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Blizzard Warning Expanded Across State

NBC 5 News

Blizzard warnings have been dropped along the coast from Boston to Cape Cod, but have been expanded across central and western Massachusetts, most of Connecticut, and much of southern New Hampshire, and southern Maine.

That means it is not only the coast getting the heavy wind and snow, but also well inland all the way to the New York border and north to close to Fryeburg, Maine.

The reason for the blizzard warning dropped from Boston and points south is because temperatures are going to get warm enough that half of the storm will be sleet and rain. That doesn't mean we are not getting intense snow but it just may not last long enough to meet the blizzard criteria which is three consecutive hours of visibility below a quarter of a mile with frequent gusts past 35 mph. 

Two storms are merging over the mid Atlantic states this evening and are ramping up to bring a powerful nor'easter with blizzard conditions all day Tuesday. There is some resemblance to the super storm of late March 1993, as we have tapped the Gulf of Mexico and are merging both Arctic air and tropical air. But the '93 storm was a bigger beast, and tracked further west with the heaviest snow across the Appalachian mountain chain with more rain than snow at the shore.

Another similar storm is from February 2013, when the entire town of Scituate, Massachusetts, lost electricity. This one may have similar damage but will be focused a bit further from the shore as the center of the storm is expected to track right over Cape Cod Tuesday afternoon. It's like a tropical storm, but with snow.

That track brings just enough warm air into Rhode Island and eastern Massachusetts that half the storm is snow in half the storm is sleet and rain. For Cape Cod after a couple of inches of snow and sleet it is a mostly rain storm. From the Massachusetts Turnpike and Route 495 west and north this is a full on powerhouse snowstorm.

Snowfall rates will exceed 3 inches an hour for several hours beginning in Connecticut during the morning. Thunder snow is also in the forecast. Heavy snow is going to go north all the way to the Canadian border so everybody in New England is impacted.

In areas that see a sleet and rain mix, the temperature is going to fall rapidly tomorrow evening with a very fast re-freeze.

Traveling on Tuesday should be only done for emergency purposes. It's one of those storms where we cannot even see the side of the road and snow accumulates much faster than any plow could keep up with.

With the center of the storm going over Massachusetts Bay, wind from the northeast will be sustained 40 to 50 mph near the shore with gusts past 70 mph.

Winds in excess of 40 mph expected well inland with the gusts to 50, that is why the blizzard warning has been expanded.

High tide occurs generally in the middle of the day to early afternoon, that coincides with the time of heaviest wind. We are expecting tight heights of near 13 feet from Cape Ann through Boston to the South Shore. This is over flood level. Combine that with the low pressure center near the coast, with the strong wind and seas in excess of 15 feet, we are expecting moderate to major coastal erosion and moderate coastal flooding.

The best news is this storm is moving quickly and is not expected to slow down anywhere near the south coast. In fact, we may even have an eye like feature with the wind going light to calm briefly, from Cape Cod to Boston, as the center goes by late Tuesday.

It will be a sharp cut off to the back edge of the precipitation late in the day for southern New England, then the cold air returns as wind increases from the Northwest gusting 30 to 40 mph or higher.

Snow will continue in New Hampshire and Maine through tomorrow night, with blizzard conditions likely on the Maine coast.

Snow showers are going to continue throughout New England on and off on Wednesday and Thursday, as an upper level low pressure system has to go by overhead.

Temperatures remain well below normal with mostly 20s for a highs, on our Tuesday except closer to 40° near the shore, and then near 32° on Wednesday and Thursday, with wind continuing to gust from the northwest.

Snowfall amounts will range from a few inches near Cape Cod close to 2 feet inland.

Best estimate for Boston is close to a foot with sleet and rain on top followed by a refreeze. Best guess for places like Concord, New Hampshire, is 20 inches. Best guess for ski areas in western Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine are in excess of 24 inches.

The snow and wind are combining two result in high impact on the power grid, many trees are expected to break or fall, with widespread power outages likely.

It may take days or longer to try and repair the power grid in the worst hit areas. That does not necessarily mean only where the storm is all snow, in some cases where snow changes to sleet and rain and then re-freezes damage could also be extensive.

Though we are not in a snowstorm on Wednesday and Thursday, we are remaining pretty much below freezing with a mixture of clouds and sun and scattered snow showers.

Friday looks like a quiet day also, but there is more action slated for the weekend.

It is not an easy call but it looks like another significant front is going to come in from Canada and stall over New England with low-pressure developing and the possibility for more snow, and/or rain near the shore.

That one looks like a more moderate situation with several inches of snow in the mountains and perhaps not much near the shore, but there is the possibility that system also develops into a nor'easter by Sunday.

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