Wild Storm To Impact Region

The last time we chatted, a plethora of watches were up across Southern New England.  Tonight, there are a plethora of warnings posted for a myriad of hazards.  The coastal flood threat cannot be overstated for Eastern MA, the Cape, and Islands.  Winds will also gust at 60-80 MPH across the SE MA with wind gusts up to 60 in Eastern MA and Southern Worcester County.  There is a Winter Storm Warning for the Berkshires and Northern Worcester County and a Winter Weather Advisory for Southern Worcester County.  Flood watches and warnings are posted in Rhode Island and Eastern MA.   Got all that?  Find all your local hazards here.

NWS PM Headlines

Here’s what the radar looks like tonight.  Snow is cranking in Western NY/PA and Detroit has seen healthy snow today too.

WSI Intellicast Northeast Regional Radar

The first low that is tracking northeast into Western NY is beginning to give way to a new surface low off the east coast.  Heres is the low-level water vapor satellite.   This system is tapping moisture from both the Atlantic and the Pacific.

GOES 16 LL WV Satellite (image COD NEXLAB)

At 1 AM, the transfer of energy from the land low to the ocean low will be nearly complete.  That is also the time precipitation will begin in most of Southern New England.

WPC Surface Fronts/Precipitation Friday 1 AM

Outside of the highest peaks in the Berkshires and the highest points in Northern Worcester County, this should be all rain.  So sorry my teacher friends, but it looks like you will have to suffer through a full day of school.  It will rain, heavy at times, through early afternoon.  Heres is the simulated radar from midnight through 12 PM.

23z HRRR Simulated Radar 12 AM – 12 PM Friday (image WeatherModels.com)

Winds will begin to ramp up tonight, but you will really notice an increase late morning into early afternoon.  The winds peak late afternoon/early evening across the Cape and Islands.  If I was taking bets, I’d set the over/under for max wind gust at 83 MPH and I’d take the over.  There will be structural damage to homes in this area.  Also around this time, rain will begin to change to snow in Central and Eastern MA.  The atmosphere will have to cool down a bit through either A) intense precipitation B) adding a Northerly Component to the wind direction and C) loss of daylight.      Odds favor 3-6″ of snow in Southern Worcester County with the highest totals in Northern Worcester and out west.

NWS Snow Forecast

BUT.  This is complex.  In late season winter storms, they can often overperform because many different meteorological factors go into these beasts and the field of meteorology does not yet understand them all.  So this is also possible, but not likely.  This would happen if it starts snowing shortly after noontime.  I believe snow begins after 4 PM in the Worcester area and closer to 6 in Eastern MA and RI.

NWS Worst Case

In any case, there will be a widespread 2-3″ of precipitation with locally 4-5″ in SE MA!  That is the reason for the flood watch in SE MA and RI.  These heavy rains will also contribute to the coastal flood threat as runoff will make it harder for the waters to recede.  The truly devastating part of this storm will be multiple high tide cycles of near major flooding.  The long and large wind field will create huge waves on top of the storm surge which is already enhanced by the full moon.  Oh, and sea level has risen a few inches over the past few decades.  That said, many regions along the MA coast also saw multiple rounds of major flooding from two different storms in 1978 so it is not unprecedented.  Find your local river/coast tide/flood forecast HERE.

The combination of high winds and heavy wet snow will make for a moderate to high risk for power outages all throughout SNE.   This is looking like one hell of a storm.

-Zack Green

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