Monday March 18, 2013 | 08:16 PM
Posted by David Epstein

Snow has begun breaking out across southern New England this evening. This first round of snow is moving north and will be in southern Maine in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. Those folks heading to work or school tomorrow will see up to a couple of inches of snow on the ground. But this isn't the end of the story – there will be more snow on the way.

I'll be updating my weather forecast for this storm here and on Twitter at @growingwisdom please follow me there. Feel free to comment or ask questions, too.

During the day Tuesday a storm will slowly gather strength just to our south and east.  As this storm becomes better organized a new area of snow will blossom and during the second half of the afternoon and evening snow will fall at heavy rates for several hours. The snow may not completely stop between what falls in the morning and what comes in the afternoon, but there will be a noticeable decrease in intensity between the two pieces of the storm.  The gap can be long enough that driving will improve after the morning commute. Road crews will have an opportunity to clean up and get ready for round No. 2.

Snow bands: I have Portland in an 8-12 inch band of snow right now, but only about 10 miles west there is a band that gives up to 15 inches of snow. Some areas could go even higher across ski country or some of the elevated areas of western Cumberland County. I didn’t create another band with up to 18 inches because those numbers will be the exception, and if I did that, those would be the numbers that would be highlighted.


What can go wrong? As with any storm there are always forecast challenges. First, the warm air could come farther north along the coast and lower the forecast totals. This idea of two rounds of precipitation is based on the coastal storm gaining strength during the day tomorrow. If the storm remains weaker than I am forecasting, then the snow we get in the afternoon will not be as intense and amounts will be lighter. I’ll be looking into the latest data I get tonight and tweaking my forecast appropriately. I think that the chance of at least 8 inches of snow for nearly the entire state is very high. A winter storm warning has been issued for the heavy snow. Wednesday will be a chilly with clearing skies and a blustery breeze and highs in the upper 30s to lower 40s.

Our next forecasting challenge may come Thursday. Our friend, the European model, is showing another coastal storm to our south Thursday. This idea of another storm came into being last night. Sometimes, even a model as good as the Euro, can have a hiccup and show a storm where there isn’t going to be one. We will have a better idea on what will happen Thursday by tomorrow morning.

Gardening this week: A very common problem with house plants is aphids. These sucking insects leave a residue on the leaves that can then cause a secondary infection on your plants. If you notice a black shoot-like coating on your houseplants, you probably have black sooty mold. This problem, while not generally fatal to a plant, can be an indication of an insect infestation. Check out this week's video on black sooty mold and see if your plants have this issue.

I'll be updating my weather forecast for this week on Twitter at @growingwisdom please follow me there. Feel free to comment or ask questions too.

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About the Author

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, 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.

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