and through the day Wednesday, but still continue to gradually pile up.

Worse, the winds will increase to gusts between 30 and 40 mph, so the visibility, the blowing and drifting are going to be miserable through Wednesday.

If you really must drive to work Wednesday morning, expect a really tough time out there.  Conditions won't technically reach the official definition of a blizzard, but it will be close.

Snow will gradually taper off Wednesday night and Thursday, with the last people seeing the snow stop being in the upper elevations in northern Vermont.

The National Weather Service in South Burlington expects pretty much everybody in Vermont to get 12 to 18 inches of snow out this storm, with local amounts up to two feet.

OK, that''s not the biggest snowstorm ever, but it's definitely impressive. Probably the biggest storm of the winter.

On the bright side, the snow will be powdery, which means despite the strong winds, I'm not expecting widespread or super long lasting power failures in the Green Mountain State.

But that's not a big bright side. However, it'll be best just to stay inside in Tuesday and Wednesday. Take a snow vacation, will ya?

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