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Soaking rain for many then a blizzard!

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Well so far not too many surprises out of this system that is definitely treating others better than some. The area from I-70 southwards seems to be doing pretty good with the rain, while farther north amounts are not overly impressive. Here is a look at the doppler estimates of the rainfall so far with this system. Some of the maps that I posted yesterday did a reasonable job showing the potential with this system.

Looks like the biggest rain was a small core in northern Franklin County. A lot of areas south of I-70 now coming in with about 3/4″ of rain (as of this writing) while the amounts really drop off north of the 152 corridor on the northside.

There is not a tremendous push to the front and as of 7AM it’s still just NW of the metro, so with that slow progress, more rain is expected and it may tend to linger for awhile today, at least through lunch or so, although the heavier rain is winding down now. Here is the surface map with the temperatures in RED…notice the air behind the front is not really that cold for early February.


As far as our next storm goes over the weekend, I think that from a rainfall standpoint this event will be more significant than the weekend system. Colder air will come in behind the next weekend storm but I’m really not overly concerned with snow for awhile around here.

Now onto the NE part of the country, where indications are a near if not historic blizzard may be on the way for at least New England, it appears NYC will be the tricky forecast in this potential crippling blizzard. The data last night is still off the charts in terms of snow potential for the Boston area. Take a look at this next image showing the potential snowfall from a variety of models. The lowest is around 1 foot and the highest is around 4 FEET!

ScreenHunter_03 Feb. 07 07.38

This is an ensemble model called the SREF model that combines other models together. This graphic shows the individual runs with the solid black line the mean of the runs combined. Yes the mean is close to 30″. This is fascinating because the biggest snow in Boston history was I think 27.5″ back in 2003 or so. So the mean is higher than the record. Wow! Again there are some of those individual models cranking out MORE than 4 fEET of snow! Can you imagine? Oh and then throw in 50-70 MPH winds to boot! Needless to say a LOT of warnings are in effect for that part of the country. Take a look.

I wanted to show you a model map, this is for the 900 mb level, or a few thousand feet off the surface, where frictional effects are cancelled out. This image shows the storm off SE MA, don’t be surprised it it acquires an “eye-like” feature. I wanted to show you the winds (in knots: 1.1 kts = 1 MPH). Those are hurricane force winds (actually close to 90 MPH) at that level. Now the surface winds won’t be as strong, due to friction but still…an amazing storm to watch from afar.


Here are the snow totals off the hi-res NAM model, which doesn’t clobber Boston as bad, but it’s still pretty bad.

What will be interesting to me is whether or not enough maritime air can be sucked into the storm and create a changeover for the immediate coastal area. There is a LOT of “warm relative to average” water just off the coastline. Those little “orange” blotches off the NE coastline are pockets of “warm” water, compared to average and will help, in addition to the various other jetstream interactions, to energize the storm even more.

If you take a look at this link, you can see there are some pretty warm waters (50s) off the coast of Long Island. If you go farther up the coastline the waters are closer to about 40°.

It will be an amazing storm to watch over the next few days. Needless to say IF you’re traveling to the NE part of the country, odds are you won’t be if you’re leaving after today. Airlines are now letting you alter your plans for free. NYC is on the edge of this thing (and could still see over 12″ of snow if it works out), but farther up the coastline I’d be seriously thinking about it!


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