Boston (CBS) – Blockbuster. Blizzard. Historically significant. Everything is on the table. We may be closing in on one of the biggest fiber esters in recent memory. There is a growing belief that a monster, multifaceted coastal storm is going to unleash its full rage in New England.
Underneath the snowfall, winds of up to 70 mph and forecast of several hours of white-out, blizzard conditions.
The National Weather Service has officially put East Massachusetts and the whole of Rhode Island in one place. Blizzard warning Until Sunday morning. Blizzard conditions are not related to the amount of snow but are actually caused by wind and visibility. Those near water may have a “white out” view as the wind blows at 60+ mph. So even if the accumulation is slightly less than other parts of the state, this warning is something we should take seriously.
The last blizzard warning was in Massachusetts on March 14, 2018. That was 1,416 days ago!
If you’ve been following throughout the week, we’ve been discussing several possible tracks and scenes. Our “uncertainty cone” started several hundred miles wide and has now shrunk to about 50 miles. The scene “out of the sea” or the Far East is turning black, and the awkward situation is becoming more and more real.
This storm should not be taken lightly. If possible, plan to stay home on Saturday. If you have to travel, travel early Saturday morning. When the snow ends by Sunday, there will undoubtedly be long travel delays, which will last even into the beginning of next week.
Storms of this size do not occur often. There was a blizzard on March 13, 2018, 4 years ago in our area. For total snowfall as we predict, you should go back to January 2018 or 2015 snowfall. The last storm in Boston had 2 feet of snow exactly 7 years ago, January 27, 2015: 24.6 inches – this is our biggest January snowstorm in Boston’s recorded history.
Boston’s blizzard record was set in February 2003 when the city dropped 27.6 inches.
Well let’s get to the details.
Light snowfall begins after midnight on Friday, mainly over the Southeast Mass, with moderate snowfall over the Southeast Mass on Saturday morning and light snow over the north and west of Boston. By Saturday morning, the snow was slowly intensifying from south to north. If you have to travel on a Saturday, travel as soon as possible.
The impact of the storm will be from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday. Only then will we begin to form the most severe snowflakes that go pinwheel in our area from south to north. Snowfall in some of these bands can reach 1 to 3 inches per hour, which can be completely blinding to strong northeast winds. Occasionally we get stuck in blizzard situations, especially near the coastal communities of Essex, Suffolk, Plymouth and Bristol districts. Expect big thunderstorms and snowfall. After 10pm the snow will finally start to fall from west to east. I would say that with the light snowfall remaining on Sunday morning, 90% of the total storm accumulation could be completed by 10pm.
60-75 mph From South Maine via Cape Cod and the islands to the entire immediate coast. This is where power outages and wind damage are most likely to occur
40-55 mph About 495 back west of I-95
25-40 mph Via most central and western masses.
It seems that we will get out of the bad situation with this storm. The peak of the wind will come in low tide (2pm). The highest astronomical wave of the day occurs at 8 a.m., just in time for the storm. So we expect light to moderate flooding in the morning.
The high tide in the evening, between 8-9 pm, is almost two feet (astronomically) lower than the morning tide.
So, when the wind blows and the sea is very turbulent, we have a little more room to move. Also, due to the high tide at night, the wind will turn more north-northwest, in a direction parallel to most parts of the coast. The exception will be on Cape Cod Bay and Cape Ann (north), those areas will be hardest hit in the evening.
How much snow:
- 12-18 ”Across Central and Eastern Masses, large part of southern New Hampshire and a good part of Cape Forest
- 6-12 ”West Mass via Vermont
- 6-12 ”for outdoor cap with very wet and heavy snow
- 3-6 ”in Nantucket due to some compounding and a glue / wet ice
- 18-28 ”(WOW!) Within the heavy bands to be formed on Saturday. This is very important, especially since it is difficult to predict. There now appears to be greater potential for banding in the southeastern Mass (in the Bristol and Plymouth districts) and northwest of Boston in West Midsex County and parts of Worcester County.
I would not dismiss isolated areas with snow up to 3 feet – I said yes 3 feet.
The snow will be very light and fluffy and the temperature will be very cold throughout the storm. The “normal” liquid to ice ratio in a blizzard is about 10: 1, which means 10 inches of ice for every inch of liquid. We expect ratios between 20: 1 and 30: 1 in this storm. Snow can be very difficult to measure due to strong winds.
We will constantly update the situation when new data arrives. To be safe, we ask that you wait. We will protect you on CBSBoston.com, WBZ-TV and CBS Boston News.
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