Spinning Up A Mighty Storm: Snow and Coastal Flooding Expected

I know you've been lulled into thinking that spring has sprung.

But that's the way it works around here. One day we're frolicking in the sun, the next, we're sandbagging and shoveling.

That's how it may play out with this storm. There are things we know and things we're uncertain of. Without further ado, let's get our hands dirty...

What We Know

We'll all start as rain late Thursday night. Rain will be intense all day Friday, no escaping it. Brief lulls, frequent bursts. Rivers and streams will rise and there may be basement flooding. There will be a period of 6-8 hours of relentless rain as the wind ramps up throughout the afternoon.

Speaking of, the wind will gust to 40-70 mph area wide during Friday. Morning, noon, and into the first part of the night. Power outages are possible along with downed trees/limbs. 

Coastal flooding will be moderate to major. Because the winds will crossing vast areas of the Atlantic during the storm, a huge fetch of water will be piling up along the coast. East/northeast winds will carry that right to the beaches of New England. It's worth noting that the storm tides may be just below what we saw during the Jan. 4 record tide. Likely, there will be many communities that go underwater, including parts of Boston (Harbor Walk, Fan Pier, Morrissey Blvd ... no surprise, happens on a sunny day). This is one of those "expect the unexpected storms" with coastal flooding. 

What We're Working On

The changeover to snow. Is it sudden or subtle? Is it near-blizzard at times (with the wind)? Depends on a few factors. If the precipitation is very intense, it could switch us over to snow quickly - even down to the coast. Then it's a question of sustainability. How long we can keep it snowing? This is likely to be back and forth situation with the snow. Best chance for accumulation is around greater Worcester and interior southeastern Massachusetts (Attleboro to Middleboro) since those locations are closer to the storm, and have a better chance to get involved in the most intense bands of precipitation.

The extent of the coastal flooding. Is it widespread or does it favor the more northeast/east facing communities? It's worth noting that late in the storm, the focus will shift to the Cape as the winds turn more northerly on Saturday.

Trends are something we watch with all storms. So far, the trend has been to speed up the storm's departure on Saturday. But it's also been to intensify the storm, firm up the idea of a changeover to snow, and wrap us into the heavier rain.

We'll follow these trends as we come to a more definitive forecast in the next day.

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