This winter has been far from average. In fact, as climatological winter ends tomorrow, this winter will likely end as the fifth or sixth warmest on record.
Climatological seasons differ from astronomical seasons in that, astronomical seasons follow the Sun’s tilt, while climatological seasons divide the year into quarters and is best used for consistencies and calculating yearly statistics.
Much of the season was not only spent warmer than normal but also drier, when it comes to the seasonal snow. Boston recorded 13 days with at least a tenth of an inch of snow. Our biggest daily snow this winter was January 23 with 2.3” of snow.
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Though the bar is low, this storm will likely bring winter’s largest snow thus far. There will be another storm Friday through Saturday, but we’ll deal with them one by one. For the first storm up tonight, forecast snow ranges are between 4-6” from Middlesex County to Worcester County, and between 2-4" along the coast and Merrimack Valley. Given the depth of colder air, much of what falls will come down in the form of snow, compared to the sleet and freezing rain event from last Thursday. This will work in the favor of transportation and public works crews, thus being easier to navigate for drivers.
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What will be troublesome is the duration of snowfall, due to two impulses, or waves of energy producing wintry weather. The first system is the strongest and will start early Tuesday morning, around or just after midnight. The storm is due to an offshore area of low pressure off of the south coast. It will produce higher hourly snowfall rates. Higher hourly snowfall rates are more impactful and lead to reduced visibility and heavier snow. By midday Tuesday, a second and weaker upper-level feature moves through to bring a final push of lighter snow for the afternoon and evening drive. In total we’re likely to see anywhere between 15 and 20 hours of continuous snowfall, with little wiggle room for a break.
Temperatures will remain near, to just above, freezing throughout Boston and along the immediate coast. Further inland, we anticipate temperatures to be below freezing in Worcester, Leominster and the Merrimack Valley for the majority of this event.
Snow showers should give way Tuesday evening, and dry skies start early Wednesday morning. This will be a cold start and below freezing for everyone, but the March sun angle should help with snow melt.