Blizzard Effects “Minimal” Locally
By the time you read this prose, chances are the Blizzard of 2013 will have been christened.
Up front I will state this storm is likely symbolic of a series of end of winter cyclones that will see us harshly into spring across the USA. Admittedly, this should be the worst of the bunch.
So let’s concentrate on what this storm means for our region and let’s also delve into its impacts at ground zero; namely, New York, Boston, Providence, Hartford and Down East Maine.
As with any massive system, a series of events will conspire to produce this monumental event. At 11pm, I mentioned how right now there is no relationship between the polar cold front crossing the Eastern Midwest (snowing in Chicago and Detroit to the tune of a few inches accumulation) and the storm center forming near Myrtle Beach (where the wind has shifted to the north and the heavy daytime rains have moved away).
If these two weather entities were to stay separated, a run-of the-mill Nor’easter with coastal rains and high tides and inland heavy snows (6”-12”) would be realized.
But as the animation I am posting shows, our super computers are marrying these two systems. In effect, it appears to be love at first sight as the cold air slams headfirst into the coastal moisture. Can you say Blizzard?
For our region, the passage of the front will spell a few hours of mainly light rain on Friday morning followed by some snow flurry action by night.
As one climbs the mountain chain, rain will change to wet snow in low mountain towns like Buckhannon, Webster Springs and Richwood. This should occur on Friday afternoon. There a few inches of snow at elevations near 2500 feet are likely…. turning to a half a foot of powder for skiers heading to Wisp, Seven Springs, Canaan Valley, Timberline and Snowshoe.
I see it snowing at these resorts continuously from noon Friday through dawn Saturday.
Travelers heading up I-79 toward Clarksburg and Morgantown should expect a few hours of midday rain on Friday followed by snow showers and a small accumulation starting Friday afternoon through nightfall. The same goes for the trip to Pittsburgh and Wheeling; namely slick travel Friday night with a light snowfall.
The I-68 trip through Preston Co WV and Garrett Co. Md. will turn snowy on Friday night with brief snow squalls making for poor visibility conditions. Half a foot of wind blow snow would be possible there.
But as one continues onto I-70, the storm will be a virtual miss save for a few rain then snow showers through Hagerstown, Frederick and into Westminster!
So now we turn our attention to the populated Northeastern USA.
The Baltimore-Washington region will get away scott free. Farther north, my hometown of Philly will have what I described to my friends in Philly as a healthy winter storm. Rain will change to sleet and snow with as much as a half a foot of snow perfect for sledding on my old favs, Dead Man’s and Suicide hills!
But from Trenton, NJ north to the Big Apple, snows will increase exponentially with more than a foot of wind driven snow. In New York, the weekend Broadway slate and airport operations will be slammed. Coastal rains in New York will freeze under the heavy snows that follow making for a massive ice up.
In coastal New England, snows will be hard to measure efficiently as winds gusting to near hurricane force will whip the powder into huge drifts.
I mentioned on 5:30 edition today that I believe 10 foot drifts can occur in Boston, Providence and Hartford. I base this prediction on a chat I had with a hotel proprietor in Ayer Mass back in the spring of 1978.
That year I took an all star hockey team to Boston for a tournament. The famous Blizzard of 1978 had buried the region from Baltimore-Washington-Philly-New York-Boston that same year. When I asked the hotel manager about the storm he casually showed me the second floor balcony where we were staying. His words resonate with me 35 years later. ‘Son, the snow drifted to the second floor walkway!”
Since this storm looks equally ferocious to that cyclone, I have a baseboard to compare.
Put another way, during the Blizzard of 1993, I stayed 3 nights at the Old Radisson Hotel in downtown Huntington. I still remember walking from WSAZ to the hotel that Saturday night. The snow had fallen 20” deep and the drifts in the 50 mile per hour winds had piled up 5 feet high against the Radisson walls.
Folks this storm looks to be stronger!
Updates coming all day Friday!
For now, I say, think snow!