Since we are in the middle of March Madness, how about a basketball analogy…this storm was a real ankle breaker. We got crossed up. In other words, it gave us a few good head fakes and we didn’t know which way to go. Today it looks like we are going to get dunked on.
In yesterday’s blog I went into detail about how the model forecast process works so check that out if you want more info. But the point is that with each model cycle over the last few days we got a very different indication of how much snow we would get. Part of the problem is that there will likely be a fairly sharp gradient or cut-off between those that get heavy snow and those that get flurries. A distance of only 50 miles could be the difference between 1" or 10" of snow. So, with each model cycle as the storm track jogged a few miles in one direction or another the forecast changed dramatically.
Here we are about 12 hours away from the first flakes are there is still some uncertainty. The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warming for the Boston area south to the canal. A "warning" means that at least 6" of snow is expected in a 12 hour period. Meanwhile, areas to the north and west of Boston remain under a Winter Storm Watch. A "watch" means that at least 6" of snow is possible in a 12 hour period. To put it simply, even at this late hour the National Weather Service isn’t confident enough to know exactly where the cut-off for heavy snow will be.
One thing has been fairly consistent all along. It appears that the heaviest snow will fall in a band that will set up somewhere over southeast Mass, likely over Plymouth County. What still remains to be seen…will rain mix in just south and east of there. As the storm track jogs one way or another so do the temperatures. A slightly more westward track means slightly warmer weather for the Cape and the Islands. In that case, a mixture of rain will likely limit snow totals there. A slightly more eastward track means cooler weather, and the bull’s-eye for heavy snow may extend out over the Cape and the Islands.
Bottom-line…stay tuned! The situation is still unfolding. In the meantime, I will take comfort in knowing that predicting the weather is still easier that predicting the NCAA tournament bracket.