Forecast discussion: As expected, the first snowflakes began to fall around parts of Connecticut and Rhode Island around 1 p.m., with light snow falling around 2 p.m. However, the current radar images have shown some moderate snow bands pushing through much of Rhode Island by 3 p.m. This has already created an inch of snow in Pawtucket, RI, which is north of Providence. Parts of New Bedford and southern Plymouth County had moderate snow until 4 p.m. At this time, Boston is quiet, with light snow moving into Fall River and New Bedford. A Blizzard Warning goes into effect at 7 p.m. tonight, and a Coastal Flood Advisory goes into effect at 6 a.m. Sunday until 11 a.m. Due to the astronomical high tide, along with strong northwest winds, some coastal flooding is possible for parts of Boston, and along the shoreline towards the Cape. Parking bans and restrictions are in place for several towns and cities. To view them, click here.
This snow is ahead of a low pressure system over western Pennsylvania. As we move into this evening, the low will weaken, as a new low over New Jersey forms. This low will intensify as we move through this evening. Computer models at this time have the central pressure of the low as low as 970 millibars. This would be the equivalent of a Category 2 hurricane during the summer. As we move through the overnight, the snow bands will become moderate to occasional heavy. We will see another four to seven inches by daybreak, on top of the two to four inches we receive before midnight. On top of this, as the low strengthens, the winds will begin to increase, especially as we head towards dawn. This will make streets full of snow even more difficult to maneuver, as the snow begins to drift and blow. I’m expecting winds of 30-35 mph within Boston, so winds could reach 50-60 mph as you move closer to the coast. Wind gusts of 50-55 mph are expected, with wind gusts near 75 mph along the south shore. This could lead to several power outages, due to broken limbs or branches. Still, the winds could simply snap power lines.
Snow should be ending around eastern Massachusetts by 4 p.m. I have not seen much change to the snowfall map for the region. I’m still projecting 10-15 inches for the Boston area, with about 8-12 inches for the rest of the state, including the Islands. To view the snowfall map, click here. However, a second blast of Arctic air will move through Southern New England. In fact, a Wind Chill Advisory will be in effect from 4 p.m. Sunday until 8 a.m. Monday, as temperatures fall to about 3 below zero. However, if you add the average 23 mph winds, the wind chill temperature will feel more like an average of 25 below zero to our bodies.
For the holiday on Monday, we will see mostly sunny skies, as high pressure builds a ridge over the area. Despite the bright sunshine, temperatures will remain bitterly cold, with highs only in the lower teens. Temperatures will hover near 0 Monday evening. We will see some warmer air return to New England on Tuesday, as high temperatures reach the lower 20’s.
The good weather will quickly come to an end by the middle of the week. The computer models continue to show a low pressure system developing over southwest Louisiana. This low will work along the east coast Monday and into Tuesday. The low will track to the south and east of Rhode Island, keeping us on the colder side of the low. Therefore, the precipitation will be all snow from this system. It will begin early Wednesday morning, and end by midnight.
As we head into the next weekend, a high pressure ridge will remain firm over the east coast. The high will give us dry weather, and keep any storm systems away from us, at least into next Saturday. Unfortunately, I still do not see any type of early thaw to help us melt away the many feet of snow still on the ground. Highs only reach the lower 20’s, with overnight lows mostly in the single digits.
72 hour forecast:
Tonight: Light to moderate snow through the evening, with winds increasing approaching dawn. We will see a low of 18. Four to seven inches is possible by daybreak.
Sunday: Moderate to possibly heavy snow from 7 a.m. to noon. Snow tapers off through the afternoon, and ending after 4 p.m. Winds will be increasing and becoming near gale force. Poor visibility is expected for driving. We will see a high of 18 with winds from the north-northwest at 30-35 mph and wind gusts of 50-55 mph at times. We will see 4-7 more inches of snow before it all ends. Temperatures fall rapidly during the afternoon.
Sunday night: Skies becoming partly cloudy and dangerously cold. We will see a low of 1 below zero, with winds from the west-northwest at 18-25 mph and occasional gusts of 35-40 mph. This will make wind chills feel more like 23 to 28 below zero.
Monday: Mostly sunny and windy with the high only reaching 13.
Monday night: Partly cloudy skies by dawn and still bitterly cold with a low of 1.
Tuesday: Increasing clouds through the day and warmer with a high of 24.
Tuesday night: Light snow starting by 2 a.m. We will see a low of 17.
Wednesday: Light to moderate snow and breezy. Snow ends by midnight. Highs 25-28, lows 8-11.
Thursday: Partly sunny. Highs 19-22, lows 5-8.
Friday: Mostly sunny. Highs 22-25, lows 4-7.
Saturday: Sunny to start, with overcast skies by the late evening. Highs 21-24, lows 9-12.