First Blizzard of the Season

By: BwalshNLWeather , 7:07 PM GMT on January 02, 2014

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Good afternoon,

A low currently developing over the Southeastern US will intensify tonight as it tracks east of New England overnight. The low is expected to pass southeast of Newfoundland early Saturday morning. There does remain some uncertainty with the track and timing of the low for Eastern Newfoundland, but current indications show a significant amount of snow possible, particularly for the Avalon Peninsula Friday afternoon through Saturday morning, along with gusty winds, which could produce the season’s first blizzard.

With a track southeast of the Avalon, precipitation will remain all snow, with the primary impacts being felt on the Burin and Avalon Peninsulas. Extremely cold air will be in place across the province through Friday morning, which will generally remain through the storm and cause the snow to be very light and fluffy, which accumulates faster as well. In general, the Avalon and Burin Peninsulas can expect 25-40 cm of snow through Saturday morning, with the heaviest amounts on the Southeastern Avalon. Snowfall amounts decrease to the west (15-25 cm for Clarenville/Bonavista Peninsulas; near 5 cm for Central Newfoundland, including Grand Falls-Windsor). Winds gusting up to 90 km/h Friday night and Saturday morning is likely to produce blizzard conditions, particularly as the snow will be very light and fluffy, so reduced visibility in blowing snow will be a concern.

A slight shift in the track of the system will have a considerable impact on snowfall amounts, so updates will be issued as needed.

Timeline for St. John’s and the Northeast Avalon:
Light snow begins near noon Friday and will become moderate, to occasionally heavy, later in the afternoon, continuing through Friday night. Snow tapers to flurries early Saturday morning (4-6 AM), which will end before noon. Skies begin to clear Saturday afternoon, but gusty winds will continue, which will produce blowing and drifting snow. The heaviest of the snow looks to fall from early Friday evening through early Saturday morning (8 PM – 2 AM), when snowfall rates of 3-4 cm/hour are possible.

Friday Noon – 6 PM: Snowfall amount 4-6 cm. Wind northeast 40 gusting to 60 km/h.
Friday 6 PM – Midnight: Snowfall amount 12-15 cm. Wind northeast 60 gusting to 90 km/h.
Saturday 12 – 6 AM: Snowfall amount 8-12 cm. Wind north 60 gusting to 90 km/h.
Saturday 6 AM – Noon: Snowfall amount 1-2 cm. Wind northwest 60 gusting to 90 km/h.

Storm Snowfall Totals (through noon Saturday):
Avalon Peninsula South: 30-40 cm
Avalon Peninsula North, including St. John’s, and the Burin Peninsula: 25-35 cm
Clarenville/Bonavista: 15-25 cm
Gander: 10-15 cm
Grand-Falls Windsor: 5 cm

Outlook: The next system that will affect Newfoundland and Labrador is set for early next week (Monday/Tuesday) and is looking like a primarily rain event for Newfoundland, and the potential for significant snowfall in Labrador. Parts of Newfoundland may see precipitation begin as snow and freezing rain late Monday, before changing to rain.

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About BwalshNLWeather

Operations Manager and Meteorologist with Ice & Environmental Services at Provincial Aerospace Ltd. I've been weather forecasting since 2000.

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