3.22.14 Technical Look at Mid-Week Storm

Published 03/22 2014 07:26PM

Updated 03/22 2014 07:52PM

A major storm will take shape off the New England coastline next week, but let's put one thing out there right off the bat: most of it will likely miss our area. Still, it has the potential to be a biggie for parts of Southeastern Massachusetts.

Let's set the stage first. Another shot of cold arctic air is right now invading the northeast. Temperatures will be near record cold values Monday, ensuring there's plenty of cold for this storm to work with. In fact, the difference in temperature between the cold northeast and warmer southeast is partially what will give rise to this storm- systems feed off of temperature differences like that.

The energy that will eventually spark this storm is just now coming ashore in the Pacific Northwest; that means we'll get better sampling and data over the next few days. As a result, forecast confidence will increase.

Regardless of that additional detail, it's clear that the energy will ride right along the jet stream until it reaches the East Coast Tuesday night. Here, the jet stream will be negatively tilted, ensuring the developing storm has all the key meteorological ingredients it needs to blow up. And blow up it will. The storm's pressure will rapidly drop, potentially to 970 mb or lower. With such a tight pressure gradient, winds around the storm will be whipping. The biggest question: will those whipping winds hit the coast or the fish?

Right now it looks like the storm will be rapidly intensify as it passes over or near the Benchmark (40N/70W). That's basically a sweet spot for southern New England snow storms. So, for Southeastern Massachusetts, the Cape, and Islands it looks like powerful winds, plenty of snow, and even some coastal flooding is in the cards for Wednesday. Snowfall will likely drop off quickly to the northwest, but some light snow showers are still possible for portions of Southern and Eastern Vermont, as well as New Hampshire and the Upper Valley. Naturally any track changes will result in forecast changes, but the signals have been fairly consistent on this one so far. The storm will then continue into the Canadian Maritimes- those areas will be blasted too.

For the "weather weenies" (like me!) out there, this will be a fun one to watch.

-Meteorologist Michael Page

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