By James M. Arnold, Weather Specialist
Region – We have a nice reprieve today from the wild winter weather we have seen over the past 10 days or so. The only thing we have to be concerned with is the cold and associated low wind chill values. Through the past 10 days we have had three significant snowstorms that have delivered 7.8, 30.9 and 13.5 inches respectively here in Shrewsbury, for a total of 52.2 inches. Boston has already eclipsed their average ANNUAL snowfall by nearly 10 inches and winter is nowhere near done as yet. Once again, Worcester and Middlesex counties were especially hard hit by yesterday’s storm. Here is a link to yesterday’s snowfall reports in southern New England.
Our next chance of measurable snow will be late Wednesday night into Thursday. There is the chance of some flurries during the day tomorrow as a weak warm front moves to our north, but these will probably be pretty insignificant. Later Wednesday night yet another arctic front will be approaching from the northwest and this will likely bring a period of snow along and behind the front. To complicate matters, there looks to be a weak area of low pressure forming on the front to our west which will travel along the front and enhance the snowfall during late Wednesday night and into Thursday. The eastward progress of the front will slow and the weak disturbance will intensify once it gets over the ocean to our south. Whether this happens in time to bring heavier snow to central Massachusetts is in question, but the Cape and Islands could get several inches from this. Our snow should be ending during the morning Thursday, but likely after the morning commute. Snow accumulations from this event should be in the 2 to 4 inch range unless the storm intensifies rapidly over the ocean, and if it does, accumulations could go up a bit. Model representation of this is all over the place, as the ECMWF shows this storm bombing out with a major storm for much of southern New England, while the GFS shows nothing, and I think the outcome will be somewhere in the middle of the two outputs. Thursday afternoon will see partly cloudy and cold weather, and it will be breezy from the northwest. Thursday night will be bitter cold with lows generally around zero, perhaps as much as 5 to10 below zero in the coldest locations. Friday and Friday night will be partly cloudy and continued cold.
Saturday will be a nice mid winter’s day but all eyes will be watching what happens to our southwest. It appears that a storm will form off Cape Hatteras during Sunday and move up the coast possibly impacting New England with what has become a recent routine, a major Monday snowstorm. This event is still six days out, and trying to get a good handle on what will happen this far out is only speculation at this point. Nevertheless, there are signals that our Monday storm trend will continue for at least one more week.
Our total of 52 inches of snow in the past 10 days shows promise of increasing, and perhaps significantly, during the next week. There is the likelihood of a few more inches Thursday and the potential for a coastal storm next Monday adding to this total. Roof loading, particularly for flat roofs, is becoming a real concern. Flat roofs in particular, should be monitored for load capacities before too much additional snow falls and the weight of the current snow load reaches critical levels.
Tomorrow I will have an update on the Thursday snowfall and will of course keep an eye on the Monday potential.
James M. Arnold is a Weather Specialist working with Shrewsbury Emergency Management Agency; town of Princeton; Worcester Emergency Communications and Emergency Management Agency; Southborough Emergency Management Agency; town of Grafton and Wachusett Mountain Ski Area