Double-Barrelled Storm Set For Midwest and New England
Another Winter storm complex will move through the Midwest and Northeast Thursday and Friday, but this storm will be more complex than initial blush. The storm system will actually be two different storms Thursday before combining off the Northeast coast Friday as an intense Nor'easter. So let's look at the two separate storms before they combine into one strong storm.
The colder of the two storms will move out of the Plains and into the Great Lakes throughout Thursday. As shown in the image above, various Winter Weather Advisories and Winter Storm Warnings have been posted in Wisconsin and Michigan, where up to a foot of new snow is possible. The heaviest of this snow is likely on the east side of Lake Michigan, as "only" up to 8 inches possible in Wisconsin.
By the beginning of Friday, the storm's center will be over the Indiana/Ohio area, with cold air to the north supplying an environment for heavy snow, and warmer air to the south, allowing rain to fall from Arkansas through the Ohio Valley.
Through Friday, the storm will move gradually eastward, combining with a separate storm that will move progressively northeastward along the eastern seaboard (see below).
The second storm will race up the eastern seaboard Thursday before combining with the aforementioned storm coming out of the Midwest to become a potentially historic Nor'easter. I saw potentially because there is still some uncertainty to the storm's eventually impacts. Let's go over what we know already.
The storm combination will remain off the Northeast coast once it combines late Friday or early Saturday. This type of setup certainly has the potential for very nasty weather in New England Friday and into Saturday.
Various Winter Storm Warnings, Watches, and Blizzard Watches have already been posted through New England (see map below) in anticipation a combination of heavy snow and strong wind.
A Blizzard Watch is in effect for much of eastern Massachusetts, including Boston, due to the possibility of up to two feet of snow that will be blown around by winds up to 35 mph, gusting to 55 mph. Needless to say, these conditions will be quite dangerous, so it is recommended residents throughout New England should refrain from unnecessary travel beginning Friday morning and lasting through Saturday afternoon. Thus, preparation now is important.
In addition, a Hurricane Force Wind Watch is posted for the Cape Code area beginning Friday evening and lasting through Saturday afternoon due to the possibility of wind gusts to 65 mph. Let's keep this in perspective, however. This does not mean a hurricane will be hitting the Cape Cod area, just that winds up to hurricane force will be possible.
Lastly, let's give some historic perspective behind the potential for 2 feet of snow in the Boston area. There have only been 4 storms to dump greater than 2 feet of snow on the Boston area. Here are the top ten biggest storms for the Boston area.
1. February 17-18, 2003 27.5 inches
2. February 6-7, 1978 27.1 inches
3. February 24-27, 1969 26.3 inches
4. March 31-April 1, 1997 25.4 inches
5. January 22-23, 2005 22.5 inches
6. January 20-21, 1978 21.4 inches
7. March 3-5, 1960 19.8 inches
8. February 16-17, 1958 19.4 inches
9. February 8-10, 1994 18.7 inches
10. January 7-8, 1996 18.2 inches
10. December 20-22, 1975 18.2 inches
10. December 26-27, 2010 18.2 inches