|Three storm chasers died in this horrific collision at|
a remote intersection near Spur, Texas Tuesday.
A winter storm watch is now in effect for Rutland, Addison and Windsor, Bennington and Windham counties in southern Vermont.
Winter storm watches are up as well for parts of southern New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts Friday night and Saturday.
The watches go into effect late Thursday and early Friday and continue into Saturday.
The areas under the watch look - at this point at least - will be in a "sweet spot" where it will be cold enough for precipitation to come down as mostly snow. Areas south of the winter storm watch are more apt to get mostly rain.
Places north of the winter storm watches face lighter precipitation than those areas within the watches.
As always, note that this forecast could change, with the expected heaviest snow zones shifting north or south, based on the latest information.
It's pretty much a given that whoever gets snow will find that it will be quite wet and heavy. That raises the spectre of tree and power line damage.
This one is going to messy. Stay tuned, folks!
PREVIOUS DISCUSSION 10 a.m. Wednesday:
The southern United States is in the midst of a multi-day severe weather outbreak as a series of storm systems moves generally west to east across the country.
One of those systems looks like it will probably produce yet another late season snowfall here in New England.
More on that after we get through unpacking this big severe weather outbreak first.
The bottom line is this severe weather outbreak is very likely going to get worse today and tomorrow, mostly because the severe storms will move into more highly populated areas.
There were at least 14 reports of tornadoes, mostly in western and northern Texas yesterday, and dozens of reports of damaging winds and hail.
The most tragic part of Tuesday's tornadoes - by far - was the death of three storm chasers near Spur, Texas, east of Lubbock.
They weren't actually caught in a tornado, but one of storm chasers ran a stop sign at a remote intersection, and collided with another storm chaser.
Media reports say a Sububan driven by Kelley Williamson, 57, of Cassville, Missouri, collided with a Jeep driven by Corbin Jaeger, 25, of Peoria, Arizona. Both drivers died at the scene, as did Delane Yarnell, 55, also of Cassville, Missouri, who was a passenger in Williamson's Suburban.
I wasn't there, so I don't know precisely what was going on at the time, but I have to wonder if the adrenaline shot of getting a chance to see a tornado distracted any of the storm chasers from more seemingly pedestrian concerns, like stop signs.
No matter, this was a terrible incident, and let's hope nothing like this happens again.
None of Tuesday's tornadoes hit populated areas, but winds gusted to 95 mph near El Reno Oklahoma. Those winds toppled tractor trailers on nearby highways. Winds gusted to 83 mph in Fort Worth, Texas, and softball-sized hail pummled areas near Wichita Falls, Texas.
One tornado did hit Rockwell, Texas, damaging or destroying several homes.
|A tornado near Stamford, Texas Tuesday. Photo via|
Twitter from Basehunters Chasing.
Tornadoes, hail and damaging winds are all threats in this region today.
If anything, things get worse on Thursday.
Even more populated areas than today's target area are under risk Thursday in the Ohio, Tennessee and lower Mississippi valleys. This includes cities like Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee, Louisville, Kentucky and Tupelo, Mississippi.
Even more menacing, atmospheric conditions are expected to change somewhat to favor more of a risk of strong, long-lasting tornadoes. We'll keep on eye on this.
Beyond that, there are tornado risks through early next week in varying areas of the South, from Texas to the Southeast.
NEW ENGLAND SNOWS?
The strong storm that is creating the tornado risks today and Thursday in the south will move toward the Northeast Friday and then reconfigure itself as a nor'easter off the East Coast.
Big snowstorms can occur in New England in April, so if this nor'easter drops a lot of snow, it won't be unprecedented. But it would be a cruel April Fool's joke if a snowstorm develops.
The forecast for this one is wicked tricky. Temperatures throughout New England will be marginal for rain versus snow. Sometimes, there's still a ready supply of very cold air over Quebec that would guarantee snow with this type of system.
But this time, the cold air supply isn't super duper strong.
The forecast could change VERY radically from what the current thinking is, but here's what forecasters are hinting at right now:
It looks like the heaviest precipitation would fall over central and southern New England. Northern Vermont, New York and New Hampshire would be far enough away to get only moderate amounts of precipitation.
|An early guess at weekend snow accumulations|
from the National Weather Service in South Burlington,
Vermont. Click on the image to make it bigger
and easier to see. Also keep in mind this
forecast will surely change as we draw closer
to the event.
There's a very good chance that all of northern and central and parts of southern New England will get accumulating snows Friday night and early Saturday.
In valleys, snow could easily be mixed with rain, even in northern areas, which might hold down accumulations somewhat.
The mountains of central New England - say the southern Green Mountains, the Berkshires and the Monadnocks of southern New Hampshire could get clobbered with a LOT of heavy, wet snow, which of course would cause a lot of power failures.
Often, heavy precipitation cools the air somewhat. If that's the case, what would have been rain could change to snow in the areas that I just described.
Again, this forecast has a huge bust potential. Don't count on anything yet, but pay attention to forecasts as we get closer to the end of the week, as there could be some nasty effects from this in some areas.