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PM WEATHER UPDATE: Blizzard Watch For RI, 1-2 Feet of Snow

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

 

Get ready! The latest data on Friday's storm looks like it will dump between 1-2 feet of the white stuff on Rhode Island.

The National Weather Service has issued a Blizzard Watch for Rhode Island from Friday morning through Saturday afternoon. According to the NWS, the "potential historic winter storm and blizzard is expected to drop 1 to 2 feet of snow across much of the region."

This latest weather data and model runs seem to reconfirm my earlier expectations. A major winter storm is on tap for Southeastern New England … one that if it remains all snow, is likely to exceed a foot in accumulation and could approach double that at some locations.

When will it hit RI?

The storm center will spin up off the Mid-Atlantic coast Thursday night with snow likely beginning here around or shortly before daybreak on Friday. Indications are that the snow will come down heavy through the afternoon and night on Friday, then gradually taper and end on Saturday. After seeing today’s data, I am less inclined to think there will be a significant change to sleet and/or rain in the middle of the storm except right along the Rhode Island south coast and over the Cape and Islands and even there the storm could stay all snow. Winds likely will gust over 50mph and that should cause considerable drifting.

Again, I caution, that with the beginning of the storm still over a day and a half away and with the storm not yet a formed reality, as we are all too aware there could be significant forecast changes. My main concern continues to be that snow to sleet and rain change that would significantly cut into snow totals. As I indicated earlier, it seems less likely now but is something that needs to be watched carefully. I will continue to bring you updates as the storm gets closer and as the situation warrants.

The rest of the NWS's latest update is below:

LOCATIONS: MUCH OF EASTERN MASSACHUSETTS AS WELL AS NORTHERN AND CENTRAL RHODE ISLAND. THIS INCLUDES THE BOSTON TO PROVIDENCE CORRIDOR. * HAZARD TYPES...HEAVY SNOW WITH THE POTENTIAL FOR BLIZZARD CONDITIONS. * ACCUMULATIONS...SNOW ACCUMULATION OF 12 TO 24 INCHES. * TIMING...LIGHT SNOW DEVELOPS BY FRIDAY MORNING. SNOW WILL INCREASE INTENSITY DURING FRIDAY AFTERNOON. THE HEAVIEST SNOW WILL OCCUR FRIDAY NIGHT INTO SATURDAY MORNING. * IMPACTS...HEAVY SNOW AND STRONG WINDS WILL BRING THE POTENTIAL FOR BLIZZARD CONDITIONS. THE WORST OF THE STORM WILL BE FRIDAY NIGHT INTO SATURDAY MORNING. SNOWFALL RATES OF 2 TO 3 INCHES PER HOUR POSSIBLE. TRAVEL MAY BECOME NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE WITH BLOWING AND DRIFTING SNOW. * WINDS...NORTHEAST 25 TO 35 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 55 MPH. * VISIBILITIES...ONE QUARTER MILE OR LESS AT TIMES. * TEMPERATURES...IN THE MID 20S. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... A BLIZZARD WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR CONSIDERABLE FALLING AND/OR BLOWING SNOW WITH SUSTAINED WINDS OR FREQUENT GUSTS OVER 35 MPH AND VISIBILITIES BELOW 1/4 MILE FOR AT LEAST 3 HOURS. WHITE OUT CONDITIONS WILL BE POSSIBLE...MAKING TRAVEL VERY DANGEROUS. BE PREPARED TO ALTER ANY TRAVEL PLANS.

 

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