Major Nor’easter hits Wed PM to Friday

A storm that is leaving a trail of heavy snow from Western Canada through the Midwest to the Nation’s Capital is expected to move into the Atlantic Ocean on Wednesday and threaten Southern New England with heavy snow and rain, strong winds, and coastal flooding. The storm will not be short-lived, lasting from Wednesday afternoon through Thursday into Friday.

Right Weather Interactive RadarInitially, Wednesday night, there is the potential for several inches of heavy, wet snow to fall in most of RI and interior SE MA. As the storm slowly moves east on Thursday, there may be enough mild air around to change the snow to rain from the coast to the I-95 corridor for the duration of the storm through Friday morning. Farther inland, it will be very close between staying as snow and changing to chilly rain or mixed precipitation. The temperature will be at or above freezing (32° F) for most of the storm in most of Southern New England. As a result, when combined with the high March sun angle, there is a much better chance of accumulating snow at night compared to during the day.

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Storm Impacts

Heavy snow

Any snow that falls will be of the wet and heavy variety that caused so many downed trees and power lines during the blizzard in early February. One difference between that storm and this one is that the snow actually froze to the trees in the blizzard as the storm progressed and that increased the likelihood of branches and power lines coming down. The hardest hit areas should receive a foot or more of snow that will be difficult to shovel.

This type of snow is often referred to as “heart attack” snow because someone who is not in good physical condition can be unknowingly  susceptible to heart trouble by over-exertion while trying to clear the snow.

The favored area for the heaviest snow is not too far northwest of the I-95 corridor. A slight shift in the temperature profile with this storm will bring the heaviest snow closer to the Providence and Boston. Another area to watch for heavy snow is actually in the I-95 corridor between Boston and Providence in Norfolk County, MA.

Closer to the coast, especially in SE MA, the precipitation is more likely to be rain than snow, especially after late Wednesday night. The coast of RI is a close call because there may be enough cold air around Wednesday night for a heavy, wet accumulation before the changeover Thursday morning. The precipitation should be mainly rain on Cape Cod and the islands.

Snow Forecast - Right Weather
Snow Forecast – Right Weather

Heavy rain

The areas that do not receive heavy snow in Southeastern New England have the potential to get more than 2″ of rain from this storm between late-Wednesday and Friday afternoon. While that is not enough to lead to flash flooding, area rivers and streams will be rising, and a high water table could lead to more wet basements – similar to what happened during the late-February soaker. Some areas may receive at least 6″ of snow followed by an inch or more of rain. That would lead to quite a mess, and snow clogged storm drains may contribute to big puddles on the roads.

More storm impacts on the next page including strong winds and coastal flooding.

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Fred Campagna

President and Chief Meteorologist - Right Weather LLC AMS Certified Consulting Meteorologist #756 AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist #126

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