Friday, February 10, 2017

Insane New England Nor'easter Ends; Another One Looming?

Beautiful satellite shot of the nor'easter
at around sunset Friday. 
We here in Vermont mostly missed out on an insane nor'easter on Thursday, but there's a chance, just a chance, we could get in on the action with another biggie Sunday night.

More on that in a minute.  First let's recap Thursday's storm.

There was a widespread zone of 12 to 18 inch accumulations from New York's Hudson Valley all the way to the Massachusetts coast.

The snow was heavy enough and the wind strong enough to officially declare the storm a blizzard in Boston, Providence, and other areas of eastern New England.

What made that accumulation remarkable was most of it came down in just a few hours. A band of super intense snowfall slowly made its way across southern New England on the back side of the storm, dumping the snow at a rate of up to three inches per hour.

There was tons of lightning and thundersnow with this, too. A few bolts of lightning and thundersnow happen from time to time in particularly intense nor'easters, but this one had a LOT of lightning.

Before the lightning had even completely stopped, about 120 cloud to ground lightning bolts had been detected with this storm across southern New England. Past nor'easter have had 10 or fewer such bolts in the region.

The winds were intense along the coast, too. Gust of 70 mph were reported in Hyannis, Mass. and 66 mph in Barnstable, Mass.

The highest snow totals included 19 inches in East Hartford, Connecticut and East Longmeadow, Massachusetts and 18 inches in Voorheesville, New York.

In Vermont, in the far southern end of the state, there was 11 inches in Woodford and 11.5 inches in Wilmington. This tapered down to 6 inches in Rutland, 1.6 inches in Burlington, and 0.4 inches in St. Albans.

As advertised, the weather pattern in New England (and much of the rest of the nation) will stay very active over the next several days.

Bundle up today, as it's gusty in Vermont and temperatures in many areas won't even get above 10 degrees.

Next, a fairly weak storm from the west will bring us an inch or two of snow tonight and Saturday, with maybe a touch more than that in the mountains.

Then we get to Sunday. There is a potential for another serious storm, but we want to see what updated forecasts have before we commit to this.

The energy for the possible big storm Sunday night was still in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Oregon early Friday. It's hard to get a good detailed sampling of the atmosphere out in the Pacific, which makes it hard for computer models to make sense of what might be coming.

Once the energy and storminess makes it to land, there would be better sampling and hopefully, a better forecast.

As it stands now  (again, this could change) a storm from the Ohio Valley will come in during the day Sunday, causing light snow to break out in much of New England, including Vermont.

There are signs the energy from this storm will transfer to the coast, which might cause another "bomb"  - a nor'easter that develops explosively like the one we just had.

If this nor'easter developers, it could well be a little closer to the coast than the last one, which would put most of Vermont in the zone for quite a bit of snow.

Before you drop everything and run to the store screaming "BREAD AND MILK! BREAD AND MILK!" remember that the scenario for Sunday night into Monday is still iffy.

Stay tuned to later forecasts, and watch this space for updates.

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