Wednesday, December 11, 2013
A major storm is about to impact Maine with wind, snow and some rain. Currently, the center of low pressure that will impact our area is still in the deep south. During Wednesday this storm will lift north and eventually move up the coastline as a strong nor'easter. There is a big temperature contrast with this storm. Very warm and humid air will be moving north while bitter cold air gets sucked into the storm from Canada. The combination of these two air masses mixing together off the New England coast is what will fuel the storm.
I'll updating more about the storm on Twitter at @growingwisdom
The storm is so intense, it spawned more tornadoes on Christmas than we have seen since 1969. Many of these tornadoes ended up hitting Alabama and Mississippi.
Maine sits uniquely close to cold air from Canada and adjacent to mild and moist ocean air. As storms move up the coast, that warm air tries to move inland. One of the hardest aspects to forecast with coastal storms is the rain-snow line. Sometimes, the line stays offshore and the entire state gets snow. Other times, the line pushes westward to the foothills and our mountains get a big dump of snow while the coastal areas see rain. In between these two area a mixed bag of rain, snow, sleet and even freezing rain is the result.
The computer models I use to forecast are all forecasting a large amount of precipitation with this system. I easily see the mountains getting one or as much as two feet of snow from this system. Other areas that are going to see a foot of snow will be interior York county northwest of Portland and into the Lewiston and Augusta/Waterville area. The challenging part of this storm will be how much snow coastal cites and towns like York, Kennebunk, Portland, Brunswick, Rockland and up to Eastport receive. The exact wind direction during Thursday is going to determine precipitation type along the coast. This could be a storm where the difference between snow in downtown Portland and Windham is as much as 6-8 inches.
The map below gives a good idea of how much snow we can expect from late Wednesday evening through Thursday evening. Notice the accumulation gradient is very tight at the coast. This line can move further inland meaning more rain at the coast or further east which mean a heavy snowfall for the entire state.
During Wednesday, I will be evaluating the latest computer guidance looking for trends. If the models are trending colder, that would be a sign that even coastal areas could see a foot of snow. If the models trend warmer, then the coast could see much less snow than inland areas 20 miles away from the water.
Wind Strong winds will also be an issue late Wednesday night and Thursday. These winds will be especially strong at the coast and might cause a few power outages or minor damage.
Gardening This week's video talks about soil compaction. If you have an area of your lawn that won't grow grass very well or a tree that isn't performing, the issue might be soil compaction. Take a look at this video and see how soil compaction can be fixed. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this blog or any others. Please follow me on Twitter at @growingwisdom and check out my latest videos at GrowingWisdom.comTweet
David Epstein has been a meteorologist for more than 25 years. He spent 16 years in Boston and currently freelances at WGME13 in Portland.
In 2006, David founded GrowingWisdom.com, a business producing educational and marketing videos for the green industry. He currently is a professor at Framingham State College, teaches Jan Plan at Colby College and owns Bloomscapes Inc., a landscape design business.
David authored "Gardens Of New England" and his work has been published in Grolier's Science Annual for 10 years. He lives in South Natick, Mass., and has a summer home in Harpswell.