8 February 2013

Severe Blizzard Bears Down on Boston and Much Of New England

Posted by Dan Satterfield

From the NOAA High resolution WRF Model. This is predicted snowfall. The yellow areas are over 2 feet. The pink is over 30 inches!

The intensity of the low pressure (a classic nor’easter) will bring gusts to hurricane force along the New England coast. The image below (courtesy of Penn State Meteorology) shows surface winds (in knots) at midnight Friday night.

Notice the large area of sustained 50 knot winds (purple area).

Below is the surface pressures for Late Friday. Meteorologists call a rapidly deepening low pressure system like this a “bomb” because it looks like a bomb hit the weather map! The color bands are a measure of the temperature of the lower part of the atmosphere. The “540 line” is a fair to good approximation of the rain snow line. Closer to the coast you usually need to see a lower thickness of around 534 decameters for snow. A good explanation of thickness for non -meteorologists is here.

Image from the WRF model ctsy. WSI

Boston will get the worst of this storm with winds over 50 and over two feet of snow. When it comes to Boston blizzards my friend Harvey Leonard at WCVB is the expert. Here is his latest forecast of the storm.

Travel will be nearly impossible from New York northward by late tomorrow evening. This is going to be a blizzard that is talked about for decades. It may rival the great blizzard of 78.