Monday, March 13, 2017

Monday Nor'easter Update: Storm To Be Even More Intense Than First Thought

Expect lots of scenes like this-or worse- in Vermont
and the rest of the Northeast as a big nor'easter
comes in Tuesday and Wednesday.
Overall, computer models overnight have shifted the expected track of the giant nor'easter westward, closer to the coastline, and depict it as a little more intense than yesterday's forecast.

This still means a big, BIG impact across the entire Northeast. Some coastal areas will probably get a period of rain and/or mixed precipitation, and the chances for heavier snow inland have increased.

As I always do, I'll continue on with an overview and then get specific about Vermont for my Green Mountain State readers.

Winter storm warnings are now up for a huge area of the Northeast from northern Virginia to Maine. A blizzard warning has been hoisted for the New York City metro area, parts of  Long Island, southern Connecticut and New Jersey for late tonight through most of Tuesday.

This is setting up to be a terribly disruptive storm, the wildest one of the entire winter for the Northeast. A widespread area from northern Virginia to Maine and west to the eastern Great Lakes can expect a foot or more of snow out of this thing.

One example: New York's Central Park could get 20 inches of snow out this storm. New York's biggest March snowstorm on record was the great blizzard of 1888, when 21 inches fell.

So yes, it's intense, so it's going to be a windy storm. Hence the blizzard warning in New York (and the blizzard watch in eastern New England.)

Those of you outside the blizzard watches and warnings will still have to contend with a lot of blowing and drifting snow and near white-out conditions Tuesday (Except in northern New England and northern New York, where the most intense snows will hit later Tuesday and the winds will mostly wait until Tuesday night and Wednesday to really crank.

As noted, with the slight westward shift on the expected track of the storm, coastal areas could see some mixed or rain for awhile Tuesday.

Winds will also be most intense along the coast. Any snow that falls there will be wetter than the stuff that flies a bit inland, so the combination will probably lead to widespread power failures.

The nor'easter will come with a storm surge and battering waves, too, so coastal flood warnings and advisories are up from Delaware to Massachusetts.

The caveat is that there will be more adjustments to the expected path of the nor'easter. As I said, the computer models shifted the path a little westward. They might shift it a little eastward again today, who knows?

But the bottom line is this is going to be a whopper or a  storm. Stock up on your food and gas  today before the storm hits. I'm sure many employers, if they're responsible, will tell their workers to stay home tomorrow across the entire Northeast, as that will be the safest thing to do

Don't drive, but if you absolutely must, which is crazy, stock your car now with extra blankets and nonperishable food and water and such, in case you get stuck. And make sure the gas tank is full.

The storm will taper off Wednesday the more south you go, but continue on in much of New England.

No matter what, don't literally kill yourself shoveling snow. Take your time, and if you're honest with yourself and decide you're not up to it, leave it. The snow will melt eventually. Or you can get pull some neighborhood teenager away from his or her smart phone long enough to do the shoveling. They need the exercise.


The storm is heading roughly from south to north, so we will be getting into the storm here in the Green Mountain State a little later than places like Philadelphia, New York and southern New England.

The latest thinking on snow accumulations in and
around Vermont from the National Weather Service
in South Burlington. Click on the map to make
it bigger and easier to read. 
You'll have plenty of time today to prepare, like get groceries and stuff like that because the weather will be cold, but benign. Just that increasing high, thin cloud cover you always get the day before a big snow.

Snow will arrive in southern Vermont in time for the Tuesday morning commute and spread across northern Vermont to the Canadian border by mid to late morning.    

The snow will come down heavily at times Tuesday afternoon and night, and on into Wednesday.

Plan on a terrible drive home Tuesday afternoon and an even worse one to work Wednesday morning if you're silly enough to go.

It's going to be a fairly slow moving storm, so at least some snow will conitnue to fall into Wednesday night. The National Weather Service in South Burlington expects most of Vermont to get at least a foot of snow out of this, with perhaps, just perhaps a bit less than that in the Champlain Valley.

Some favored locations, especially in the mountains, could end up with two feet of fresh powder.

As noted above, this will be a very windy storm. We probably won't quite reach blizzard criteria here in Vermont, but it'll be close enough. The snow will be powdery, and winds gusting over 30 mph Tuesday night and Wednesday will lead to whiteouts, which as you know is very scary out on the roads.

Expect some very deep snowdrifts, too.

It bears repeating that the expected path of this storm could wobble a little to the east or west, so the forecast could still change. It doesn't take much of a shift in a nor'easter's storm track, or its forward speed, to change the amount of snow we get.

If the storm ends up being even a little more toward the coast and slows down, we'll get more snow here in Vermont. If it shifts a little east, the northwestern portion of the state will get a little less.

Of all the computer models, the American model is the least bullish for heavy snow in Vermont. The American model has the storm a little more to the east and a weaker feed of moisture into Vermont than the other models.

Even if the American model is right and all the other models are wrong, we're still in for quite a bit of snow and wind.

More "good" news. There's the possibility of another substantial snowstorm this coming weekend, but I don't have time to get into that now. Stay tuned for updates.


  1. Woo Hoo!

    By 'american model' you mean the GFS not the NAM (North American Model), right? The NAM seemed pretty snowy.

    1. Yes, should have been more clear. GFS is the "American Model" I referred to. NAM has generally been trending the most coastline hugger with this thing.

  2. That's what I thought, just checking... i'm an amateur at this so was wondering if i was getting my models confused.
    Latest NAMs that just came out really slam Vermont in the afternoon. Really impressive. Should be fun, except for those who have to drive in it.

  3. Yes, the models are still ticking upward a bit for Vermont. Looks like bullseye might be NE Pennsylvania to southern Vermont. I'll probably do an update this evening. I should have it posted by 6 p.m.