Thursday, March 30, 2017

Slushy Messy Winter Storm Still Due In New England Friday

Latest guess from the National Weather Service in
South Burlington, Vermont as to how much snow
we'll get in the next storm. Click on the image
to make it bigger and easier to see. 
A variety of winter weather warnings, watches and advisories are in effect across much of New England and parts of New York Friday as a winter storm-in-spring still seems like a good bet.

This storm is going to be particularly hard to forecast in terms of how much snow will accumulate.

Snow forecasts are always tricky anyway, no matter what time of year, because just a subtle shift in the path of a storm can change how much snow falls in a particular area.

It's even dicier now.

It's spring, the temperature is marginal between rain and snow, so a degree or two difference in temperature can mean a big change in whether you get a huge thump of snow, or just a slushy coating.

Generally speaking, for most of us, the mountains are sure to get much more snow than the valleys. The hill towns usually get more snow in any given storm anyway, but this time, many valleys will be warm enough for the snow to mix with or even change to rain for a time.

That's particulary true during the day Friday. The storm will have us under a thick cloud cover, as most storms do, but this time of year, the sun is strong enough so that a little of the sun's heat can get through some of the thickest clouds.

That means valleys could warm up enough to bring on rain. Or the snow will largely melt as it hits.

After sunset is when the bulk of the snow accumulation will come, because the sun isn't around to contribute any heat.

It's still looking like the heaviest precipitation will come down in central and southern New England, with somewhat lighter amounts closer to the Canadian border.

The best guess for accumulations through Saturday morning, is as follows, and it's subject to change:

Two to four inches: The Champlain Valley of Vermont and New York, the valleys of western Rutland and Bennington counties, Vermont and right along and just north of the Canadian border. Also the low and middle elevations of cental and western Massachusetts

Three to seven inches: All of central and northern Vermont except the Champlain Valley and the immediate Canadian border, northern New Hampshire, the Lake George/Saratoga area of New York, higher elevations in central Massachusetts

Six to twelve inches: High elevations of central and southern Vermont, much of southern New Hampshire away from the coast, pieces of inland southwestern Maine and mid and high elevations of the Adirondacks.

Remember, there's a high bust potential in these preliminary forecasts. As noted, a slight shift in temperature by a degree or two, up or down, will make an enormous difference in how much snow you get at your house.

All of this snow is going to be wet and heavy. Places that get a lot of it have a very good chance of seeing trees, branches and power lines break, so be prepared to lose your electricity, just in case.

The snow and a little rain will taper off Saturday. The sun will probably break out Sunday, which will melt a little bit of the new snow. But between the new snow and what already exists, it's going to be a long process, especially since I don't see signs of any super warm spring air coming into the Northeast over the next couple of weeks.

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