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BUCKLEY'S BLOG: Rain for us, Boston/NY blizzard

I know many have been asking for snow, and to you I say -- head north! While a coastal low can sometimes bring the white stuff to Wilmington, this time it will just bring a whole lot of the wet stuff.Then, as it heads up the coast, it will make for a crippling blizzard. Lets talk about the possibilities here there and everywhere. 

Coastal Low - But no snow

First off this morning, the storm is really just beginning as an area of low pressure along the Gulf Coast. This is how these coastal lows usually begin. Then, as they head farther east, they "jump" over the land and reform off the coast of GA/SC/NC. This transition will happen later on today. 

As you can see from the map, the rain overspreads the area by this evening. Here's the timeline I expect:

  • Clouds increasing through lunchtime, but dry. 
  • Scattered showers moving onshore during the afternoon
  • Steady rain developing by dinnertime (5-7pm) and lasting overnight. Heavy at times

Rain totals

The rain will add up quickly as the storm intensifies offshore. Here's what our in-house model is projecting as far as accumulation from this system. In general, I'd expect to see anywhere from 1" - 2", with locally higher amounts farther north and east. 

Believe it or not, we could use the rain. After a bit of a wet spell to close out 2012, it's been dry to start 2013. We've only seen just over 2" of rain all year -- we may very well get that much during this storm alone. 

What about the Blizzard?!

The real story with this storm is what happens once it heads north of us. There are two distincts systems that will come together and join to make for a large Nor'easter.

The northern system will cross through the Great Lakes; the southern system rides up the coast like a classic Nor'easter and gets enhanced by gobbling up the smaller one. The result is a very large, powerful storm that will have high impacts for millions. The size of the storm will mean significant snow anywhere from western New York to down east Maine. 

So how much snow can they expect? That's the big question. There are 4 main computer models I use in house to predict snowfall totals. I'm posting them all below. 

NAM Model:

GFS Model:

EURO Model:

RPM Model:

So what does that mean? Of course, the exact totals for individual cities can be argued at this point, and it will vary greatly locally, but it is safe to say that this should be a crippling blizzard for a large majority of New England. 

Boston / Portland / Providence / Hartford will likely be slammed with 30-50 mph wind gusts and disruptive heavy snowfalls as high as 1-2 feet. SOMEONE in metro Boston could get 30"+. New York City will see a plowable snow from the system with some mixing with rain at first, but totals higher than one foot are still possible there. Philadelphia looks to be spared from a high-impact winter storm.

If you have any travel plans to the Northeast Friday / Saturday, it's safe to say your travel will be severely impacted - and you may need to reschedule.

Ahh the joys of winter! That's it for now. Thanks for reading.

Remember to "like" me on Facebook for content throughout the day, and follow me on Twitter @TimBuckleyWX

- TB 


By: Tim Buckley

What would happen if no one could drive?

I've been though this before.
Now the Guv of Mass has declared all auto travel to STOP at 4pm

Now THAT is


Big many inches of

Big many inches of rain fell here yesterday? Seem to never stop from 2:00 PM Thursday...throughout the night. (2/07/13)+(2/08/13)
My neighbor pulled out his blue prints on building an Ark late yesterday...but found he couldn't afford a building permit. That worked out though...because he only owns 1 cat and 1 dog (of his own) to begin the re-population process, but both pets have been fixed...not that it would have mattered if they hadn't been :-)
Back to my question about the rain amounts.........

Check this forecast out!

Green Bay, Wisconsin area,

Green Bay, Wisconsin area, and all of Michigan too on 2/7/13:


BRR... No thanks! :)

Hey Tim

On that south pole forecast they are having snow flurries but the relative humidity is really low.
When we have rain we typically say RH is 100%.
Is that a function of the extremely cold air?


Good question

In order to get precipitation, the RH does not actually need to be 100% near the surface. For example, earlier today when the rain began, our RH was 75% in Wilmington. Now, it has creeped up to 90%.

What happens is often times the layers of air above the ground will have higher RH near 100% and become saturated to create rain or snow. That rain or snow falls into the surface air with some evaporation which tends to raise the humidity of the lower air as well, "saturating" the ground level air.

I didn't see the observation with flurries at the South Pole, but in general it is a very dry place. With low RH, a lot of the precip (snow) generally evaporates before hitting the ground, but some probably was squeeking through.

- TB


I come from southeastern Mass and have family to the west and south of Boston. All are getting "prepped" for a big one.
The maximum snowfall amounts are creeping south over time in the model runs and I don't think they'll get lucky with a changeover to rain.
My hope is that it's the light and fluffy kind of snow - drifting is worse mind you but shoveling is better.

Re: Mass snow

They will get hammered with some big wind and big snow. Temps in the mid 20's for the bulk of the snow will make for a lighter / fluffier type snow than is typically seen there. At the same time, that means the same amount of water makes for a larger snow depth. I know from growing up in Upstate NY that the fluffy stuff is better than the wet stuff!


I was there for the blizzard of 78 where we got 36 inches worth. My poor city's snowfall removal budget consisted of praying for rain (at least thats what it seemed like).
Non-essential driving was banned for a week - we walked everywhere.
I'm glad I'm here



Praise God!

How I love for it to rain here in Southeastern NC. The very sound of rain is beautiful, and how it cleans the air and makes the outdoors smell fresh. cleans the cleans the air...but lands it right on our vehicles resulting in the spots from acid rain eating up the paint.
Guess a garage is in order...huh?
My Mom used to say "A big snow always kills germs in the air"...until I asked her why so many people catch a cold and the flu afterwards... :-(