March Nor’easter: Breaking down the snowfall accumulation map

Roughly one day into the March Nor’easter there is already a wide range of snowfall amounts throughout Southern New England. As of 7 pm Thursday, most spots were still waiting for the snow to accumulate or re-accumulate after melting during the day. Some places, however, have more than half a foot in Northern Bristol and Norfolk Counties in Massachusetts.

At this point, many people may be confused about what to expect on the ground when the snow stops accumulating by late Friday morning. In most cases, the Right Weather accumulation map accounts for what will be on the ground Friday, not necessarily what will fall Thursday night. Let’s break it down by region.

Snow Forecast - Right Weather
Snow Forecast – Right Weather

Rhode Island

Southern RI will pick up 2-5″ of snow overnight. Most of that will accumulate between 10pm and 6am. Central RI from Kent County to Bristol County and the Providence Metro area will likely receive between 4-7″ – not a huge snow storm, but a decent one by early-March standards. Northern RI has the best chance to see 7-10″ based on the higher elevation, colder temperatures and the fact that there was already a couple of inches on the ground in NE RI at 7pm.

Cape Cod

The forecast for Cape Cod is very tough. There may be about 6″ near the Cape Cod Canal, and nothing east of Barnstable. The Falmouth area should see 2-5″. Barnstable and Hyannis are right on the edge of mainly rain and accumulating snow. It wouldn’t surprise us to see either a few inches or bare grass reported in these areas. The wind will make it especially bad on Cape Cod – with 50+ mph gusts likely through the day Friday.

Bristol/Plymouth County Massachusetts

Right Weather Interactive RadarSome of the highest snowfall totals in all of Southern New England may be in northern Bristol and northwestern Plymouth counties. Those areas saw a few inches of snow through mid-morning Thursday, and it did not melt during the day. With the snow already on the ground, as soon as night came, it started to accumulate again. Those areas are in the “best chance of 10″ zone” – and a few spots could end up with more than a foot. Southern Bristol and Plymouth counties will see a decent amount of snow, too. All but the immediate coast are in the 5-10″ zone, and that includes Fall River and northern New Bedford. Those cities are likely to be closer to 5″ than 10″, with the totals increasing as you head north to Taunton. Those living right along Buzzards Bay may see just 2-5″.

Worcester County east to Boston

This is a favored area for 10″ of heavy, wet snow. We’re confident that all of Worcester County and the Greater Boston Metro area will receive at least 6″ of snow, and some may get a heavy foot of snow. Snow should continue to readily accumulate until at least mid-morning in the hills of Worcester county with temperatures in the 20s.

Connecticut and Western MA

Most of Connecticut and Western MA should pick up roughly 6″ of snow. The exception will probably be in Coastal and SE CT where there may only be 2-5″. The Berkshires could see localized 8-10″ amounts.

Fred Campagna

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

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  1. 0″ on the ground in Providence at 2am.

    Obviously there is sinking air over RI, probably the same dynamic that causes thunderstorms to die over RI.

    I don’t buy into the marine layer causing the death of all our summer time thunderstorms. I’ve seen plenty of radar pictures where they’re rolling off the coast of NH into the Atlantic or they’re south of Long Island with plenty of vigor.
    There’s something more to the dynamic of sinking air over RI. It doesn’t effect all weather events, but it seems obvious to me that it’s a real factor that has to be researched in depth for the sake of future forecasting accuracy.

    1. Good luck trying to relate the dynamics of a 800 mile wide snow storm with individual thunderstorms. Obviously, something caused the snow hole over RI, and sinking air is a strong culprit, but it’s apples and oranges when trying to compare it to dying t-storms.

      1. Agreed, even if there was a link, I doubt that would be an easy task to relate the two. It just seems like vertically stacked cold fronts are the only thing immune to RI sink.

        I’ve seen so many nor’easters of different strength, in various positions leave RI in a dry slot. Of course, RI has been hammered by some of them too.
        Just trying to make sense of our outrageous snow hole.
        The scientist in me doesn’t like to leave anything a mystery, LOL.

        I took a drive from providence to 495 last night to see for myself, and it was a different world!

        Thanks for the response!

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