Thursday, April 24, 2014
A storm system is lifting northward from our south this afternoon and continue to bring a mixed bag of precipitation to the area until dark. This isn't a major event, but will cause some slippery travel for the afternoon and evening where surfaces are not treated.
I'll be updating the forecast as it changes on Twitter at @growingwisdom Please follow me there. Feel free to comment or ask questions too.
What can you expect?
Elements of snow continue to move northward into the area. At times it will snow moderately, while other times just a few flurries will occur. The trend will be for milder air to move northward and change the snow to rain. This will happen along the coastline south of Portland first and then move northward. I expect snow totals to range from about 1 inch along the coast and then increase into the 2 to 4 inch rain in the mountains.
This radar image is a projected radar around 5 p.m. this evening. Notice how the precipitation is done over much of southern Maine at that time.
The rest of the area will see any precipitation ending during the evening. However, there will be some lingering freezing rain early well inland and up north. As temperatures fall below freezing, some black ice is likely to form in areas with moisture on the ground.
The image below shows where the rain/snow/ice line will be in the mid to late afternoon hours.
The amount of snow will highly depend on how long before the changeover occurs. It's nearly impossible to predict the changeover down to the minute and a difference of timing of just an hour in terms of when the snow mixes with sleet and rain can be the difference between a coating of snow and an inch of snow.
When storms are this small half an inch of snow can be all that separates the ground from being white or still seeing the grass through the snow.
The system is going to move quickly enough so the precipitation will be over around dark and temperatures will have warmed enough by then so I am not concerned about any ice/snow on the roads for the evening commute home in Portland. However, it will remain around or below freezing in the mountains so some untreated roads could still be slippery.
A boundary between cold and mild air will remain in place Tuesday just off the coast. This boundary will be the focus for another wave of precipitation and it could clip the south coast Tuesday with a few hours of snow showers possible along the coast. It's going to be quite chilly with temperatures in the 30s all day. Since there will not be much sunshine, it will feel rather raw.
Wednesday and Thursday will be cold and dry days with highs near freezing Wednesday, but only near 20 Thursday as arctic air returns. On Friday, the dry weather continues and temperatures begin a slow recovery, but remain in the 20s.
Next weekend shows a moderation in temperature, but still readings will be quite below normal. November averaged about 2 degrees below normal and thus far the first week plus of December is also averaging quite a bit below average. I still feel that towards the end of the month the pattern will shift again and milder air will ensue. This doesn't mean winter will be over of course, but since we started with the cold so early, it's likely that a break will happen later this month and into January.
I still don't see any major snowstorms in sight, a continuation of the dry pattern we saw much of the second half of summer and throughout the fall.
Outdoor project this weekend
In this video I show you a project you can do this weekend and bring the kids along too.Tweet
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.