After Blown Forecast, Chance For Redemption This Weekend

Forecasting the weather brings great enjoyment and satisfaction to meteorologists, but it is also extremely humbling at times.  Yesterday morning was a humbling one for many in the field.  I knew I was in trouble Monday night when a band of steady snow developed across Central Massachusetts.  I didn’t blog about the storm because I thought it was no big deal, maybe a coating to an inch in the Blackstone Valley.  Then around 4 AM, I heard the sidewalk plow going by my bedroom and when I looked out the window, I could only laugh.  There was 2-3″ already on the ground and it was still snowing good.  The precipitation shield was larger and more intense than computer guidance suggested and we ended up with more snow than anyone forecast.  It doesn’t feel good, but mother nature often reminds us who is in charge.  So I apologize and will work extra hard to try and avoid this from happening again.  There will be several chances for redemption as the atmosphere returns to a wintry pattern in the Eastern US.

1.30.2018 Snow Totals via NWS Boston

Today will be mostly dry with increasing clouds this afternoon and evening.  A few light rain/snow showers are possible tonight as a warm front moves through and there is another chance of snow tomorrow evening into Friday AM.

General Overview

It is a cold start in Southern New England this AM.  Temperatures as of 9 AM were still in the upper teens regionwide.  Temperatures are expected to rise into the upper 20’s this afternoon.  Some locations will get into the low to mid 30’s.

NDFD NWS Max Temperatures Wednesday (image Weatherbell)

As a warm front lifts northeast this evening, the resulting cloud cover will keep temperatures tonight in the 20’s.  Initially, any precipitation that falls will be snow.  No accumulation is expected south of the Pike, but it will result in some slippery travel before temperatures warm above freezing Thursday AM.  North of the MA Pike, temperatures may stay below freezing for a while.  A coating to 2″ will be possible before lunchtime.

12z HRRR Simulated Radar Thursday 1 AM (image Weatherbell)

South of the Pike, temperatures will warm into the upper 30’s and low 40’s by lunchtime.  A cold front will cross the region overnight Thursday into Friday AM.

WPC Surface Fronts/Precipitation Thursday 7 PM

The rain/snow showers will transition to a steadier snow Thursday evening.  This will certainly happen if a wave of low pressure closes off on the frontal boundary.  I don’t want to overreact to the blown forecast yesterday but it has seemed like most of our storms have been on the colder side this winter.  A plowable snow is certainly possible south of the MA Pike.

12z NAM Hires Simulated Radar Friday 5 AM (image WeatherModels.com)

Snow should let up around 7-8 AM so I don’t think schools will have to cancel.  A delay may be needed, however, especially in RI and SE MA.  How much snow?  It looks like 1-3″ in general.  Some higher totals will be possible near the canal.  I will evaluate as more data comes in today.  A blast of Arctic air will follow this cold front.   All eyes are next on a potential storm late Sunday into Monday.  This would mark the 4th time in 5 years a snowstorm hit the day after the Super Bowl if it verifies.

-Zack Green

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