Location, Location, Location

You’ve heard us say it a lot with this upcoming winter storm:  “It’s all about location.”  If you haven’t heard yet, there is a winter storm on the way – but not a “nor’easter,” technically.  In order to be a nor’easter, you need strong winds out of the NE, but that only happens for a brief time with this event.  In fact, our wind component is really from the SE for most of this event, which will push the rain/snow line to the NW.  There just isn’t enough cold air in place to make for all snow all around S. New England…

With this storm, there will be snow, there will be rain, there will be wind… “but what will I see where I live?”  Above is the updated snow map – which is very similar to last night’s forecast, only the gradient is even tighter.  It’s almost an “all or nothing” storm, where Fitchburg is in the 6-9″ area, Westford may get an inch and Concord may get only rain.  Tricky forecast.

Unfortunately, the places that get snow will get wet/heavy snow…. none of the fun fluffy stuff.  However, the moisture is good – because if you’ve been keeping up at all, 36% of Massachusetts is still under “extreme drought” conditions (according to the US Drought Monitor).  Yes, when it comes to chipping away at that precip deficit, snow helps too.  If you take any snow that we see tomorrow and melt it down, we’re looking for about 0.75″-1.00″ of water.  For those of us that see all rain tomorrow (still in that 0.75″-1.00″ range), that is a good grip of rain which will likely lead to ponding in some areas.  You get the idea though, that Thursday afternoon and evening is going to be a mess.  The timeline on this event is noon-ish to midnight.

The Thursday morning commute should be “as usual.”  We wake up tomorrow to just cloudy skies.  As I mentioned, the action starts to move in around midday, and it’s outta here by midnight (this is a quick-moving, rapidly-intensifying system).  By Friday morning, we should be back to normal-ish… though, temps are expected to drop down to the freezing mark or just below, which will mean we’ll need to be aware that ice is a good probability after a wet and messy Thursday.  Here’s your travel forecast:

The other component is wind, which will strengthen through the day tomorrow, and really peak a couple of hours either side of midnight.  For most of us, this may rattle the windows a bit while you’re trying to sleep, or blow the BBQ cover off – but for Cape Ann and Cape Cod, as well as Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, gusts could occasionally get up to 50-55mph.  This could take down some tree branches/power lines and possibly cause some scattered power outages.